Exploring Women's Creativity

Take Time for Creative Moodling

relax and take it easy; it helps enhance your creativity

moodling while gardening

I've been thinking a lot of late about my need to slow down and give my mind a chance to let creative inspiration in.

There seems to be a great deal of literature out on how to train oneself to be more creative but in this article I want to take the time to look at the inner side of creativity, the side that can't be analyzed and pushed.

Brenda Ueland wrote the book "If You Want to Write: A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit" in the 1930s. The term "moodling" was coined when she wrote, "So you see, imagination needs moodling _ long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering." Sounds lovely doesn't it?

But how do we go about moodling? Or more to the point, how do we set up the circumstances that make it possible? Brenda Ueland's quote implies we can't force inspiration. One way to make room in our minds so that ideas can flow is to be casually involved in some sort of pastime. The solution may be as simple as sitting in the sun watching the grass grow. I find moodling is most likely to occur when I am unhurriedly engaged in a repetitive activity.

So I've started to notice what activities seem to leave my mind free to moodle. Long drives certainly do it. I get the greatest ideas driving along, then when I get home I struggle to remember them. Bubble baths work better - at least you can pull your wet self out of the tub and write down your inspiration. Taking a rambling sort of walk, alone, is great. Sam Keene wrote, "When I walk, my mind leaps ahead, skips and steps, and presents me with images and ideas out of nowhere." There is something about the movement involved in walking that encourages ideas to float in and out.

Sometimes working on a creative project itself makes room for moodling. Not the whole project, but the repetitive parts that let the mind wander. I find piecing a quilt does this for me. I suspect there are parts of spinning and weaving that would be perfect for moodling; gardening also comes to mind. And there is always good old housework if we are just puttering at it and not feeling impatient to get it done.

In order to moodle we need to make space for alpha waves to operate in our brain. If we are too exhausted our mind will quickly move into theta (drowsiness) then delta (deep sleep). If we are too focused on a problem or given objective we are using beta waves (consciously focused). Alpha waves bring in that in-between, meditative state where our mind can gather together conscious thoughts and unconscious information in order to create something brand new. Inspiration occurs with a great burst of alpha waves.

I personally believe that every one of us is a creative person. We simply need to find ways to let go of the demands of our culture for a while and just moodle.