This won’t be a long entry, because I’m procrastinating – I’ve got to get back to my moodling.
I feel so much better about not getting things done since my coach turned me on to Brenda Ueland’s 1938 book, “If You Want to Write.” Apparently, all of this “sitting around” and feeling like I’m not “creating” is actually a necessary part of the creative process. The only part that’s not necessary is feeling like I shouldn’t be putting things off. (I’m still working on removing that nasty word, “should,” from my vocabulary. You have my permission to punch me lightly if you hear me say it.)
Procrastination. The word still haunts me, three and half decades after the first time I was accused of possessing that trait. I had an assignment to write an extensive (by Grade 6 standards) travel journal about an imaginary trip I was to take to a foreign land. The teacher gave us six weeks to complete it, the longest window I’d ever been given for a school assignment to that point. It would have seemed ridiculous to start working on it right away. Wouldn’t you have agreed?
Still, geek child that I was, I was probably pretty excited about it at first, so I hurried with my mom to a travel agent’s office, where I picked out a brochure for a guided tour to Africa. (Woah, until this very moment I hadn’t made the connection between that paper and my still unfulfilled desire to travel to Africa – criminy, what lurks in the crevices in my brain is astounding.) But then I did nothing else except worry about the damn project for an entire month.
As it turned out, one week definitely wasn’t enough time to write about all of my amazing adventures in Addis Ababa and the Serengeti. My mom stayed up LATE with me the night before the paper was due and typed my report — I wrote every word of it, but she definitely ran the production side. I might have even fallen asleep before she was done, it was that late. And I was in that much trouble. I don’t ever remember my parents being as upset with me before then as they were that night. They made it very clear that this sort of thing – their doing MY work – would NOT happen again. (Of course, it didn’t. I wasn’t that slow on the pick up.)
You’d think that kind of “life lesson” might have stayed with me, yet I find myself on days like today still watching deadlines approach like a deer in the headlights. Do I have a serious time management issue, or is the waiting just part of my process?
Brenda Ueland helps me believe it’s probably the latter. She writes, “the imagination needs moodling – long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.” She learned from Tolstoy the importance of being idle, “because thoughts come so slowly. For what we write today slipped into our souls some other day when we were alone and doing nothing.”
I am alone, and in a moment, I will be doing nothing. I wish all of you who, like me, are in pursuit of your inspiration, more of the same. Moodle on, fellow warriors, moodle on.