The Creative Art of Doing Nothing

stock-footage-time-lapse-with-cloud-formations-moving-away-from-viewer-over-a-field-and-a-small-forrest-full-hdI don’t have much time for lying on the grass and watching the clouds these days. You probably don’t either.  Do you care? Or does some small part of you celebrate the fact that your life is busy, busy?  That it’s always go, go, go?

Benjamin Franklin said, “It is the working man who is the happy man. It is the idle man who is the miserable man.”  Most of us have taken that attitude to heart. We’ve also adopted the belief that “Inspiration exists but it has to find you working” (Pablo Picasso) and that ‘Idle hands are the devil’s playthings.’  (That quote is so rampant and has so many variables no one is entirely sure where it first came from).

In our culture we celebrate busyness. Busyness equals business.  If you aren’t busy, you aren’t doing business.


“To do great work one must be very idle as well as very industrious.” Samuel Butler


“Imagination needs moodling – long inefficient happy idling, dawdling and puttering.” Brenda Ueland in If You Want to be a Writer

Moodling isn’t watching TV or seeing a movie. It’s not surfing the net or reading a book.  It’s not cooking a meal for someone you love or listening to a friend in trouble, or even walking the dog if that dog is anything like my youngest (lovable but demanding) Sheltie. Those things are all worthwhile. But they’re not  moodling.

Moodling is



. . . watching a spider eat aphids on a rose.







. .  walking the beach with no agenda and only your thoughts for company. Witty's-Lagoon-022s

Blue Night Sky








. . . sitting outside after dark and staring at the stars not because you’re locked out but because you want to lock in. To inspiration. To creativity.  And to possibilities.



We all need a little moodling time. It’s the best way to let our imaginations soar.


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