I’ve developed this method for growing design ideas lately.
Well, perhaps I’ve discovered that I practice this idea lately when I’ve really been living it—maybe subliminally?—for some time now. (Now, you can’t do this if you’re a neat freak or particularly organized. So, let loose! Here’s where the rest of us clutter freaks live and play…and have the advantage for the first time ever—yippy skippy!)
Maybe you’ve heard of Moodling. Brenda Ueland shares the term in her book, If You Want to Write:
So you see the imagination needs moodling,
–long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling, and puttering.
It means (as I take it) that you can effortlessly conjure ideas/designs/solutions in your mind if you simply identify the task, pack it away in your subconscious, and let your brain do the work. In a few minutes, or overnight, or in a week or two, your idea has budded, blossomed, and matured to a fully realized “flower”—without laboring or stressing your little self at all! (And while you’re doin’ other things.)
Maybe you already do this in your daily living. You pick up the phone to dial a number you’ve had memorized for decades. Suddenly you develop a case of brain freeze and space the series save the first number. Was it a three next? Or a six, then a three? Augh! In a nanosecond, a cranial black hole sucks away another bit of knowledge that you’ve counted on being in long term storage for well, a long term. You decide instead of beating yourself up for early onset Alzheimer’s, to put the phone down and let your mind drift. And voila! The numbers race back into your head as if to say “We were here all along, what’s the problem, Bub?”
This is a practical form of Moodling. Now take it a few steps further to Advanced Moodling! Instead of waiting for a problem to solve (your keys have tiny sprouting feet, I know), use your brain to proactively design! Here’s how it goes (and went):
Step 1: Recognize a seed of an idea when you see it. You come across (maybe trip on it if you’re in my studio) something—some THING—that makes you stop for a second and say, “Hey! That could be a rockin’ pendant!” (I pulled this cluster of junk drawer goodies from my planning desk drawer about a week ago. It’s a bunch of stuff that’s been drawn toward a magnet, which has become its core.)
Step 2: “Plant” the idea. Yep, place the idea (potential pendant) somewhere where you pass or see it often in your day. “Put it out there,” if you will! (I set the glommed-together metal lump next to my computer work space where I—ahem—park my butt all too often on a daily basis. Plus, the desk is in my kitchen, so I’m passing it with each luscious meal I cook. … Is anyone dying on the floor laughing yet?)
Step 3: Forget about it. Relax. Plow through some other work that you’ve been meaning to complete and step back. As a matter of fact, step far, far away! (What I just said. Or, procrastinate writing some of the yucky procedures you’ve been putting off, yet another day.)
Step 4: Let your mind do the work. Just like some sort of problem-solver uber-rich-soiled planting-plot, let the part of you—that wondrous gray matter in your cranial cavity—that specializes in solutions, and concoctions, and fabulous-ness, actually DO the work—or germination, if I follow the plant/growing theme I’ve alredy established! (Pretty much the same day, my mind started reporting on solutions. Bing, bang, whiz!…how about floating it in resin…sputter, spurt, slam!…maybe in a mold…eek, irk, ding!…but I want some sticky-outy-pieces….)
Step 5: Recognize the Solution. Don’t over-think! Be confident that your idea is spectulendous, and that you’ll know it when you “think” it. (That’s it! Stop the presses. The piece needs texture, which I’ll achieve with the product I’ve had Moodling in another section of my brain since Spring. Done.)
Step 6: Don’t be stupid. Write the solution down! Back to the phone number and the key-thingy—record your fabulous idea in an idea journal or a nearby napkin, old receipt, other important slip of paper (anything!)—so that your Super-Duper Mind-Blower Idea-Maker Moodle-Brain is purged of its latest miracle and has a clean slate from which to start on the Next Great Idea. You wouldn’t leave perfectly ripened ears of corn to rot on the plant, would you? Time to harvest! (Post-It’s work great! You can see that I even came up with a title—which now that I read again, is sorta’ lame!)
A great idea is born—deep-brain cultivated, really—and all in about a week’s time! How ‘bout that? Ideas while you wait, ready to roll when your butt lowers into your bench stool.
Now for the execution!