The creative process has long bragged of a tint of magic, and indeed, it sometimes does feel that way. A eureka sentence or two appears on the page or a new character shimmies into your writing space and voila! Magic, right?
Maybe, sort of. And if you want to believe that, go for it! But although wise folk have suspected as much for a long time, neuroscientists are reaffirming one of the paths to creativity—relaxation. When brain waves slow to an alpha state as opposed to a busy, busy, busy, firing-away beta state, wonderful associations emerge from our subconscious.
Like the cow, the writer ruminates. The writer takes in the fodder of life and digests it in the subconscious. There it lies waiting for release. When the writer relaxes, words flow.
Here’s something I was delighted to discover: Cows are Zen masters. They’ve been known to utter the sound that is spelled mu rather than moo.
Mu is a Zen koan. A koan is a paradox that Buddhist monks meditate on. They hope the process will lead to intuitive enlightenment. When writing, you can choose to relax and produce. Mu (or Moo) is about stepping aside so that your creative spark has a free connection to the page. It’s about staying out of your way and finding your way. Free your creativity, and you will delight in the debut of stories you’ll discover hidden inside.
from a column first published at femalefirst.co.uk.