I first considered the art of doodling in a creative writing class last semester.
Doodling as a story follows the basic structure of doodling as a drawing. You start where you need and stop at the end of a sentence or two. Just a margin, not a masterpiece. Reposition. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat as many times as it takes for you to detach yourself from the linear pursuit of a single story. Repeat until you’ve got a few diverse ideas that are exciting. Follow them a little bit more. Chuck the ones you don’t want. Doodle again. Toss some more. I think the best thing about doodling is the constant intake and outake. Nothing is concrete. You’re just exploring. And exploring can be one of those things - those hopeful things - that takes you out of your head and feels a little like a face mask, but, you know. Spiritual, or something.
Doodling brought me back to my middle school days of sketching dragons in the margins of lined notebook paper, repetitive patterns and extremely detailed irises. It always seemed like my best drawings were composed with a stubby pencil and not enough space to fit the whole picture between bullet points and paper limits. As soon as I’d gain enough artistic confidence to try starting on a clean, unmarked piece of white paper, a sense of pressure would descend upon me. How had I understood proportions so well just a minute before? Too much space, too many options. I inevitably ruined the “good” version by overthinking and perfectionism. It was in those marginal doodles, then, that I found the most peace. Things haven’t changed.
Doodling can be applied to everything, really. The absence of expectations opens you up to some marvelous opportunities. Friendships, relationships, new hobbies, old hobbies. Letting things happen as they may without trying to force them into a little preconceived box is immensely freeing.
Try it! Start with six sentences and see where they take you. It might be somewhere really cool. It might also be straight to the recycling bin. No worries either way. There are always more words and there will always be room for more doodles.
Written by Kristen H.