The other day I stumbled on a fun fact about presidential doodles.
(Hmm. Something about that doesn’t sound quite right.)
Let me start again.
See, I was reading this article from Harvard Health Publishing about the thinking benefits of doodling. That makes more sense, right?
And according to the article’s author Srini Pillay, MD, “Even American presidents have found themselves sketching away: 26 of 44 American Presidents doodled, from Theodore Roosevelt, who doodled animals and children, to Ronald Reagan, who doodled cowboys and football players, and John F. Kennedy, who doodled dominoes.”
A writer’s job doesn’t exactly involve executing laws, appointing federal officials or negotiating with Slovakia. So, why do I need to doodle? For me, doodling is a way to get out of my own way. If I’m writing and get stuck (more like, “when” I get stuck), I pause and pick up a pen. Mindlessly making swirls and random, unpredictable designs is a practice that calms me. It provides a chance to hush my harsh inner critic because doodling has no right or wrong. It just do.
Doodling can helps me puzzle out a plot predicament or conjure a more fitting name for a character I’ve become better acquainted with. It keeps the gnarly wheels in my noggin’ cranking, but in a more productive way versus self-sabotage.
Doodling can also be a delightful way to douse stress. Allowing yourself to get lost in an in-the-moment design can relieve tension by putting a distance between you and fret. Worries about your writing and whether you can move ahead are nudged to the margin while you push that pen. You can return to your project mentally replenished.
My Little Strawberry Rhubarb Tart, if you’ve never tried doodling as a companion to your creative process, I encourage you to give it a try. The only way you can go wrong is to think about what you are doodling whilst you do it. Pretend you’re giving the paper a side glance. It’s just there to catch the ink. And you don’t have to use fancy paper or snazzy pens. (If you take a look at the doodle below, you’ll notice I did it on nothing-fancy notebook paper.) You don’t have to worry about composition, what color to use or creating “art.” Just free your pen and the mental rest will follow.
Want to delve deeper into doodling?
Learn more about the benefits of doodling from Monica Harris, The Doodling Duchess.
She drew the things that stuck to her mind, the things that caught her attention and, specially, the things she wasn’t capable of understanding fully. But she hadn’t even realized it. Art had become her way of processing reality. ~ Zoe Haslie
Everybody has inner creativity that has been lost amongst the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The small part of us that provides balance and calm, and releases our creative side, is smothered and in risk of dying completely. ~ Lana Karr
Thank you Vicky for sharing the Zen effects of doodling! I find it useful when I have a problem. As much as I go through solution after solution, it’s too much. When I allow myself to doodle, a more practical and efficient solution always reveals itself. ❤
Thanks so much for stopping by! I love your doodles and insights.
Aha! That’s why we do (or doodle) it! Yours are just lovely, my dear!
I’ve been a doodler for years. I remember doodling in the margins of my notebooks in class way back in junior high. As a teen, I spent hours in my room listening to music and doodling. Now I find myself doodling while on the phone or watching TV. I think I doodle to relieve stress or boredom. My doodles are very random, though, and don’t have the beautiful cohesiveness that yours do.
So glad you’ve found a fun and easy way to relax, Lauri. Thank you for stopping by!
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