doodling

How do I doodle? Let me count the ways…

I am an inveterate doodler and have been for years. My college notebooks were more full of doodles than notes. I still find myself doodling while on the telephone with clients, listening to a class or waiting in restaurants. My favorite restaurants are the ones with white butcher paper and crayons on the tables so that I can doodle to my heart’s content. Of course, it’s pretty fun for the kids, too! This red doodle was created while talking with my business partner. I started drawing and couldn’t stop.

I stumbled across a phenomenal blog post as I was doing some Google Keyword research on doodling. The author, Alma Hoffmann, writes “What does it mean to be a doodler, to draw pictures all day? Why do we doodle? Most of all, what does it mean to our work? It turns out that the simple act of scribbling on a page helps us think, remember and learn.” Hoffmann goes on to share interesting tidbits from throughout history and across disciplines about why doodling matters and how it can improve our thinking. Yippee! I am not so odd after all…

what is doodling

And if you haven’t seen the great Ted Talk by Sunni Brown called “Doodler’s Unite,” check it out! It made me feel so much better about my incessant doodling. I wish my coaching clients could see the notes I keep from our calls. They are covered in doodles, mostly flowers, swirls and spirals that start in one small corner of the page and explode from there. I even doodle on my program at church during the sermon. That started because our minister is so full of fabulous information that I found myself wanting to take notes! Between note taking, I doodle. Do you?

tangle patterns

Why do I doodle?

I have often wondered why I am a doodler and the person sitting next to me in class is not… perhaps it’s a bit of undiagnosed ADD. I have never been great at sitting still for long periods of time and am easily distracted by everything that’s going on around me. I was never one of those kids who could study in the library, way too distracting! I find that doodling helps me to focus for longer periods of time. When my hands are busy, my mind can stay focused on the speaker.

In the past couple of years, how I doodle has taken on many new forms. I stumbled across a meditative doodling format called Zentangle® several years ago. I have acquired many interesting hobbies over the years, tried lots of new art forms and then tossed them aside. Nothing seemed to stick, until I discovered Zentangle®. What is it? Read my post on Zentangle and why I love it.

how to doodle

I doodle while I am watching television too. It drives my husband and kids crazy that I don’t even notice when the commercials come on and fail to forward through them. I get caught up in my hands moving in repetitive patterns, trying to make my circles perfectly round and my parallel lines evenly spaced. Sounds totally geeky doesn’t it? I don’t care, I am officially obsessed.

I think of doodling and Zentangle® like tatting or quilting which women used to do by the fire in the evening. My stepdad always talks about his grandmother sitting in her rocking chair, listening to the radio and tatting away! I still have some of her beautiful handiwork which turned plain bed sheets and tea towels into elegant works of art.

Zentangle how to doodle

While I don’t see my doodling as elegant works of art, I find them pleasing to my eye and easy on my mind. As I doodle, my mind is free to focus or to roam. I find that doodling sparks all kinds of thoughts – ideas for blog posts, books and projects or reminders to add to my grocery list. I find myself scribbling between doodles to capture stray insights or quotes overheard in my latest audio book (did I say I am also addicted to audio books?)

Do you doodle, too?