When you can't think of what to write, step away from your computer, and doodle. Yes, step away, and doodle. You heard me correctly. (Said in a kind gentle way.) Now, grab a pencil and a piece of paper, and start to doodle your way out of writer's block.
What Is Doodling, and How Can It Help Your Writing?
Doodling, on page 391 of The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, is to scribble mechanically while thinking about something else: marks written absent-mindedly.
And a scribble is, well, a scribble. The same dictionary said a scribble was: to write or draw in a hurried, careless way.
But, the dictionary is not always right. A scribble can also be done in a careful way, and a doodle can be made with careful thought.
Sunni Brown, in her book The Doodle Revolution, created a new definition for the word doodle, “to make spontaneous marks to help yourself think.”
I agree with Sunni Brown, doodling can help us think.
Now, lets doodle our way out of writer's block with spontaneous marks.
Draw a line, squiggles, and think about what you ate for breakfast, think about the wind blowing in the window, think about the seven litter boxes you have to clean or think about how you forgot to floss your teeth last night.
Doodle Your Way Out of Writer's Block
While you are drawing random shapes, lines, squares, kittens, circles, trees, or stick people, you will find your mind has stopped being blocked. No more constipated brain. Moving your hands, making lines will literally unclog your brain.
I haven't been writing. There has been a question mark on my computer. So, today I took a felt pen and a piece of paper and started to draw random shapes. Making the marks helped me think. Doodling my way out of writers block. (I am not sure what a sad face, two legs and no arms says about my writing, but drawing helped me think.)
Lynda Barry in her graphic memoir, Picture This: The Near-Sighted Monkey Book, writes,”The worst thing I can do when I'm stuck is to start thinking and stop moving my hands.”
I agree with Lynda, moving our hands will help with writer's block.
You Only Need Two Items to Doodle
- Something to write with. Perhaps a pencil, or a crayon, a pen, or lipstick.
- Something to write on. A piece of white paper, or blue paper, maybe the back of an envelope, or a receipt.
How Do You Doodle?
- You can doodle random shapes. Square, circles, lines. Straight lines, round lines, fast lines, slow lines.
- Make a mark on a piece of paper with something that leaves a mark. You could draw just lines, or shapes.
- This is not a drawing lesson. Of course, if you want to draw your protagonist, even as a stick figure, you can. Then maybe you will see how they will get out of the burning building.
- You can draw a realistic picture of your cat. Or maybe you want to doodle cat ears.
- Move your hands. Make marks. Remember to breathe.
- Let your mind wander as you draw. Then get back on your computer and write.
How about you? Do you doodle? Have you ever doodled to get out of writer's block? Let me know in the comments section.
Doodle for a few minutes, and then go back to your Work in Progress and write for fifteen minutes. Did doodling help you unlock your scenes? Did you find a way for the cat to get out of the tree after you made spontaneous marks to help you think?
Share your doodles in the comments. And then write.