Doodle Your Way to Success, Part 2


My writing doodles

Last Thursday I talked about Cynthia Morris’s great idea of doodling in the midst of a writing project. The goal? To spark imagination and creativity. To power through writer’s block. Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to try it out.

Saturday, I had a good chunk of time carved out for working on one of my works-in-progress (WsIP). All Friday I anticipated my getaway to a local café, ready to get some serious work done. (Side note, anticipation is a powerful tool. I often use it inadvertently [and deliberately] to drum up motivation and excitement.) But I thought back to some of my less-than-productive writing days and remembered how disappointing it was to get stuck, wasting time while I searched for the right idea or scene.

Planning and Doodling

I decided I wasn’t going to let that happen thisweekend. So Friday night after the kids went to bed, I spent the rest of the evening planning exactly what I was going to write the next day. I already had a general outline I’d been working from since day one, but that wasn’t cutting it. There were still too many unknowns.

I sat down at my computer with my notebook and favorite pen at hand. I took the areas where my plot was lacking and attacked them, one scene at a time. I wrote out specific details, doing some Scribbletime whenever the ideas wouldn’t flow. By the end of the night, I had schematics for four scenes and a page full of doodles (and a few ink blots). Satisfied, I called it a night.

Cranking it Out

Saturday morning I went out to write, parking myself at a cozy booth with my coffee and computer. For the most part, I forced myself to stay off social media, EXCEPT at the end of a #wordmongering* session. I brought my sketch pad, but thanks to all my efforts the night before, I never got stuck (this in itself I consider a HUGE SUCCESS!). Rejuvenated from my progress, later that night I wrote more. At the end of the day I’d spent six hours writing and had achieved over 4,000 words on my WIP. (And there was much rejoicing.) I’ve never done that well in a day outside of National Novel Writing Month.

I learned a valuable lesson from my experience. Plotting and writing are two different things, and if I treat them as such, I’m likely to be very productive. It’s when the plotting and the writing get all jumbled together and I’m constantly switching gears back and forth that I fail to get more than two hundred words written in a sitting.

Successful Sketching

In my experiment this weekend, sketching was a success, and I think I know why. Plotting is my constant struggle. I have writing ADD. (Hopefully I don’t have real ADD, but who knows, maybe I do.) Thinking time is hard to maintain. I get bored really fast. I can’t stay focused.

But having that sketch pad handy was like magic. When my mind started to wander, I let it travel, but kept it fenced within the blank page. Instead of escaping to ponder chores or family drama or the never-ending to-do list, it had to graze within my own stockade. And when my brain nibbled up an idea hidden in the green pasture, my fingers flew to the keyboard to pin it down before it could get away.

If you participated in the challenge, how was your Doodling adventure? Share your story in the comments. If you haven’t tried doodling while you write yet, be sure to give it a try. Then come back and let me know how it worked for you.

*#Wordmongering refers to word wars on Twitter that happen around the clock, day and night. At the beginning of thehour, tweeps write like crazy until the :30 mark. Wordcounts are compared. Congratulations and bragidations are tweeted. The next round begins at the next hour. Anyone who wants to can participate. If you haven’t tried it yet, you should!

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  1. #1 by Courtney Cantrell on May 18, 2011 - 1:22 pm

    Well, since I said “I’m in,” I haven’t gotten one of those chunks of writing time. I’ve been working on my prewriting, but never in a block of time long enough for me to get distracted and turn to doodling.

    But I still intend to try it, and hearing about your success with it is extra inspiration! :D

    • #2 by Becca Campbell on May 18, 2011 - 6:53 pm

      Not getting distracted is indeed a good thing.

      But let me know when you try it!

  2. #3 by Trish Pogue on May 18, 2011 - 8:08 pm

    I dislike doodling. It’s too wide open. I guess I need structured doodling. Is there such a thing? And could it help my creators block? I’ll have to see.

    • #4 by Becca Campbell on May 18, 2011 - 8:17 pm

      Make limits for yourself. Pick one object to “draw” or just look around you and mimic something. Usually when I start doodling I let my hand control more than my brain or my eyes. I just make shapes that feel good to my hand and don’t overthink it.

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