Doodler?

Are you doodler? Is this a sign of a need for another outlet for creativity?

From Goodis:

You’d think this would be a non-issue—after all, I’m lucky enough to be paid a salary to design all day. But increasingly I’ve realized that for people like me, one creative outlet isn’t enough. The most interesting, creative people I know express themselves in a variety of ways. I call this practice informing practice, and I used to do it myself. Back before I made money from being creative, I was involved in up to five different creative outlets at a time. Now that my work consumes my life, that number has dwindled to one, and I can feel my non-design creative muscles twitching.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve associated creative pursuits with other activities. In every class from kindergarten through college, my head was always down as I listened to entire lesson plans while doodling superheroes, 3D cubes, and stylized words. I created logos for bands that didn’t exist, bands that did exist, comic books I wanted to make, and movies I wanted to film. Teachers often assumed I was ignoring them when I was drawing, constantly asking why I found the blank page in front of me more interesting than their lessons. But these doodles weren’t a distraction, they were a core part of my learning process, visual evidence that I was taking information in. Finding a way to put mark on the learning process made me feel like a better student.

Fortunately, my coworkers understand the concept of auditory learning, because I didn’t stop doodling after I left school. During any meeting at the GOOD office, I’m drawing faces, hands high-fiving, the words “DOPE,” “FRESH,” “HOLLA,” and “WHOA,” and more. A lot more. I try to contain my work to sketchbooks, but I’ll settle for scrap paper, napkins, or paper cups. I doom a lot of objects to a decorative demise.

I not a doodler, but this paragraph describes the day writing:

I start to dig into a little idea, and before I know it the compulsion takes over. Sometimes I won’t move from my seat for hours on end, only becoming aware of the world around me when my stomach growls and I remember the only things I’ve consumed all day are a Clif bar and an iced coffee. And even then, often I’ll just keep going. I get engrossed in my work too, of course, but that activates a different part of my brain, one that prioritizes success through creation instead of the process of being.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • http://www.craighurst.wordpress.com Craig Hurst

    I doodled on my papers in class from high school through grad school. Believe it or not it helped me pay attention.

  • http://deadheroesdontsave.com/ MikeB

    I am guilty of this all the time —> “Sometimes I won’t move from my seat for hours on end, only becoming aware of the world around me when my stomach growls and I remember the only things I’ve consumed all day are a Clif bar and an iced coffee.”

  • EricMichaelSay

    I always have a non-work creative outlet ready. As a graphic designer it’s usually painting or music.

  • Jesse

    I’m definitely a doodler and thankful for posts like this which make me feel better about it.

    I just started a new job wherein I’m in a classroom environment for the first several weeks and I’ve begun drawing comical versions of my co-workers. Fortunately, they appreciate these drawings, but my trainer has not-so-subtly tested how much attention I’m paying by asking me questions about material we’re talking about.

    So far, I’ve managed to pay close enough attention to not be left embarrassed!

  • metanoia

    I’m a visual learner. When in meetings, preparing sermons or lesson plans, I sketch out my ideas which include stick figures, cubes, circles , lines, words etc. that help me associate the material I am working with or on. Months and even years later I can look at notes in my Bible or notebooks and relive that particular lesson plan or meeting. I think that counts as “doodling.”


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