Donna Everhart

Doodling And Other ‘Useless’ Things I Do

Did you know doodling actually helps you think?  Neither did I…, but recently I watched a segment on a news channel about how it helps you stay engaged in the moment – like if you’re in a meeting or on a conference call.  I used to doodle all the time when I was participating in those daily corporate tasks.  I have no idea what my doodles meant – and I’m not sure that’s the point, but I do recall I used to fill up pages with arrows.  Bold, thin, large, small, up, down, sideways.   Arrows mostly, but sometimes, eyes.  I could draw a left eye better than a right.  But, if I tried to draw them side by side, they always took on a Picasso sort of look.  Warped.

All that time spent listening, or talking while doodling at the same time, means you are more likely to remember the information presented or discussed.  Well, dang.  Who knew?  I guess it’s sort of like dreaming at night, which is supposed to help with processing your daily overload of information.  Now that I don’t have those things to do, my doodling is nil.

But, I have found another mental sidebar that might be a similar sort of thing.  My neighbors see me outside a lot – even in this cold.  When outside, I’m usually with my little guy, and many times I take my camera with me, just in case I happen to spot something worth capturing.

Like this Camelia:


Or this red headed woodpecker:


For the first time ever, a Goldfinch (in honor of Donna Tartt???):


And of course, there always has to be the random shot of the “Bundle” (a.k.a. Mister)



This picture taking is really a useless thing to do.  I mean, why take pictures of the same old yard I’ve seen for 16 years?  And I have dozens upon dozens of pics of little guy.  Maybe it’s because I love the changes I see with each season, the transition of foliage and plants from one state to another, the new birds that come to feed, whatever, it doesn’t really matter.  Click, click, click.

Despite the fact I look as if I’m engaged in picture taking or just walking the “Bundle” around the yard, I’m actually still working, still thinking about the WIP.  And sometimes – although I wish it were more often, I think of something I can use immediately or later, in another chapter.

So maybe the useless things we do, aren’t really so useless after all.  Scientists say so.  That’s good enough for me.

Do you doodle…, or…?

2 thoughts on “Doodling And Other ‘Useless’ Things I Do”

  1. Yup, I doodle. I used to draw boxes, lots and lots of interconnected boxes. The perspective of one fitting into another and another and so on was pretty difficult but I loved how it stretches what I see. Years of mechanical drawing, sketching and painting probably had something to do with that plus I’m sure at the time of the box-doodles I felt ‘boxed’ in by job, life or whatever. Now I doodle the alphabet backwards.
    A few months ago I taught myself the alphabet in reverse because…well I’m not sure why but it is cool to actually learn something I always knew, but in another way.
    We become so complacent with our knowledge that actually studying something uses parts of our gray matter left dormant.
    Great post BTW.
    I wonder…while working on longer pieces, is blog posting a kind of doodle?

    1. It’s kind of weird b/c when I realized I don’t really doodle anymore (since I’m not stuck on a conference call or in an actual conference room) I wonder if my brain is able to connect creative dots together as well as it might otherwise. I was writing my first book while working over 40 hours a week. I wrote the second book into the first year of my unemployment. Maybe when things were still firing well from 25 years of doodle overload.

      Blogging…it could be…for me, blogging is an opportunity to give the gray matter a break. Especially if I’ve been shoveling words out and I’m starting to feel stagnant. Then there’s JR’s blog and her 100 word contests too. Love those.

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