In praise of word doodling

In praise of word doodling

This was supposed to be my epic post. A crisp, wow description of my method that would make everything clear in retrospect and especially forward. Which is why I could not write it for two weeks now.

First I was sick. Then I had the dog over. And then I just couldn’t and gave way to a decluttering challenge. I went through drawers of kitchen gadgets, boxes of makeup and some of my closet.

At least I was practicing what I preach. I always say circulate the energy when stuck. And when all else fails, go for a nap. I did that, too. When I woke up, I decided that I was going to write anyway, epic or not. And just like that, I was unstuck. Epic enough.

It’s been like that, lately. Transition after transition. At times like these, I go for the comfort of routine. Wake up, do the morning pages, meditate, get on the mat at least for a bit, breakfast with youtube, then work.

It structures the day. I got that part right, at least. The rest is yet undecided and I may break for a Netflix quickie in the process, but for now, we’re on track. And I cling on to that like a mofo.

All that’s needed beyond that is some brilliant ideas and some jaw dropping craft. Oh, wait, all those are clear as day.

Where do you get your ideas? From your head, says Neil Gaiman.

How do you write the most (and best?) children (and that’s just an example) books in the world? You wake up, you sit down and write for four hours everyday. As did Roald Dahl.

How do you come up with a joke? You sit down at your desk, and stare at the wall with a yellow pad and a ballpoint pen in hand. Says Jerry Seinfeld.

If looks like sitting is the mother of all skills. So I sit, too, waiting for some magic. Do I have anything at all? Right now, it really feels like I have nothing. Will I ever? That’s unclear, as well.

All I feel is my back slouching against the couch, and my shoulders misaligned and waving for attention. So I straighten up and take one breath. Is this boredom? If it is, let me get interested in the silvery green of my potted aloe.

I have just planted a whole new generation of baby aloes and am giving them out. I’d give you one if we were neighbours. But I can name one after you if you want.

While we’re sitting here, I wanted to tell you how I got scammed online. It’s the most ridiculous thing. I saw this ad on Facebook for a Birkenstock summer sale.

Everything was 23 Euros, and I was like a kid at the lollypop stand. I must have licked those pictures for almost half an hour before I chose five models. I had that gut feeling as I put the card number in, but ignored it and went ahead.

Later that night, as I was tapping away the day, accepting myself greedy and all (no, I did not need five pairs of sandals, so why did I order them), the lightbulb when on in my head. And I knew. Called the bank, blocked the card, etc.

And that’s when all the cracks in the lollypop stand pulled into focus. For one, it said 24 hour cancellation was fine but there was no button or email address for it.

I’m not even upset. I might get the money back. I’m sure as hell there aren’t any Birkenstocks in the mail for me, all the way from Singapore. But what a dupe!

All this time, I had been singing Macarena in my mind.

No I wasn’t. I was sitting with you, getting unstuck. The epic post is ready when it’s ready. The getting there, now, that’s epic.

I’m probably going to spend some time on a biscuit website. I love it. And on this new Japanese cooking channel on Youtube. It simmers my ideas like nothing else. Other than sitting, of course.

You know, this has a name. I call it word doodling. Some great things may come off it at times.

That’s when I want to have my legal pad and ballpoint pen ready. Or a voice recorder. Or something that does both. Like this new app I found, who does just that. It transcribes all my voice doodles and then I pick and choose from there. That’s my method, by the way. We talk about your idea, and then I pick, choose, structure and flesh out. All with your words or from the unseen iceberg of your work.

I had 22 minutes of recordings with Vivienne Westwood to go through when I wrote about our brief encounter at the Financial Times Festival. It must have taken me an hour to transcribe and mine the ideas for my post. I wish I had then. Oh, well.