#NPM: Doodling & Writing

I must confess something to you all.  I am a writer, that much has been clear for awhile, but what you might not know is that I am also a doodler.  Today I was reminded of that when I saw an infograpic and brief piece about “What Doodling Says About Your Personality Type.”  Much like Kaylee, the person who wrote the article half of the post, I am a doodler — especially when taking notes.  Obviously, I am also a note taker, so it is difficult to talk about my writing life without sometimes dipping into my life as a doodler as well.

Most of my doodles are unrelated to the content we are covering, but I know it helps me pay attention.  Flipping through one of my more recent notebooks I saw doodles of faces and eyes and arrows and stars.  I know my students doodle as well — I have been quarantined with their notebooks and so I have had plenty of time to flip through those and see evidence of that.  I’m fine with it, but I know there are teachers out there that prefer your doodles stay away from your notes, your assignments, and your tests.

But why?  Why do we want to disrupt the doodlers?

I know when I was a student, there was a time when doodling was frowned upon because teachers saw it as a distraction.  I got in trouble for that a few times myself.  I also got in trouble once for doodling a swastika — not because I believe in anything related to Nazis, but because we were reading a story related to the Holocaust in another class.  It was on my mind and so it made its way onto my page.

The teacher took it the wrong way, because I definitely remember getting in trouble for that one.  In hindsight, I can see where a student doodling a Nazi symbol could be very troubling…especially if you don’t know what is going on in the person’s mind doodling it.

Questionable doodle content aside, I don’t think we should be dictating what appears on a students’ page — as long as their own text or notes are legible, what does it matter?  With that in mind, I wrote the following poem. (Poem 18/30)

Doodling and Writing

My notes have always come

with doodles down the sides.

Never relevant, but always



Dotted “i”s on the page

crossed eyes on the edge,

the margins marked

by a myriad mess.

The spaces between

open fields of play.


Did you know the doodles

delve into your depths?

That a doodle a day delays

dementia and depression.

So why, oh why

do those more disciplined

despise the dexterous doodler?


Who cares for the clean page?

Who cares for the unmessy margin?

Who cares for the censored scribble?

Doodle, I demand!

Scribble, I say!

Be messy, I beseech!


Doodle and write,

Write and doodle,

Fill the page with the parts

that make you happy.


3 thoughts on “#NPM: Doodling & Writing

  1. Ha! I love this! I love so many of the phrases you used, and the alliteration too. Beautiful! I agree with your viewpoint, too — I have always wondered why teachers insist that doodling is too much of a distraction. For some people it helps them focus! (People should not be so quick to judge others.) My favorite part of your poem: “Doodle, I demand!/ Scribble, I say!/ Be messy, I beseech!” Love it. 🙂 ~JudyK


  2. I enjoyed this poem! The alliteration is really fun, and I particularly enjoyed these lines: “Dotted “i”s on the page/crossed eyes on the edge” as well as that whole stanza. You’re making me think about how I talk with my students about doodling.


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