I am a doodler. Always have been.  I doodle when I sit in my critique group and listen to the discussion, I doodle when I am at lectures or readings, I doodle when I'm writing with pen and paper and stop to think.

Usually, I don't think much about it.  I just do it.  Doodling is an ingrained habit of years and years and years.  But the other day I paused to ponder something in the middle of writing in my journal and found myself doodling.  A row of spirals.  A line of squares beneath that, their insides decorated with lines and dots.  And in the midst of that doodling I started thinking about it.

What an odd thing doodling is.  I'm sure to others it appears that I'm not paying attention when I doodle.  But actually, the opposite is true.  Since I'm a writer, my brain needs a direct connection to my hand in order to focus.  So, if I'm not taking notes, I'm doodling.

Since I do tend to doodle the same basic designs over and over again–the above-mentioned spirals, squares, triangles, dots and lines–I wonder if these basic shapes provide deep insight about me.  Probably not, because they are quite basic.  When I look at other people's doodles, they seem much more profound and organized than mine.

According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, doodling is "unfocused drawing made while a person's attention is otherwise occupied."  And, I am vindicated, because the same Wikipedia article sites a study that doodling improves memory.  However, according to this blog, doodling can have severe ramifications, even setting criminals free.

What I wonder is if certain types of people are more apt to doodle than others.  Do writers doodle more than non-writers?  Do artists doodle more than writers?  What is the profile of a doodler?  And should we even care?  Probably not.  It is just good to look at these ingrained habits we don't even think about once in awhile, especially since we are writers dedicated to illuminating the human condition.  We are, aren't we?

Do you doodle?  If so, what comes from your pen?

I found the photo on Flickr, and it is by Treatinfamy.