I can’t draw. There I said it. And yet I own a sketchpad. A large rectangular notepad of blank, unruled sheets of paper that lies on my desk under my keyboard.
And it’s there to help me write.
There’s something liberating about wide expanses of white paper. You can scribble in the corners…or write across the page…or write in the centre of the page. Best of all though, it allows you to doodle.
Instead of writing down the words, represent them with tiny pictures, Or group stuff together and join them with lines and speech bubbles and other weird icons. Write in blocks or triangles or circles or tetrahedrons or duodecagons. Write in cursive. Write in bold. Write in reverse hand. Write vertically. Draw cats. Draw the guy sitting across the table from you. Draw yourself. Draw clouds. Draw a hand drawing. Draw and write whatever pops into your head – even if it’s in no way related to what you’re working on.
This isn’t mind-mapping – that’s way too restrictive. Too many rules and practices. Write this in one colour, use a dotted line for this, colour that in blue, blah, blah, blah…
This is more like mind-purging: tossing out all the stuffing to get to that key thought, carving away at the outer shell that surrounds the BIG IDEA. It’s like scratching through the attic on a scavenger hunt (there’s a revealing statement about my mindset. LOL!) . You never know what treasures you could find. And it probably won’t even be the thing you thought you were looking for in the first place.
Sketchpads: get one.