The Point of Doodling


The other day I sat painting in a room full of people. I made a leaf, then another. As happens on these occasions, someone asked, "What is that going to be?" which is another way of asking, "What's your point?"

We modern people are addicted to "the point." We won't do anything without seeing the point: the immediate concrete result. Points that get the most air time: making money, building skill to make money, winning an award (to make money). Otherwise, that tinny whine raises its outcry: What's the point?

This is evidenced by our conversations. "What's the point in this assignment?" a student asks. A friend confides, "I wanted to study theatre, but there was no money in it, so I went into communications."

As for the question asked while I painted my leaves, I answered this way: “I don't know what this picture will be. I'm playing." When so much of what we do involves expectations, outcomes and results, it's wonderful fun to experiment. Truly, "not having a point" is the whole point.

Doodling is pointless. Yet play is absolutely necessary for the creative person. Doodling with pictures, words, ideas, art, photos, opens the imagination and sparks questions. At some point, I may find a pattern emerging. Even if that doesn't happen, I will have enjoyed myself and made something surprising in this moment - I will have made this moment worthwhile.

What play are you neglecting, because it doesn't have a point? Play today. Doodle or write without any end in mind.

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