composing in image: doodling into the new year

As a jumpstart in my writerly life, I am participating in a 30-day challenge to reflectively write at least 150 words and then post online. We’ve since expanded on the idea with international colleagues into #modigiwri. Join us and here goes!

When I started the challenge to write and post everyday—just 150 words—I did not anticipate the way this would blossom. If you check out the #modigiwri feed on Twitter, however, you’ll see the kind of growth that’s possible when you are connected to generous, creative, and dedicated colleagues. Kevin was critically pondering this positive, generative energy in a recent #modigiwri post, actually. Here it is: Call Me Naive, We are Part.

So one way (there were other creative branches as well!) that the folks who are participating in the More Digital Writing or #modigiwri challenge have taken the original 150-word challenge has been toward abandoning words all together. Well, first, a conversation about the constraints of digital composing tools inspired Wendy, I think it was, who suggested that folks try to write with just 150 and she came up with a dictionary game to spark that writing. (Wendy is that right?)

Then, Terry asked this question:

Viakus and remixes and v-poems and all kinds of responses followed. I, myself, am in the middle of making a found poem from the annotations that #modigiwri folks added to my last post. If you want to see great examples of these image-heavy compositions, here again is Sheri’s list of the blogs that have #modigiwri posts:

All of this focus on composing with images had me thinking about another off-shoot that I followed from Sheri. She shared a New Year sketch process to reflect on the past year and to set intentions for this year. Her concluding image was beautiful and moving. I recommend checking it out. I could see it inspiring a year of thoughtful intentions.

So far I have only had the chance to work through the first step of the process. In this step, you create a mind map with the previous year in the center and bubbles all around highlighting aspects of the previous year. These could be categories of things. I opted to create an icon for a highlight from each month. For me, drawing an image to represent the highlight took the pressure off as I could reflect on that memory as I drew rather than trying to write out the memory and what it meant to me.

Without a calendar in front of me, I could only come up with an icon for four or five of the months. I was surprised. It was just 12 memories that I was asking myself to recall. Then I pulled out my calendar, and here is the result:

What I realized as I completed the set as a whole was that at least half of the highlights were work related. Now, that’s a great thing for work—and not just because it made me feel productive from last year, but that it is a positive sign, I think, to have events and happenings from work feel good. However, and this is a big however, I don’t want half of the highlights of 2019 to come from work. I want there to be enough life and satisfaction and memories from outside work to overpower—or at least rise up to meet—those that come from the work day.

So, although I usually shy away from goal setting, this one feels authentic. It came from the meditative space created by taking time to doodle and reflect. Thank you, again, to Sheri for sharing her #modigiwri activity! Y’all should give it a go too.

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4 thoughts on “composing in image: doodling into the new year

  1. I love this set of doodles, the first part of the process. Your baby is so cute, and it jumped right out at me in that spot. I also love the reflective writing doodle. It is great that your work is so rewarding, and balance [seems like you are] is very important. Because you understand that, you’ll make it happen. Now that you have a little one, your “home” memories will definitely overpower your work ones. I have not yet finished my process– I still need that “one word,” and I’m finding that a challenge. Thanks for sharing your reflection with us. ~ Sheri

  2. Cool sketch! Great way to simplify the reflection. I tend toward words, and love their power, but this exercise is perfect for sketching.

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