Friday, January 26, 2018

Doodle Your Way into the Writing Life

As the new SCBWI Germany & Austria blog coordinator, I'd like to briefly introduce myself. My name is Linda Hofke and I write picture books, articles, and poetry for children. I'd like to offer a broad range of blog posts this year. If you have topic ideas and/or an interest in contributing, please feel free to contact me.

Today's post is from Laurel Decher.

My doodle for the SCBWI Europolitan Conference in Belgium. ©Laurel Decher, 2017.
Whenever I got to a workshop or a conference, I get inspired to read new books, try new things, stay in touch with new people and remember important insights. Last year, I tried a bullet journal for my writing life and I liked it so much that I have one again this year. As these doodles make very clear, I'm a writer for excellent reasons :) 

A friend gave me fancy Japanese erasable pens (Thanks, Kazi! Brilliant for writer people who want to 'fix' things) and I stole my husband's colored pencils. When I see the colorful doodles, they invite me in. I'm much more likely to play with a new technique if I can find it quickly in my bullet journal.

Hanging out with all of the illustrators at the 2017 SCBWI Europolitan Conference in Belgium must have rubbed off on me. I created the doodle above on the train ride home. Just what I needed, a quick way to 'revisit' the conference in the months to come, without wading through pages of notes.

"No one can tell you how to write your book." First doodle from Catherine Frank's Revise Like an Editor SCBWI Webinar. ©Laurel Decher, 2017

Doodling also helps me 'noodle' new concepts and see connections I wouldn't otherwise get. Until I doodled about Catherine Frank's Revise Like an Editor webinars, I didn't see how truly empowering they were. "No one can tell you how to write your book" was a message I really needed to hear (again!). Catherine Frank never said it explicitly, but it was the message underlying her whole presentation. She gave us litmus tests and tools, but we were the ones who had to decide. (Can you spell 'ideal editor'?)

Second doodle from Catherine Frank's Revise Like an Editor SCBWI Webinar. ©Laurel Decher, 2018.

The third way that doodling helps me with is figuring out when I might want to try a new market or technique. Melanie Welfing's SCBWI Webinar "Writing for the Children's Magazine Market" was packed with information about how and why children's magazines can be useful for writers. A doodle helped me separate out the 'how' from the 'when is this a good tactic'.

Doodle for Melanie Welfing's SCBWI Webinar "Writing for the Children's Market". ©Laurel Decher, 2017.

Do you have a way to touch base with webinars and conferences you've attended and craft books you've devoured? How do you help yourself grow as a writer? Would a little doodling be useful in your writing life?

Laurel Decher, © Jane Joo Park, 2017
LAUREL DECHER writes stories about all things Italian, vegetable, or musical. Beloved pets of the past include "Stretchy the Leech" and a guinea pig that unexpectedly produced twins. She's famous for getting lost, but carries maps because people always ask her for directions. Or find her on Twitter and on her blog, This Is An Overseas Post, where she writes about life with her family in Germany. She's still a Vermonter and an epidemiologist at heart. PSA: Eat more kale! Her short fiction for adults, UNFORESEEN TIMES, originally appeared in Windhover.


  1. What a fun way to keep notes!!!!! I've got to do this at least once, too. Thanks for sharing, Laurel. And Congratulations on your new position, Linda!

    1. Thanks, Donna. And thanks for stopping by the blog.

      I agree. Laurel has a fun way of doodling her information on the page. I might try it as well.

  2. Donna,
    Thanks for reading! Hope you have some fun trying it out your own way!