10 Things I Learned By Doodling For 100 Days Straight

John Cutler
Aug 31, 2016 · 17 min read
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The Rules

I set a small number of rules.

  • Share the drawing on Instagram and Facebook
  • No erasing, start-overs, tear-outs, whiteout
  • Don’t overthink. Start drawing within 60 seconds of opening pad
  • Black and red pen
  • In one sitting

What I learned …

  1. I spent 100hrs+ “meditating” with a pen. That’s a win. No screens! No typing! No devices! The careful line-work in particular was very calming
  2. Overall my mood and outlook improved
  3. Peer pressure works! Once my friends started chiming in on Facebook I wasn’t turning back. On a couple occasions my challenge inspired others to take the plunge. That was very rewarding and inspiring
  4. The workweek saps your creative energy. It’s hard to focus when you’re stressed. Stress would increase as the week progressed, and the drawings would become increasingly scattered. On Saturday, the relaxation kicked in. I kept thinking … what would it take to make every day like Saturday? And was my work suffering from the same lack of lateral thinking?
  5. Ritual matters. 90% of my drawings were completed at the same coffee place (Raleigh Raw), drinking the same coffee (bullet coffee with grass-fed butter), and having the same smoothie (blueberry). It took 10 days or so to get in the swing of things. And maybe 30 to make it a habit. I’m pretty sure the caffeine injection / timing played some part in this
  6. Tools inspire. Having a good set of pens and a pen bag was a big part of the experience. I have a pen fetish now
  7. It takes practice to turn off your inner critic. Social sharing boosts the need to “make it cool”. Some of the best drawings started with no censorship and forethought. I had to consciously block out the inevitable share and looking for likes and comments.
  8. When you do something every day, it’s ok if it sucks! You have another shot. If it’s your only shot, you’re more prone to freak yourself out
  9. Some days you’ll want to get serious and meaningful. Other days you’ll shoot for trite and flippant. That’s ok! When you have output, you wait patiently for the “good ones”
  10. Constraints help. Limiting myself to mostly black pen let me practice and explore what was possible

The Drawings (In Order)

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John Cutler

Written by

Multiple hat-wearer. Prod dev nut. I love wrangling complex problems and answering the why with qual/quant data. @johncutlefish on Twitter.

Personal Growth

Sharing our ideas and experiences.

John Cutler

Written by

Multiple hat-wearer. Prod dev nut. I love wrangling complex problems and answering the why with qual/quant data. @johncutlefish on Twitter.

Personal Growth

Sharing our ideas and experiences.

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