In praise of scribbling

photoSo I’m co-facilitating this group coaching session with an amazing team when one of the participants says, “I live my life as a scribble.” She goes on to talk about how sometimes she scribbles outside the lines and sometimes inside them, but I was lost by then because her original statement simply shimmered in the air and obliterated the next several seconds for me.

 There was something beautiful about that metaphor – living life as a scribble – that absolutely captivated me so much that I poked and prodded her words until a proverbial lightbulb appeared above my head. Aha! It’s captivating because it’s so freeing. Think about it. Scribbling is spontaneous and creative, free-flowing and light-hearted. It’s experiential, not prescriptive (nor proscriptive, for that matter). And it’s definitely living in the moment.

 There’s a lot to be said for living life as a scribble, or at least for being able to scribble at will, despite the negative connotations that come with the word.

 The World English Dictionary defines scribble as:

    •  Hasty, careless writing or drawing.
    • Meaningless or illegible marks.
    • Writing of poor quality (especially literary writing).

 I’d like to suggest that the dictionary isn’t really fair to scribbling. I mean, I’ll let them have “hasty” but I’m changing “careless” to “spontaneous,” because that’s awfully presumptuous of someone to consider my scribbles careless. Who are they to judge? Spontaneous is better. Then, if I’ve scribbled something down, it’s hardly meaningless to me, nor illegible (with the possible exception of medical professionals who appear to be required to write illegibly). Again, those are judgments by others. Just because it’s hasty and scribbled doesn’t mean it’s meaningless. According to whose standards? And if I can read it (it’s my scribble after all), then it’s not illegible, either.

And as for writing of poor quality? Well, I read hastily written material that sings with inspiration, and I read plenty of carefully edited writing that lands with a resounding thud. So don’t tell me that scribbled writing is of poor quality, because I know better.

But what really matters to me is this: living life as a scribble means knowing when to stay in the lines and when to fly outside them. Scribbling means soaking up life in the moment rather than always planning, second-guessing, or moving along according to some prescribed rulebook. I guess it means allowing the spark of creativity and inspiration to fire at will and create on the fly.

So for my life? I’d like to live it in big, bold letters … sometimes. And sometimes I prefer an elegant cursive style. Occasionally I’ve been known to use consistent and neat typing for my living style. But whenever I feel the urge, I always hope to feel free to scribble, in whatever colors I choose, and without regard to lines.

2 thoughts on “In praise of scribbling

  1. Kelly Kuhn says:

    Delightful post. I sat a moment and soaked up “but I was lost by then because her original statement simply shimmered in the air and obliterated the next several seconds for me.” Gorgeous!

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