In Which I Punctuate, Doodle, Get Out Of My Head, Then Laugh

As you know this is a personal blog.

While I strive to write about things that happen in my daily life, I don’t always have much to tell you, my little moonbeams.

Yet I said I’d be here so I am here.

I didn’t go looking for these unique things to do + 1 funny YouTube video but stumbled over them while doing research for other projects. 

Enjoy!   

• • •

✅ I stumbled over this website, just the punctuation, and decided to try it.

All you do is cut and paste a sample of your writing, input it on the screen, then ‘winner, winner, chicken dinner’ the algorithm generates an image showing only the punctuation in your writing sample.

For the life of me I don’t know what this proves but here are 6 paragraphs of my blog writing reduced to punctuation.

This is a line of punctuation, somehow symbolizing something.

✅ I stumbled over this website, Right-Angle Doodling Machine, and decided to try it.

All you do is use your arrow keys to create an original doodle.  It’s easy– and reminds me of 6th grade when I was bored out of my gourd with “new math” so I started making doodles like these using pencil and paper to pass the time.

I’m not sure why, but making this doodle was relaxing and made me feel youthful and creative, in a linear way.

This is a darned dandy doodle, if’n I do say so myself.

✅ I stumbled over these 20 Journaling Prompts I Swear By to Get You Out of Your Head and decided to try them.

All you do is find yourself a comfy spot to ponder and write, then set about answering each prompt, for your own personal enlightenment.

While I appreciate the concept of writing prompts, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that I’m reluctant to use them.  That being explained, overall these did get me thinking about my life in a new way– and that is good.

This is a sprig of catmint and two late-season roses with perfectly pinkish petals.

• • •

Below is The Theory and Practice of Editing New Yorker Articles by Wolcott Gibbs as read by Bill Murray. If you’re a wordsmith, it’s a hoot.

171 thoughts on “In Which I Punctuate, Doodle, Get Out Of My Head, Then Laugh

  1. The video is a hoot. I struggled with adverbs but I’ve gotten better. I gag on writing with too much stuff going on. I never use prompts either. For me they are often contrived. I round up my muse and make her come home from the Bahamas when I need inspiration. Sometimes she brings her drink with the umbrella in it.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I enjoyed the journaling prompts and could have used those when I was in school, rather than writing about what I ate that day! Lol! A local school district recently got into a brouhaha over a HS writing prompt book that had some inappropriate writing suggestions, such as ‘write about a time you couldn’t orgasm’ and such. Quite the scandal!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Bijoux, my goodness! Those prompts, for high school students [?], sound much more risqué than the ones I linked too. I’m blushing here. I know what you mean about prompts, at a certain point in my life I could have used them, but they were nowhere to be found.

      Like

  3. PROMPT: Wes Anderson directs some trippy films . . .

    The French Dispatch follows in the footsteps of its predecessors, The Grand Budapest, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Darjeeling Limited, Moonrise Kingdom. Let’s hope it doesn’t trip over the words rolling off the presses. 😛

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’m glad I’m not the only one who is reluctant to use writing prompts. I don’t know what it is about them, but I find it really hard to say “what do I know for sure” or “what would I tell my younger self.” It makes me freeze up for some reason, and I’m a pretty wordy person.

    Glad you’re here! I know what you’re saying – it’s a personal blog, but not always are things a-happening. I TOTALLY GET THAT. My world feels very small sometimes, and my grocery store outings are often the biggest thing of the week.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Nicole, I have nothing against writing prompts, but I’m the same way as you. I read them with good intentions, then my brain says: “nothing to write here, move on.” I don’t know if it’s rebellion or laziness on my part, but they don’t work for me either.

      For me the thing about personal blogging is that I’ll share some things from my life if I think they’re interesting, worthy of conversation. Otherwise I’ve got nothing to say, other than share some links I find along the way. Which is good, too– I suppose.

      Like

  5. I have never used writing prompts. At the moment there is too much happening and not enough time to write about it all. I tend to think that if I require a prompt at some point, I might just stop writing.

    Your right angle artwork reminds me of the stuff we used yo make on an etch-a-sketch. So fun until a sibling bumped into me or chose to give it a good shake out of spite.

    I can never get enough of Bill Murray.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ernie, I know that some people enjoy writing prompts and write some wonderful blog posts as a result. BUT for me they make me feel like I’m back in school, doing homework, and I’ll be graded on my work. My mind goes blank, like the page.

      You’re right about the doodle thing, that it’s like an Etch-a-Sketch. Loved those things. Agree about Bill Murray. His sly humor makes me laugh no matter what.

      Like

  6. I still remember a bumper sticker from back in the ’70s — “The Road to Hell is Paved with Adverbs.”
    And then there’s the great quotation from Stephen King: “I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops. To put it another way, they’re like dandelions. If you have one in your lawn, it looks pretty and unique. If you fail to root it out, however, you find five the next day…fifty the day after that…and then, my brothers and sisters, your lawn is totally, completely, and profligately covered with dandelions. By then you see them for the weeds they really are, but by then it’s—GASP!!—too late.”

    Liked by 4 people

    • Linda, I’m not familiar with that bumper sticker. How did I miss it? No truer words.

      I love the SK quote. That I’ve seen before and it is true. As a younger woman I thought adverbs made my writing unique, but now I realize they’re clutter. Most of the time. Usually.

      Like

  7. I never understood all the hate about adverbs until I taught creative writing to high school students. Then I wondered why there wasn’t a bunch of sage wisdom about adjectives as well. I’m a fan of a well-placed adverb, but I do tend to be a bit bossy.

    I love Bill Murray but am no Wes Anderson fan. He is, for me, a sort of snobby Tim Burton: he likes the absurd, but treats it all like an enormous in-joke that only he knows, whereas Tim Burton always lets us all in on it.

    The punctuation website confirmed that I am a copious user of commas and semicolons. Ah well, I am a writer and I do have style. 😉

    Liked by 4 people

    • Nance, I agree with you: I, too, am a fan of a well-placed adverb. I cannot kill them all, a few must survive my editing process.

      I’ve never considered the differences between Wes Anderson and Tim Burton movies. I don’t see enough movies to know much about what or how a director approaches his work, the subtext of it. Now, of course, I’ll pay more attention.

      The punctuation website baffles me. I understand what it is doing, but not what I’ve learned from it. Still, it is fun so maybe that’s enough.

      Like

  8. Good morning, Ms. Bean. I’m so glad you show up, regardless. Now, that punctuation site is just pointless, but you’re the second person to share that with me this week. What does that tell you?

    Your doodle reminds me of all the maze doodles I drew on my notebooks in high school, though mine were curvaceous.

    The Bill Murray video was delightful. And all those comments about adverbs are spectacularly, truly, believably correct.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Eilene, as one of the people who has shared the pointless punctuation website, I’ll suggest that the reason we have done this is that it’s a slow time of year wherein any old thing seems entertaining.

      I made linear doodles in elementary school, but never managed curvaceous ones. You are a doodler with more style than I.

      Bill Murray makes me laugh no matter what. Glad you thoroughly enjoyed the video.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh yes, forgot to remark on the prompts (which I just visited). As you know, I do follow some very short (usually a word or two) prompts for my family history stories, but those journaling prompts – yikes! No thanks.

    Then there are writing classes where they throw a prompt at you and you’re expected to just churn something out willy-nilly (is that an adverb? I think it is). My brain simply doesn’t process that fast. I’ll turn in the assignment next week, not 5 minutes from now. K?

    Liked by 1 person

    • You make a good distinction between one word prompts and the more involved ones I linked to. I haven’t taken a writing class in years but know I couldn’t churn out something in the moment anymore. I’m more particular about my writing style now. Like you I need time to think and process and revise before I could turn in my essay.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m feeling kind of sad and stuck. So maybe I should try a couple of these! I used to doodle all over my notes too, while listening to lectures. I still do that in some meetings. And I’ve never liked writing prompts..but maybe I should at least stick a toe in and see how the water feels.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dawn, sometimes I think that silliness is the way to get unstuck. Well, many times I think that. The prompts I linked to are ones that ask you to ponder who you are. I enjoyed reading them, then answering them… but not on paper with the intention of sharing them here. More like catalysts for future posts.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. These are so fun! I will be delighted to see my own punctuation — too many em-dashes and commas, I presume!

    I, too, used to doodle on my lecture notes. Spirals, what the spiral version of a triangle is, concentric shapes blooming all along the margins.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Suzanne, the punctuation website is cool in its own way. Still not sure what I’ve proved with my punctuation, but there you have it.

      In college I’d doodle drawing plants and leaves and vines around the edges of my notes, but as a kid I was all about linear doodles. Maybe embracing curves comes with age. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  12. These posts are fantastic, you always find the best stuff.
    As you are probably aware, I am a big fan of morning pages and journaling. So I’ll be using those prompts. After reading the comments, it appears that I’m in the minority when it comes to writing prompts. Ha.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kari, glad you like these links. Silliness has its place in this blog. Oh yes it does!

      I used to love writing prompts, but somewhere along the line I stopped using them. That being said, these particular prompts got me contemplating, pondering, musing– and from that I’ve ideas for posts going forward.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. The rabbit holes that we go down can be illuminating. Is that another word for time wasting? 😉 Writing prompts remind me too much of English assignments/essays/tests. I loved school but don’t want to have that sense of obligation to write to a topic.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Margaret, that’s how I’ve come to feel about writing prompts. In my early blogging days, I liked them… but eventually they seemed like homework not catalysts for thought. Still some people do great things with them, so have at ’em.

      Yes I’m sure one definition for illuminating is time wasting. Clever of you to know that. 🤔

      Like

  14. I am genuinely curious about the punctuation summary – mostly to see if I use explanation mark as much as I feel like I do. I constantly find myself editing them out of emails because they seem to end every sentence, lol. Also, it would be interesting to know if my “work” writing differs significantly from my “play” writing, from a punctuation perspective.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sarah J, I imagine that with a larger sample than 6 paragraphs you’ll see a definite pattern both in your work writing and your play writing. I input a serious essay I wrote and found fewer brackets, more semicolons, than with my chatty blog writing.

      Like

    • I’m curious about it too; I think I’ll use it on some of my own writing, as it may provide some insight into my own style, and perhaps help me to improve it. I found the article linked on the ‘here’s why‘ at the foot of the tool to be illuminating.

      Liked by 1 person

      • peNdantry, seeing your punctuation in this way is, if nothing else, pretty. Of course I am be outing myself as nerd when I say that, but it was my first impression when I tried it. I found ‘just the punctuation’ via the article you share here. Agree. Interesting why it was created to begin with.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Janis, good point about Bill’s shirt. He’s styling in that one!

      I don’t do much with prompts when it comes to writing my blog either. Like you I’ll read prompts to see if they spark an idea in me, but rarely to actually write something based on one. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Isn’t it wild the things that can be found on the internet?! And who thinks to invent these things? Does it take a lot of computer code to come up with some of these? Could they be using their talents to make the world better? Maybe these little things DO make the world better? I don’t know… I feel confused by it all!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Pam, I used to do morning pages every day, which is a specific kind of journaling. After a few years I’d done enough of that, but the discipline required to do morning pages has helped me show up to my blog consistently. It got me in the mindset to write whatever I wanted to– the essence of personal blogging.

      Like

  16. The doodling machine is addictive. I can see why you found it relaxing. The Bill Murray video is funny, and, even though I’m not a writer, made me wonder if I use too many adverbs and clichés in my blog posts. Love the vase for your catmint and roses. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  17. Have to watch the video later but since I love words and grammar and such, I’m looking forward to it. The punctuation thing is…interesting. 🙂 I like your flower arrangement as well. For quite a few years I participated in Friday Fictioneers, where we wrote 100 words on a photo prompt, but that’s a bit different from a traditional writing prompt, at least in my mind. It was a lot of fun but I haven’t done it for ages. I do enjoy photo challenges, though.

    Anyhoo, nice to hear from you and thanks for the smiles.

    janet

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Travel Architect, same here. I enjoy reading prompts, but rarely feel motivated to write on them. But I know that for some people prompts get their creative juices going. Whatever works.

      Like

  18. heheee this provided some fun entertainment for a few minutes and sidetracked me catching up on posts lol but was fun!

    Here’s the punctuation of the first paragraph of my next post:
    , ‘ . ‘ : ? ! , ‘ . , – – – , ‘ . , , – ( ” , ” ) . , ( ) , – . ‘ . . ( , , . . ‘ ! )

    I think that means I am trigger-happy with the commas. 🤣

    Liked by 2 people

  19. You find some great things!

    I could probably benefit from journaling prompts, but I stubbornly resist. In fact, it might be a good idea to go back to writing a journal.

    Loved the Bill Murray thing. What was that? 1937? It still holds up. My favorites were Rules 3 and 10, especially the clip at the end of Rule 3 with Frances McDormand.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Nicki, I don’t know what it is about journaling prompts, any prompts actually, but I read them like they’re a homework assignment so I don’t want to use them. A kind of rebellion, I guess.

      I loved Rule 24 about questioning whether you need your last sentence or if you’re showing off. That one made me snicker.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. “Authors showing off” 😀 😀 😀 Yeah, that one habit which is soooo hard to resist.

    Thank you for the journaling prompts to get you out of your head. I collect prompts (sometimes even using them myself, not just on clients).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Deb, that rule was my favorite one because it hit close to home. I do love a wonderful concluding sentence, forsooth. 😁

      While I don’t often write using prompts, I like to read them and contemplate them, sometimes wondering about the person sharing the prompt itself. Hope these are useful for you.

      Like

    • Suz, you caught me. I am messaging aliens telling them to keep their distance from this planet because we’re not quite ready for them yet. 👽

      I never thought about why I don’t use prompts until I started talking with commenters here, but you’ve nailed it. Prompts seem contrived– and I’m a free spirit.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I don’t really like writing prompts, either, except once last summer (was it last summer?) I fell into the lap of a Natalie Goldberg book and maybe even wrote a blog following her prompt. Or maybe it was a journal entry. Have never looked at a journaling prompt again until right now!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. This was a fun treat!! I love writing prompts – even when I hardly ever use them. I have a whole Pinterest board full of them. Adding this one.

    And those roses. They really are the most glorious color!! I love them so much!!

    And lastly, I love doodling. I’ve never tried it digitally. I think I have to now!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Katie, I’m glad you can add these prompts to your Pinterest board. That’s cool. As is the doodling website. Give it a try, when you’re feeling in a linear mood.

      I love those roses, too. Their color is fresh and blends with flowers from spring, summer, and fall. The bush looks like it belongs all year round.

      Like

    • Luanne, I’m glad your comment made it through this time. Beats me what happens to comments, they evaporate sometimes. Very annoying. Enjoy the prompts, hope they are useful for you.

      Chiasmic? Aren’t you being fancy with your words! 🤓

      Like

  23. Thank you for sharing these finds, Ally. I truly enjoyed them. Here’s my funny, cautionary doodle story. As part of a work-related lawsuit, I was asked to help with discovery by going through boxes of documents provided by the opposing party (a company). While going through those documents, I came across many interesting doodles that I’m sure the creators never expected to see the light of day. Also, one person wrote on the margin of a “While You Were Out” pad (remember those): “These people are f***ing idiots!” Since then, if I catch myself doodling, I always ask myself, “Am I okay with coworkers or strangers seeing this?” 😂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Christie, your story is great. I remember those “While You Were Out” pads quite vividly. It’s hilarious that someone’s words and doodles were part of discovery, and that you found them. I’ve been cautioned to be careful about what I write online because it’ll be there forever, but I’ve never thought back to what I was writing on paper for work that might still be around somewhere. 😐

      Like

  24. I think the punctuation thing looks kind of musical. It’s like each punctuation mark represents a different note/sound, and together they make a melody to represent your writing. For example, you have a lot more than just commas and full stops, so it feels like there’s a variety of high and low notes; whereas a monotonous piece might only have full stops, which implies the tone doesn’t vary much.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Pingback: revel in repetition – Touring My Backyard

  26. Thoroughly enjoyed the video! 😀
    I did the punctuation exercise, used an email to a friend, lots of ! and , . It actually looked like me; verbose and excitable.
    I did not attempt the right angle drawing as it looked like math and frightened me so.

    Liked by 1 person

    • joey, the video had me laughing about it for hours after I saw it. The punctuation website fascinated me. I tried it with my blog writing and my formal writing. There was a difference, the blog writing has more ! and ? while the formal writing has more ; [as in lots of them].

      Like

  27. These are fun treasures you’ve found! All could serve the purpose of getting unblocked or shifting perspective. “Just the Punctuation” reminds me of a bit from Richard Brautigan’s book “A Confederate General in Big Sur,” in which he counts the punctuation marks in Ecclesiastes. If you’re curious, here’s a recording of him reading that passage (pre-cued to the right moment at 13:45): https://youtu.be/w3ur4BBKLWM?t=825

    Since hearing this passage years ago, I’ve always thought that punctuation counting/analysis was a beautiful idea. Thanks for reminding me of this, and sharing a fun tool!

    Like

    • Zachary, I’ve not heard of Brautigan or his book. The title sounds like it’s the kind of absurdity I enjoy. Thanks for the smile. I’d never think to count punctuation but like you mentioned, now I’ll be keeping that idea in the back of my mind when I read something.

      Liked by 1 person

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