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Motivational messages from middle managers

A silly little doodle I did during a video call has got me thinking about ideas for new characters and stories.

Iain Broome
Iain Broome
2 min read
Motivational messages from middle managers

I doodled that drawing up there on the left during a group video call (don't tell anyone). Now, I'm not good at drawing, but I liked how very serious and earnest this chap looked. I thought that he should say something. And that it should probably be mean.

So just for fun, I wrote a couple of mean sentences on a separate Post it note. I imagined him leading some team of people somewhere, unhappy at where he is in life, not a bad person but quite content to take his frustration out on others.

And then I did some actual work for a bit.

The following day I did another doodle (right in the image above). When I looked at my sentences from the day before I started to think about how much meanness there is in your average workplace. And I wondered what it might be like for these characters in my doodles – these middle managers – to say nice things instead.

So I quickly wrote a few kind sentences. Almost without thinking. And next to my weird little pictures I think they work better. There's an awkwardness, a sadness even, in their praise. And who is the praise for? Us, the reader?

I doodled a few more, shared the images in my Instagram stories and received some lovely feedback. These would make a great stocking filler! I'm so glad you posted these! Please make more of them!

I may make more or I may never doodle a single middle manager again, but it's been a good reminder that ideas can come from anywhere. That putting pen to paper is better than not. And that one idea can spark a thousand others over time.


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I'm the author of the novel, A is for Angelica. Every week, I send Draft Mode, a newsletter full of tips and tools that help you improve your craft and promote your writing.