I didn’t set out to do Inktober. I’ve always thought it was cool, but I often struggle to even put pencil down to paper, let alone get out the inks. Or actually imbue my hand with proper inking techniques, like line weight or shading.
The biggest thing is that doing two intense challenges two months in a row may be akin to torture. NaNoWriMo is coming up net month, and for me, that’s a bit of tradition to undergo. Not that I’ve really plotted anything for that particular mountain just yet.
But, regardless of not really “trying” to partake in Inktober, it’s midway through the month and I have 11/15 ink drawings in my sketchbook (plus one really loose sketch that got way too ambitious for my fleeting anatomy and inking skills). Sure, I’m behind, but that’s still eleven more drawings than I had prior to the beginning of the moth.
A strange thing is happening though. It seems that, when I don’t really set out to draw is when I get the most work done. The thought of actually sitting down to fill up a page in the sketchbook is daunting. But when I start out following a stray thought, perusing an idea and sketching a few lines, that’s when the magic happens.
The last few days, it’s been storming here. Like, loudly, enough to wake me one morning with the growling thunder and the bright flashes of yellowed light. Since it’s also been warm, I’ve been keeping the window open, and considering I used to wake as a child as soon as someone stepped on the first stair to ascend to the upstairs (where my room was), it wasn’t difficult to blink awake.
It was raining so hard it sounded like hail thrumming against the roof, so instead of rolling over and going back to bed, I had to get up to check on my car, just in case. Pretty sure my insurance will cover any damage from acts of God, but old habits and all that. Turns out it wasn’t hailing (that I could perceive, at least)—just pelting rain.
However, despite this occurring at three in the morning, I was fully awake immediately. It wasn’t even that startling, heart-pounding awake. Just alert and normal.
That, for me, especially in the early hours, is very rare unless I wake up independently, without alarm-clock woes (which doesn’t happen very often). That, unfortunately, conflicts with my plan to try to be more productive creatively: by getting up earlier.
There wasn’t enough coffee for today (but in reality, there was, and it came in the seven or so cups I had before I left the house).
This very blustery first day of fall (at least for the last week before today) was both awful and fantastic at the same time. As are most things, depending on which lens we look through.
There are two phases to this day: the physical day and my day.
It started out with a storm. It wasn’t too loud, at least only marginally louder than my neighbors arguing, which I sometimes hear through the floor or from the street through the open window. For a while, the rain was really coming down, with thunder and lightning abound. But the day got better. It lightened up and eventually stopped raining. The sun even came out for the rest of the day, although it became humid enough to be disgusting.
On the converse, my day did sort of the opposite thing.
Man, I hate when the body doesn’t cooperate with what I’m trying to do—particularly when it’s in a painful manner.
Recently, my right wrist started aching. Nothing too major, I thought. I moved into a new apartment not too long ago, which involved carrying a ton of things, heavy and awkward, among others, up several flights of stairs. It also happened to occur on the two hottest days of the summer. I also had several days spread out during the month to get the rest of my possessions from the storage locker, resulting in a prolonged moving state.
I had also worked on a freelance project for a client during that time, taking up about a week of drawing awkwardly at my badly-constructed desk and chair situation. When the wrist started to hurt, it wasn’t unfeasible to think that I had strained it a little by overworking it. It wasn’t too bad, so I just took it easy for a while, didn’t write or draw, and tried not to do anything too strenuous.
Cue waking up to it aching fiercely the next day.
It’s probably fair to say I’ve loved books all my life: ever since I discovered all the stories they could tell me—and the ones they could inspire within me.
Not that I haven’t had my spans with an absence of reading, because that’s certainly happened many times over the years. But I can say that my life is just better when I’m doing more reading.
Today, while making coffee at work, a customer had on a scent that took me back almost ten years, when I was just out of high school and stumbling through working and going to college classes. It made me think of the books, since that’s where it all began, working in that bookstore. That’s when I developed a work ethic, when I remembered the joy that came with writing.
So I thought of my favorites—or at least, one of them. As well as where I was when I read it.
Diligence has become one of my favorite words lately. Not that I have a lot of the substance myself currently. But I aspire to be more diligent.
Aiming to spell it correctly more often too.
Beyond that, I’ve used the term as the code word for a small “project” I started on while working on moving. I need a new project like I need another monthly bill, but there was no way I could’ve handled doing nothing creative during those chaotic few weeks.
Went to my storage locker to gather some of my couple dozen boxes of books (at least), and although it was after a full day at work, I found that I didn’t really mind. It didn’t feel like a bother at all. Which was a little weird, admittedly.
But I’m still excited about the new apartment, so that’s definitely what’s feeding into that still-present euphoria.
The big things, such as more light and space, are definitely important, but it’s the little joys that really make me feel good about the place. Stupid stuff—like having a junk drawer. Like, what? That’s what makes me enjoy going home after work?
It’s such a little detail, but, for me, those tiny facets are usually what make something—anything, including things like stories and art—really enjoyable.
June was a pretty busy month; it turns out July was too.
Configuring my move when my apartment contract was up was the biggest thing. The new stresses at work were manageable, but it was both of those things, plus a bunch of little things combined that really killed time and my creative drive. It’s better now, but there was a lot that had to happen leading up to it. I may feel like I’ve done nothing the last few months, but when I put it down on paper, I know that’s not true.
Let’s backtrack a little.
It’s amazing what the right people can inspire you to do.
I’ve been planning on an update post for a while, once things start calming down. The last few months have been incredibly busy. And I’ll eventually get to that, another day. Tonight, I was spurred into writing action not because I need to summarize my period of lack of everything creative, but instead because there are some great people in my life.
Its important to recognize how much the people around us can impact both our moods and what sorts of actions we take, either creatively or not.
I knew I wasn’t crazy.
In the process of making hardcover books, I’ve run into one major issue—one big thing that keeps bothering me. When gluing the text block end pages to the actual cover, the book doesn’t close nicely.
At first, I cropped my bookbinding problems up to having slightly off measurements despite double checking them. But after making two more books, which had the same exact issue of not closing without severely warping the decorative end pages, I wasn’t convinced that was completely the case. Something just didn’t make sense. And the problem wasn’t just due to tired delirium either.