Post by Kelly Haworth
Like most people, I’ve been drawing longer than I’ve been able to write. Every Christmas for years I would get an art kit from my grandfather, who had been a watercolor painter in his retirement. I still have the last kit he gave me before he passed away. The kit is mostly unused – colored pencils, watercolors, and oil pastels in a brown wooden suitcase with a clasp. I don’t remember much of what I drew with those kits. What I do remember is girls in frilly dresses or jeans with cut outs – it was the 90’s after all, and I wanted to be a clothes designer when I grew up.
In my early teens I discovered another creative venture – writing. My first story was about a girl who jumped into the book she had been reading and travelled to the 1700’s (obviously because of the fashion) to be with a family that sailed to a tropical island complete with unicorns and magical birds.
For the next ten years, art and writing were delightful hobbies of mine, at which I didn’t think I’d ever be professional, but I still had fun nonetheless. I didn’t become a fashion designer, unfortunately. Instead I worked in a science lab, where I used delicate lab equipment eight hours a day – involving fine hand motions. Within a few months of this, my hands ached so much I stopped drawing. But I could still write. Even after I was promoted to a desk job, still, I just wrote. And even published some novels!
Fast forward to 2018, when my writing career shifted – I pulled my books from their original publisher, and partnered with two other publishers to get the ball rolling again. Simultaneously, my job hit some setbacks which doubled my workload for nine months. The overtime meant my writing had to go on the back burner. By the time I could breathe at work again, I looked at what was left of my writing career – one republished novel, two novellas, and a handful of WIPs, and grimaced.
And the worst part was that I’d try to work on those WIPs and just stare at the blinking curser. Nothing was there. Which made me discouraged, which made it harder to write, etc etc etc.
Besides work on collaborative projects, I haven’t written in over a year.
In October last year, I saw a number of artists participating in an event called inktober. Do one inked sketch per day throughout the month. If I couldn’t write, and if it had been six whole years since I had moved on from the repetitive hand-motion job, maybe I could draw again? So I picked up a sketchbook and an old kit of inking pens, and gave it a try.