The Many Purposes of Ink

I’m a self-proclaimed pen addict, collection all sorts of fountain pens. I had always used them for writing, but then October came.


For those that don’t know, October is also called Inktober by the artsy folk. The challenge is to draw one picture with ink every day for the month. Last year I did it every day, never missing. I incorporated all sorts of variations of watercolor.

This year, I’ve been doing it between writing my current novel and outlining and brainstorming a new one. Since I’m not often equipped with drawing materials, I decided to use what I had on hand – a writing notebook and a fountain pen.

I began to sketch things around me, when last year I was copying sketches of famous artists like Brian Froud and Beatrix Potter. This year I’m finding my style. I’ve done forms of drawing and painting for many years, but I’ve never committed to it as an adult.

So why now? And why am I mentioning this on a blog about writing?

I’m mentioning it because I have to say that I have been more creative with my writing during Inktober than any other month of the year. Even if my drawings aren’t professional quality, they still challenge me to see my world in a different way. To see things as they really are, but then use my interpretation to lay those things on paper.

If you have the opportunity, take a painting or drawing class near you. I have art galleries near me that offer small classes with their artists. You can often take them at community colleges. YouTube is also an option.

No matter what you do, participate in some sort of visual art that involves creating with your hands. This could even be something like knitting, sculpting, woodwork.

If you’re stuck in your writing, or just wanting to be more creative, give the Inktober theory a shot. Every day for a month, draw. You don’t have to commit to large blocks of time. For me, I get up in the morning and journal, do some yoga, then I write for 10 minutes and draw for 10 minutes. I don’t claim to be producing anything of quality, but it opens up my mind for quality writing later.

If anything, Inktober is a great way to ramp up your creativity for National Novel Writing Month in November. I also recommend participating in NaNoWriMo even if you don’t have a book to write. Write short stories. A collection of poems. Edit your current novel. Finish a novel. Just make it a habit to create every day. You don’t have to hit 50,000 words, even if that’s the final goal.

I think the real goal is just to create every day. It changes you.


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