Is The Pencil Holding You Back?

by Volta

For the longest time I didn’t know how to begin writing this blog. What do I focus on? Will anyone ever read it? Does it matter if I am inconsistent sometimes?

So many doubts and questions.

But I’ve come to learn that in order to get a little closer to your dream, it is important to just begin.

just begin

Yes, the first draft, the first blog post will probably be terrible (yeah even shitty). It will most likely not be read by many, or nobody at all.

Maybe it will be read by someone other than my husband or cat, and maybe it won’t move them in my intended way.

But at least, to me, it will illustrate my first step towards my journey to creativity and most importantly, sharing and encouraging a creative life to anyone willing to listen.

What it takes to keep A Sketchbook

Something very similar happened to me with keeping a sketchbook. I’ve been admiring people using sketchbooks for years but never quite had the discipline or habit to keep one myself.  Not to mention the fear alone of potentially ruining a beautiful crisp page in a sketchbook that is meant to be filled with genius level things. Before I even began I was already doubting myself and was imposing a mental block that basically claimed that I was not worthy of keeping any sketchbooks at all.

I also would rely on starting my sketches with a pencil, getting stuck on the idea that I had to sketch a landscape or some location. I wanted the images to be cohesive, to tell a story, because that’s what a “good sketchbook” is supposed to be. What I didn’t realize was that I was robbing myself of the pure unadulterated way of just being artistic and yes, imperfect!

Unsatisfied with my sketchbook keeping attempts, I started to wonder what it was that brought me joy with the idea of keeping a sketchbook in the first place, and one answer emerged quite quickly – colors!

I love colors!

Colors make me incredibly happy

Every time I started working on a sketch, the part I was most eager about was getting to use my paints, or  watercolors.

I quickly realized how much I disliked the pencil because it was my barrier that was postponing my happiness. Instead of enjoying the colors right away, I had to make sure the sketch itself was “perfect”, even if the whole point of a sketchbook is to explore with the full permission to be messy.

That’s when I decided to forego the pencil entirely and embrace a brush pen as my contour tool. The side effect of this action, of course,  was that I could no longer erase the first lines of a sketch.

What You Ink Is What You Get

Without the ability to erase  I could either dwell on imperfection of my wobble lines, or proceed to adding bursts of colors into it, to make it my own kind of sketch.

That leap alone  got me hooked on the idea of letting go of the pencil and diving right into my favorite tools to illustrate objects and things just the way I happened to see them.

Sure the lines were wonky, and crazy. Sure the proportion was a (quite) a bit off. But it didn’t matter. My new found freedom brought me so much incredible joy that I simply could care less about the things that once would possess me entirely, resulting in endless sessions of a pencil and eraser battling each other out to exhaustion.

It’s Your Turn To Embrace Your Creativity

Now I’d like to turn to you and invite you to think – what is the metaphorical pencil that has held you back from embarking on the journey to your dream? Is there a conventional step that you could bypass in order to start savoring those things that make you come alive?

For me, embracing the imperfect lines of my absolutely permanent brushpen or fountain pen has enabled me to freely explore the medium of sketchbooks and watercolors, in an entirely safe place where the only judgement was my own and the only judgement that came from myself was that of “oh, you haven’t sketched today” instead of “I can’t believe that’s supposed to be an apple”.

So here I am, despite my better (self-critic’s) judgement, beginning.
Will you join me?

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