Sometime early this year, I’ve made my decision. This is the year.

I was gonna participate in Inktober.

Now for those who don’t know, Inktober is basically a month-long challenge to draw something with ink for the entire month of October. A lot of the people in the art community participate in this but basically anyone who likes to draw and wants to improve their inking skills are open to participate.

A part of me was excited and determined and all sorts of giddy. But a huge part of me was also skeptical. The moment I made that decision, I’m pretty sure that huge part of me turned around to look at that tiny, energetic, always-quits-halfway part of me thinking, “…Can she even do it?”

Folks, I admit, even I had doubts I could do it. I’m not proud to say that I’ve had a preeetty long track record of endeavors that I started but never finished. *cough*like Friday Fangirling*cough*

But guess what?

I DID IT. I-freakin-did it! I finished Inktober!

It was quite the exhausting month for sure. But more than that, I enjoyed it so so much! And like any experience that I have, I’ve got some great takeaways from participating.

What I Learned from my First Inktober

No one’s Putting Any Pressure on You

That is, no one… except you.

Classic case, isn’t it?

No one was pressuring me to do Inktober every day (although that’s ideal) or to follow the official prompt or to just use ink or whatever. But going through it, I felt like I should do all these things. I felt like I should follow the official prompt or some other prompts, which I did. I actually used four prompts for my Inktober. Four. (I know, I know. Why am I so extra?)

The thing is, this self-inflicted pressure has brought me more stress than Inktober should have brought. And that’s not what the challenge was all about! Sometimes I could get so caught up in the little details and I go down the Everything Has to Be Perfect Rabbit Hole™ and it is so hard to get out. But sometime in the middle of the month, I just decided:

“Screw it. I’ll finish this. But I’m finishing it on my own terms. I want to enjoy this and that’s what I’m gonna do.”

And you know what? That was all the permission I needed. There were days when I don’t have any inspiration to draw or I’m not motivated. I would have to push myself a little bit to catch up on the days I missed but that’s okay! Because I’m having fun. Which brings me to the other takeaway…

Remember to Have Fun!

Inktober was a wonderful platform for me to improve on and get to know my art. There were quick doodles, there were drawings I didn’t like and there were those that I absolutely loved.

And those times I was by my desk, concentrating on every curves and strokes and line? When I was completely present in what I was doing? They were the best part of this whole experience.

These are my top five favorites because I did something new in each of them and that was fun! 😀
PS: I also updated my Portfolio page to add two of these.

I learned so much on where I want my art to go. But also, taking some time in my day to just sit down and draw was… kinda therapeutic.

What I’m trying to say here is: monthly challenges usually have two objectives.

  • To push you into doing something now
  • To have fun while doing it

And we often forget that second one because we’re too caught up trying to achieve the first. So please remember to have fun, okay? <3

There are several more monthly challenges in the next two months before we say goodbye to 2017. There’s the famous NaNoWriMo, the not-so-famous NaBloPoMo… I think there was another art-related Na-Mo for November as well but I forgot what it was hehe

There’s also Blogmas for December! And if you’re participating on any of these, allow me to impart on you some friendly reminders:

<3 No one’s pressuring you to do anything in any particular way. You do you and you do that challenge on your own terms 🙂

<3 Find a challenge buddy! It makes the whole challenge experience easier to endure 🙂 Oh, by the way! Shan from Going with Happy has made an accountability group chat on Twitter for those who’s doing NaNoWriMo.

https://twitter.com/GoingWithHappy/status/925124546444779520

<3 Don’t be afraid to reach out to people if or when you feel burnt out. My inbox is always open, okay? ALWAYS. And I will shower you with encouragements and happy gifs and battery-recharging words (Because you TOTALLY deserve it.)

<3 Have fun! Because it’s going to be stressful, no doubt, but there are always something fun to experience in monthly challenges! 🙂

I wish anyone participating on a November monthly challenge the best of luck!

Remember:

You got this. I believe in you <3

Are you participating on any monthly challenge this month? How about in December? Is anyone even planning their Blogmas posts already? Whatever you’ve got planned, I’m cheering on for you!! Whoop whoop!

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9 thoughts on “My First Inktober + 2 Things I Learned about Monthly Challenges”

  1. I haven’t heard of this challenge before but we must remember to have fun and don’t let the pressure get to use when doing challenges. Your top 5 is really amazing and I love the last one! 🙂 Well done!

    Yiota
    pinkdaisyloves.blogspot.com

  2. Congrats on your first Inktober and thank you for sharing with us! I’ve always wanted to try this, but I admit, using ink always makes me VERY nervous. I know that’s the purpose of the challenge but it still freaks me out! I’m glad you had such a good experience 🙂

  3. First of all, I really admire you and you’re the kind of blogger I aspire to be. Whenever you write stuff like “contact me, my door’s always open” I feel like you’re not just saying that, but that you actually mean it! <3
    Secondly, then I always make the same mistake as you. I always put so much pressure on myself that I usually don't even end up starting these projects, or I end up taking the fun part out of it.
    I don't really draw but I like writing, (or so I tell myself at least), and I've actually considered joining NaNoWriMo but I'm afraid I'll make it too stressful for myself… Any advice for someone who hasn't written in a looong time and would you recommend joining the challenge? 🙂

  4. Omg your drawings are absolutely BEAUTIFUL AND GORGEOUS AND AMAZING ;DSJFA;SKLDJFAS. You’re a queen, Kate. <3 And these are all things I learned from NaNoWriMo! I love that yes, there is a goal of 50K words, or a drawing every day, but no one's forcing you to do it but you. It's really motivational!

  5. I love your drawings! These are so good. My favorite of the bunch is the girl with the plague doctor type mask. They’re all great, though! 😀
    I really wanted to participate in Inktober this year but was trying to get some outlining work done for NaNoWriMo. Next year I’m hoping to participate in both, though! 🙂
    I love your outlook on challenges. It can be easy to let the pressure get to you, so this post is a good reminder to do things on your own terms and have fun with it. Thanks for the wonderful words of advice! <3

  6. It really is frustrating! I really try not to be too hard on myself, but it’s definitely not easy…
    “Just begin”. I really like that. I think the biggest step one can take is to accept that it’s probably not gonna be perfect on the first try, but that doesn’t mean that it was a waste of time or a failure. I think I need to just keep that in mind and then see where it goes 🙂 Thanks a lot for the advice Kate! <3
    And I won't hesitate, I promise

    1. No problem 🙂 And you got that right! Just because it wasn’t perfect the first time, doesn’t mean it was a waste of time. In fact, I honestly think that every experience we have, we carry lessons and insights for the next time ^_^

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