I open up the new sketch pad, and the stark white pages taunt me. This little book is literally a blank canvas, waiting for my art, and I haven’t taken the time or had the courage to draw one thing in it in the past three weeks since I bought it.

When my husband and I found ourselves at Barnes and Noble the week after Christmas, I knew I would be taking home a new sketch pad. It’s true that I have several old sketch pads up in my closet, and they all have plenty of blank pages in them. But a new sketch pad seemed like a new commitment to create art. A commitment I thought I was ready to make. And with a $50 gift card in my purse, I had no excuse not to.

I used to call myself an artist, painting with acrylic on canvas and watercolor on paper every few days. But other responsibilities began squeezing out my art, and the time it took each session for getting out the paints, mixing the colors, waiting for the layers to dry, cleaning up brushes, etc. kept me from it on a regular basis. But the art was still in me. And keeping a sketch pad and pencils at hand—that’s easy. So I thought.