You know when you have a really long to-do list, and it feels like there just isn’t enough time?
Or when you run across your art/craft/baking supplies and think “I used to enjoy doing that … but I just can’t get inspired to start it again.”
Or when you start to feel worn down and the world is just seeming gray and routine?
That’s when you need an Artist’s Date with yourself. And that’s just what I did this weekend.
What’s an Artist’s Date?
The concept of an Artist’s Date was created by Julia Cameron, in her classic creativity-unblocking book The Artist’s Way.
Let’s get something clear right away – you do not have to be an artist to take an Artist’s Date.
The idea is to take yourself on a date once per week to “fill the well” of creativity. Here are the rules:
- You must do the activity alone. Having anyone else with you will change your behavior, and you want to get in touch with your inner creative!
- The activity should be fun! Find something that appeals to you and do it.
Why would I want to take an Artist’s Date?
We all deplete our internal creativity, ideas and resources as we go through life. Whether you consider yourself an artist or not, we all have an inner creative that expresses itself in our work, our social lives, our relationships and even in our outlook on life. Over time, we can lose that spark. Life starts to seem routine. Our creativity becomes a bit repetitive (cooking the same meals, doing the same thing at work, or being stuck in a crafting rut.)
An Artist’s Date breaks this cycle and provides inspiration, resources and ideas for the future.
It reconnects you with your inner child and your inner creative.
It helps you see the world as a beginner again – when you notice and experience everything to the fullest.
It takes you away from your routine and puts you in touch with YOU. What do YOU feel like doing, eating, seeing, feeling today?
Here’s Julia Cameron talking about Artist’s Dates, in her own words.
How do I take an Artist’s Date?
Schedule your date in the calendar. It’s important, it’s a date with yourself!
Make sure that you’re alone, and that you’re doing an activity that you’re excited about (or something that pushes you out of your comfort zone… if it seems fun and exciting.)
The obvious Artist’s Date is to go to a museum … but only do this if it actually seems FUN to you! (Don’t go to the museum out of culture guilt like “I should really see this exhibition everyone is talking about, even though I hate Renaissance painting! That is not inspiring your creativity. That’s fulfilling some imaginary duty. Not Artist’s Date material!)
The most important criteria for an Artist’s Date is that it’s FUN.
Some ideas for your Artist’s Date:
- Visit the zoo
- Take a bike ride
- Go for a walk in nature
- Climb a tree
- Go to the seashore, buy an ice cream and play at the penny arcade
- Explore a new part of town
- Visit an outdoor market and try some new foods
- Go on a photo safari
- Spend a few hours trying a completely new type of art – try painting or watercolor or decoupage
- Take yourself out for dinner at a restaurant you’ve wanted to try
- Take your journal to a cafe and people watch
But who has time for an Artist’s Date?! I’m too busy!
I hate to say it, but the moments when you feel WAY too busy are exactly the best time to schedule an Artist’s Date.
Do you have time to watch TV? Then you have time for an Artist’s Date. This small amount of time each week leaves you refreshed, inspired and having more energy for the rest of your life!
I also find that when I feel “swamped” and like I’m barely able to keep up with my To Do list, taking some ME time to get inspired really puts things in perspective. You’ll work much more effectively and feel calmer about it. Really. Trust me on this. Give it a try.
What’s your favorite activity to spark your creativity? Do you make regular dates with yourself – why or why not? Would love to hear your thoughts!