In my post describing the Artist’s Way Morning Pages, I mentioned Julia Cameron also prescribes a second creativity tool, a companion to the morning pages, in her remarkable book, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Creativity. Where the morning pages are a way of expressing yourself and getting focus, this second tool is a way of filling yourself up with creative juice so you have material to work from on an ongoing basis. This important second tool is the Artist’s Date: a weekly appointment you keep with yourself for doing something fun.
The Artist’s Date is Fun!
The point of the exercise is to spend a couple of hours doing something to invigorate your creativity, refuel it, nourish it, feed it, humor it, and otherwise indulge by allowing yourself to play. Seriously!
Quality Time for Creative People
Cameron describes this date as a way to spend quality time with your inner artist self, or your inner artist child, or your inner creative self. As with any parent/child relationship, she insists that quality time together is important: “Your inner artist needs to be taken out, pampered, and listened to.”
Ideas for Artist Dates
What kind of activity? Any kind, as long as it is fun and relaxing to you, something you truly enjoy, and you do it all by yourself. For example, on Artist’s Dates I have gone on long beach walks, strolled through beautiful gardens, shopped for incense by sniffing every type I could find, and treated myself to an Ethiopian lunch of spicy injera and wot eaten without silverware. Cameron suggests activities as disparate as bowling or playing arcade games might fit the bill – it is absolutely up to you!
Don’t Break this Date!
Many of us find it difficult to reserve a couple of hours of time each week for something seemingly so frivolous. Or, somehow, despite our best intentions we allow the time to be encroached upon by other “more important” things we have to do. But in reality, it’s not self-indulgent at all. The Artist’s Date is a necessity.
How Important is the Artist’s Date?
You could consider the Artist’s Date to be “sanity” time or “me” time or just “I need a break” time, or how about a regular play date for grownups. Whatever you call it, as creative people we must replenish our creative reserves, fill the memory bank with experiences, and stimulate the neurons. We must keep putting in richness or we will have nothing left to draw from when it comes time to create. It’s gathering fruitful grist for the creative mill. When I am overdue for a fix, I think of it as feeding the beast.
Ready Set GO!
Each of us will have our own secretly fun things to go and do, and it is important that we schedule time to go and actually do them! What could be your first Artist Date activity? Could you mark it on your calendar?
If not now, when?