“If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play. ~ John Cleese
Yesterday, we looked at the first tool in the Artist’s Way program – The Morning Pages. Did you write your morning pages this morning? How’d it go?
Today, we look at the second basic tool in the program and that is the Artist Date. The great thing about the Artist Date is that it’s never a chore – it’s fun (and if it’s a chore then you’re doing it wrong)!
An Artist Date is a block of time, usually about 2 or 3 hours a week (though it can as long as you want), that you set aside for the sole purpose of nurturing your inner artist. I personally think of this as a play date with myself.
Julia describes the artist date as:
“…an excursion, a play date that you preplan and defend against all interlopers. You do not take anyone on this artist date but you and your inner artist.”
So what this means is that you take yourself out on a date once a week, every week, without exception. Like the Morning Pages, the Artist Date is non-negotiable. Your Artist Date can be something educational but it doesn’t have to be. It can be a long walk in the country, an afternoon on the beach, watching the sunrise or sunset, going to a local music or craft festival, visiting a used bookstore or investigating an ethnic neighborhood that you may not be familiar with. It is a time to be playful, enjoy new experiences and have fun!
There are two main rules regarding The Artist Date:
- The Artist Date must be done solo. That is to say, no friends, lovers, wives, husbands, or partners can accompany you. Bringing someone else along on your Artist Date will cause you to experience the event differently, perhaps even do different things and not listen to your inner voice. This is time only for you.
- Listen to what your inner child/inner artist wants to do! If it tells you that it wants to go down to the lakefront to blow bubbles, then by all means do it. What’s important here is to know that nothing is too silly for an artist date. Allow your inner child to come through and play.
Now you might think that going on an Artist Date once a week will be a piece of cake – and much easier to do than the Morning Pages. I actually found the opposite to be true when I first worked through the program. It’s so easy to blow off the Artist Date – to think of it as unimportant and unessential. It’s way too easy to say, “I don’t have time for that this week.”
But there’s a purpose to this tool and it really is essential to the program.
So make no excuses. Put in on your calendar and make sure that you don’t worm out of it – no matter what. Then, when the date is over, immediately schedule next week’s date.
Below are some ideas for an artist date just to get you started. But pretty much anything goes as long you follow the two rules above. Have fun!
- Free jazz in the park
- Go on a photo shoot
- Go to a museum
- Go to a New Age store and browse Tarot Decks
- Attend a Tarot meetup
- Go to free theater events or free music events
- Go to a craft store
- Go to an antique store
- Go to a thrift store
- Go to a local garden
- Take your journal and go to a coffee shop
- Go for a bike ride
- Go on a motorcycle ride to an pictoresque location
- Go to the zoo
- Browse a bookstore for an afternoon
- Go see a movie (remember – alone!)
- Fly a kite
- Go to a craft show or craft gallery
- Spend an afternoon at the library
- Go to the circus
- Go for a hike on a nature trail
- Lay back and watch the clouds
- Write a letter to a friend
- Sing songs from your childhood
- Go on a road trip
- Eat out at an exotic restaurant
- Unplug from technology for a day
- Go to a pet store and play with the animals
- Volunteer at the Humane Society
- Become a Master Gardener
- Watch a foreign film
- Draw or Sketch
- Grab a towel and head to the beach
- Go see tourist attractions in your own city
- Read children’s books
- Watch a kid’s movie
- Take yourself out to a “dinner & a movie”
- Climb a tree
- Take a creative course at a local community college
- Go to a play
- Go see the current exhibit at your local museum
- Learn French, Spanish, Italian – or whatever
- Take a cooking class
- Bake cookies or a pie
- Start a herb garden
- Try a new type of food
- Visit an old graveyard
- Color in a coloring book
- Go to a parade
- Take a walking tour of your city
Our local theater is showing all eight of the Harry Potter movies, one per week so that was my artist’s date this week. Seeing Harry Potter stimulated the creative part of my brain and I was ready to sit back down at my computer and write stories.
Need additional ideas for your Artist Date? Pull a Tarot card. It’s an excellent way to brainstorm ideas.
Don’t have a copy of The Artist’s Way? Get yours HERE