Every artist needs to nurture their inner artist child with some one-on-one time now and then. In Julia Cameron’s life-changing and ground-breaking creativity recovery program, The Artist’s Way, she encourages you to make time every week to take yourself and your inner artist on an “artist date,” a handful of hours where you are allowed to just play, listen, and re-fill your creative well. I take this definition to also include not using up your creative resources–as a writer, I do not use this time to work on my professional writing. I may decide to write a letter, or make lists, but I won’t write fiction. This is not a time to produce, but a time to explore and receive.
To problem is, we live in a society that worships productivity and stress, and we will fight very hard against making and taking this time for ourselves. One of the ways the fight comes out is by blocking you from coming up with ideas.
Artist Date Ideas – A Master List
- Be a tourist in your own town; visit the tourism board and see what’s local that you haven’t checked out before (bring a camera!)
- Visit a toy store just to play and remember your old childhood favorites.
- Visit a craft store to see what kinds of creative projects other people are doing, that you might enjoy too.
- See what’s available at a local ethnic grocery store that you might not be familiar with (or that you love and don’t know how to make!)
- Go to the library and take out a few CDs of artists you’ve never listened to, and listen to them while you cook/clean/do yoga/drink tea, etc.
- Listen to some classical music and use crayons to draw what you hear (we used to do this in music class when I was a kid–kind of trippy, huh?)
- Plan a fantasy vacation for yourself, complete with dream accommidations and itinerary. No need to actually go, just get some travel magazines and brochures, and fantasize.
- Visit a music store and play around with some of the instruments available. If you have instruments at home, noodle around a bit and try to teach yourself a few notes or chords, or a new song.
- Paint something in your home–a shelf, a closet, a wall, a room, or the house itself if you’re feeling up to it (and you’re not renting). A change of color can dramatically affect your disposition and give you and your inner artist a sense of freedom.
- Bake or cook something you’ve never made before, especially if you’ve been afraid to try!
- Write a letter to your favorite teacher from elementary, middle, or high school. Send it if you like or if you can.
- Make a gratitude list, something that you can keep adding to over time. Write out the items lovingly, with a favorite pen or marker, on nice paper.
- Make a “bucket list.”
- Go through old magazines and clip out words and images that inspire and intrigue your inner artist. Create an inspiration board.
- Go for a long walk, around your neighborhood, through a park, or some place new to you. Look around, really pay attention to what’s around you.
- Take yourself on a date–dress up, go to dinner, have a glass of wine or a craft beer, and see a movie.
- Visit a local art/history/science museum.
- Do a garden walk, or visit a nearby botanical garden. If neither of those options are available, find the closest nursery and see what’s growing.
- If your city has any architectural salvage yards, spend an hour perusing. There are so many treasures to be found in other people’s trash–that’s why these salvage yards exist!
- Find a cool DIY project on Pinterest and actually do it.
More to come! What are your Artist Date ideas?