Jumpstart Creativity with Artist Dates
The Artist Date concept has been around for way longer than Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way. It’s just that she formalized the phrase. I can’t even remember how long ago I bought the book. I’ll just say a very long time ago. But hey, you don’t have to buy the book to get her two main “creativity tools,” artist dates and morning pages. Back in the way-back-days, I tried to work through the “program” she advocates. I found it to be alot like so many other self-help books — I was interested for the first week or two, then I put the book on one of our shelves and haven’t looked at it since. Or. Maybe I gave it away. Anyway …
Mind you, I don’t do morning pages like I am “supposed” to … but I did them for over a year and ended up with 800 pages of a still-to-be-finished novel. (I will tell you the rest of the novel story some other time.)
Morning pages are just free-writing for a set length of time. The Getting Things Done crowd call these “Brain Dumps.” MPs or BDs work best for me to write at the same time of day for about 20 minutes. Kind of a warmup to my day. My morning pages began as fodder for a fiction tale. These days, they are my everyday journal.
Here’s a quote from Cameron’s book:
“The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly “artistic” — think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask yourself, “what sounds fun?” — and then allow yourself to try it.”~ Julia Cameron
I was totally down with that kind of activity before I’d ever heard of The Artist’s Way. It’s called: “Get-Out-And-DO-Something-Dammit!” I had never considered it something to do formally. I naturally spent time at least 2 or 3 times a week visiting new or familiar places, walking a different way each day, going to galleries and museums, Geez-Just-Playing!, or treating myself to a solitary coffee date.
After I read the book, I made it part of my weekly routine. A date with myself. A creativity appointment. A juice-making, delicious-feeling, fun-starting date. Same thing I’d been doing, but more for-sure-ya-gotta-do-this kindofathing.
Fall back in love with your creative self!
- Many of my blog readers are artists/creatives either full time or part time. Do you sometimes have creative blocks? Or procrastination? Artist dates might help. Stepping away from the computer might help. Getting out of your usual routine might help. You knew that!
- If you don’t consider yourself an artist, maybe you sometimes wish you were living a more creative life. Why not try adding an artist date (or if you prefer, a “creativity date”) to your weekly schedule. Just play! You knew that too.
- But really. Schedule it in or you probably won’t do it.
- You will be amazed at how many fun things you can come up with once you get into dating yourself regularly.
Okay. So what are some things you can do on this lovely-date-with-yourself?
This section of my blog is all about those ideas. I have a giant list in one of my journals of things I have done for my artist-dates. I also have an ancient list on my fridge I once made for a therapy session, of things that make me happy. Same thing. Artist date/Things that make me happy.
Look for a new idea each week here on waterearthwindfire.com. Or. More often. Please contribute your own ideas in the comments. Maybe someday we’ll meet up (accidentally) when we’re both on the same wavelength, in the same place on our artist dates. Love that idea!
Like I wrote above you really don’t need to buy or read the book. Just do it! Get creative thinking of your own ideas.
Weekly artist dates fire up your imagination. Get down and whimsical. Do things totally differently than how you usually do. Let your imagination and your body play. Feed your creative self by filling up the well of ideas. This week, look around your home office, studio or wherever you hang out when you are art-making, and see if there is someplace you can hang a line of ideas. Use anything for the line and clips. Read on for ideas for your idea line.
For an artist date this week, take yourself on a color-hunt with your camera. At a time of year (In Montana, it’s late winter/almost spring) when we crave color, this is a fun exercise in seeing. Check out the list of ideas for a color hunt, whether you have a camera or not.
This week’s artist date idea is to do some yoga. Not just any yoga. Do YOUga. Stretch your body, heart, spirit to stimulate the deep creative well inside.
Here’s Artist Date Idea #6 I love having a world-class art museum in our small city. Without the Holter Museum of Art, there …
Make a Sound Painting. You don’t need paints or brushes or canvas to do this! Feel the sounds you make as if they were shapes and colors and smells and wind or breeze or snow or rain or sunlight. Wassily Kandinsky saw colors and forms when he listened to music. He had an unusual but pretty cool “hidden sense” called synesthesia. Make that happen inside you.
Artist date idea #3 … visit the Archie Bray Foundation and enjoy the artwork located all around the grounds. Explore the resident studios. Take your camera. If you don’t live in Helena Montana explore a local sculpture garden, coop artist studio facility or art school. Check back weekly for more ideas. Add your own, too!
Artist date idea #2 … take your sketchbook and/or camera to a local cemetery and notice details. Here’s a section of weekly artist date ideas for jumpstarting creativity. Get out of the house. Play. Do something fun and different from your usual routine. Do it weekly. Check back weekly for more ideas. Add your own, too!