“An artist date is a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist. In its most primary form, the artist date is an excursion, a play date that you preplan and defend against all interlopers.” — Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self
If you’ve been following my spiritual spring cleaning journey, you’ll know I’m taking Julia Cameron’s 12-week creativity course, and it’s transformed my creative life in ways I never imagined.
What is an artist date?
The second most important tool for creative recovery is the artist date, a way to pamper your inner creative. Artist dates give our muse permission to play.
Like the morning pages, there is no “wrong” way to do the artist date — unless you invite someone else. The artist date is meant to be a solo excursion.
“You do not take anyone on this artist date but you and your inner artist. That means no lovers, friends, spouses, children — no taggers-on of any stripe,” says Cameron.
Artist dates require time, not money — although you can take yourself on a mini shopping spree if you like. Think notebooks, art supplies, whatever consumables will help you get creative.
Or, you can buy experiences rather than material goods — think entrance fees to national parks and cultural attractions, or, for the big spenders, a writer’s retreat or a weekend away.
Ideas for artist dates
- Color or paint a picture.
- Go window shopping.
- Take a walk in the park.
- Watch a play.
- Play mini-golf.
- Decorate your notebook or bullet journal.
- Venture down a road you’ve never taken before.
- Treat yourself to a movie date at the cinema.
- Upcycle something that’s broken or irreparable.
This list has 100+ ideas for artist dates.
My experience with artist dates
The artist date has indeed become non-negotiable for me. If my inner artist isn’t given time and space to play, she gets cranky. She withdraws from her family and friends. She gets aggravated for no good reason.
That’s why I sometimes treat myself to more than one artist date per week. These usually take the form of long walks and solitary excursions in the nature preserve near my apartment. I find my inner creative thrives best with her boots in the grass and her eyes to the sky. (I truly am a Southern girl at heart.)
This week, I decorated my shiny new writer’s log (which we’ll discuss in a future post).
Last week, I upcycled some old glass jars into super cute pen holders using washi tape and craft rope. The week before, I decluttered my desk and redecorated my home office. The week before that, I spent my Saturday morning coloring a picture.
What will I do next week? I don’t have a clue. But that’s part of what makes artist dates so fun!
Learn more about the morning pages in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self*.
*This is not a paid promotion or an affiliate program. I highly recommend this book because I believe in it wholeheartedly. The advice and exercises within have transformed my writing life and helped me reclaim control of my creativity — that, to me, is worth more than all the money in the world.
Writer, if you could take your inner artist on a date, where would you go? What would you do? Asking for a friend…