Why I'm Making Time For Artist's Dates This Year
Written By Regular Contributor, Emily Scott
I first heard the term “artist date” from Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way.
She writes, “The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to explore something that interests you...Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration.”
Simply put, an artist date is roughly an hour spent to devote time to yourself and your art.
Think of artist dates as self-care for your passions because yes, they need to be looked after too.
Cameron’s description of filling up our inner wells is spot on. All day, all week, we tap into this inner or creative well, drawing gallon-sized buckets of inspiration and ideas. We write, blog, edit photos, engage on social media, plan launches—no wonder we feel “drained” or “burned out.” It’s a lot to ask our creativity to show up 24/7.
Taking time each week for an artist date can help you:
- Allow that inner artist, which Cameron personifies as a child, to play.
- Experiment with new mediums and styles.
- Ask questions.
- Get yourself in a place where you're willing to take risks.
- Give yourself permission to create for the sake of creation (instead of creating for work).
- Explore passion projects.
- Learn new skills.
- Make mistakes without the social media world watching.
One of the most exciting and creative breakthroughs I’ve experienced happened last year when I went on a hike for the first time in years. Within a few hours of returning home, I had purchased canvases, brushes, and paint. I had never been a painter, and wouldn't have considered myself an artist, but just a month after that hike, I had more paintings in my house than I knew what to do with.
At first, it felt strange to be pulled to this medium (I’m a writer, not an artist, after all), but painting has allowed me to express myself in a way words can’t, and is now one of my favorite things to do.
And what still manages to stun me is that I never would have considered painting if I hadn’t gone on that hike—if I hadn’t taken the time for an artist date.
This year, I want to make more time for artist dates.
I’m usually so focused on my to-do list all week long that I forget about “me time” and about “play time.” I know my creative well is thirsty for a refill, and I believe I owe it to myself and my creativity to fill her up.
To make time for weekly artist dates, here’s what I plan to do:
- I will schedule one to two hours into my calendar each Saturday for an artist date (and I’ll treat this appointment like I would any other type of appointment—I’ll show up!)
- I’ll plan out my to-do list in a way that lets me get more done early in the week, so by Saturday, I won’t be too busy playing catch up to enjoy my date.
- And I’ll plan my dates ahead of time so I don’t waste time wondering what I should be doing.
I know I’ll feel happier and more inspired if I take the time to nurture my inner artist each week just like I know artist dates can help kick your creativity into gear. Let’s make 2017 a year for artist dates and cheer our Create Lounge community on as we all strive to fill our creative wells.
Bonus: 20 Artist Date Ideas
- Start a garden
- Buy fresh flowers
- Play in the rain
- Go on a walk or bike ride
- Treat yourself to lunch
- Create a new morning routine
- Learn to make the perfect tea latte
- Start a book club
- Find a new podcast
- Check out a local art show
- Learn a new skill
- Bake a homemade treat for a loved one
- Find your signature scent
- Listen to music you would normally never listen to
- Explore your local library
- Test out your night photography skills
- Draw or paint with your eyes closed
- Spend time with a vision journal
- Write poetry or a short story using real events from the week
- Give yourself a phone-and-computer-free afternoon
Emily Scott is an author, artist, and literature nerd. She writes paranormal fantasy fiction featuring rebellious protagonists dedicated to knocking down their boundaries. Like any good California girl, she loves the beach and believe she should have been born a mermaid.