This blog post is part of my series on The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. If you missed my earlier posts, start here.
An artist date is a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, you inner artist. — Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way
What is an artist date?
The second basic tool of The Artist’s Way is the weekly artist date. With the same care you may extend to a romantic date or your child’s play date with a friend, the artist date is a pre-planned excursion that you take every single week. To be clear, this is a solo date. Just you and your inner artist. No friends, spouses, children or significant others allowed.
Cameron warns the reader that one’s “killjoy side” will do anything to get out of committing to an artist date. No money or no time are common excuses. She says this resistance is a fear of intimacy with ourselves.
For me, this tool has proven harder to execute than the morning pages. As a single mom who shares custody with my kids’ dad 50%, I am often alone, left to my own devices. So I feel a bit indulgent to take myself on a date in addition to all the “me time” I get. But this is probably just my resistance talking!
Artist dates are designed to nurture your artist child. With this intention in mind, your creativity will be sparked and inspiration may strike. Choose activities or places that will delight you or intrigue you or spark your curiousity. It can take the form of a long walk on the beach. A leisurely browsing at an antiques store. A trip to the local art museum. Or having a solitary picnic in the park. It could be a trip to the art supply store. Anything your inner artist may enjoy is fair game.
Some artist dates that I have planned include a solo hike on a local trail overlooking a waterfall, a tea house date with my journal and camera by my side and a trip to the local library where I browsed children’s picture books for inspiration.
Sending and receiving
Cameron says that the morning pages combined with the artist date is a two-step process, two-directional process of out then in. Through the morning pages you are sending out your dreams, hopes and discontent. Through artist dates, you are receiving insight, inspiration and guidance.
I love the give and take of that. It is dance you are doing with the Universe. You express what you’re feeling and thinking every day. And through a weekly excursion with yourself, you open up to the creative possibilities which can then inform your creative work. Cameron calls it filling the inner well of your artist.