The Artist’s Way: Artist Date

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.

One of my first artist dates: a solo hike to a waterfall.

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!

Go play!

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.

My most recent artist date included a trip to an historic Seattle teahouse at the Panama Hotel.

My most recent artist date included a trip to an historic Seattle tea house at the Panama Hotel.

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.

 

More ideas for artist dates

Artist Date explained by Julia Cameron

101 Artist Date Ideas

52 Ideas for Artist Dates

The Artist’s Way: Morning Pages

This blog post is part of my series on The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. If you missed my earlier posts, start here.

In order to retrieve your creativity, you need to find it.

One of the two basic tools of The Artist’s Way, — a 12-week program created by Julia Cameron for recovering creatives — are morning pages.

What are morning pages?

Basically, morning pages are three pages of stream-of-consciousness longhand writing.  Just write what comes to mind but do it with a pen and paper. No computers allowed. As a dedicated journaler back in my teenage years, I found the idea of morning pages to be familiar and a bit nostalgic. But morning pages are a lot different than the writings of an angst-ridden teen.

The Artist's Way Morning Pages

Morning page notebooks. Putting my daughter’s unused notebooks to good use.

What do I write in morning pages?

To me, morning pages serve a couple of different purposes.

  • Diary. I acknowledge any significant events that may have happened the day before.
  • To-Do List. I clear my mind of any bothersome thoughts or niggling to-do tasks.
  • Gratitude Journal.  I jot down things in my life that I am grateful for. Things that are going well for me as a way to invite more of the good into my life.
  • Affirmation. When I ran of things to say, I write down my favorite affirmations and mantras that I am currently trying to drill down into my consciousness. Repeating these statements in my morning pages really helps them to sink into my brain and begin accepting them as true.

Just three pages

I love that the three-page requirement limits your writing and lets you get on with your day. No need to think about when to stop. Fill 3 pages and you’re done.

Some days I have to dig deep to fill the three pages. Other days, I fill them with ease – my hand-writing even gets smaller if I know I want to get a lot of my chest. Either way, when the three pages are done, I feel a sense of accomplishment. It requires you to be accountable to yourself. No one will check your work or give you a gold star for effort. In fact, Cameron forbids you to share your pages with anyone else. It is meant to be a purge of ideas and thoughts on the surface in order to tap into your inner wisdom.

Already more than a month into daily morning pages, I have only missed one or two days. And sometimes I do them later in the day. I have come to rely on them like a confidante. I love morning pages!

Examples of morning pages

Before I committed to the morning pages, I did a little online research about other people’s process. Of course, as Cameron says in The Artist’s Way, there is no wrong way to do morning pages (as long as you write 3 pages). Every person will have their own way to do them.

Here are a few more examples of morning pages that may give you more clarity on what they are and how they may help you.

Next Time

I will talk about artist dates!

The Artist’s Way: A (re) introduction

Creativity is the natural order of life. Life is energy: pure creative energy. (Basic Principle #1 of The Artist’s Way)

I don’t remember when I first heard about The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. But I know it was definitely back when I didn’t consider myself an artist.

The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

But I tucked it away in my brain. The way you do when something piques your interest and you know it might do you some good, but you don’t take any action. Like hot yoga. Or juicing.

Liz Made Me Do It

Fast-forward to two months ago. I am taking an online “light writing” class taught by the wonderful and brilliant author, transformational life coach, and Oprah columnist, Martha Beck. (An experience worthy of its own blog post or twelve.) During the last class of the course, Martha has soul-bursting conversation with Elizabeth Gilbert (who wrote Eat, Pray, Love and most recently Big Magic) about writing, life and story-telling. When Liz mentions that she couldn’t have written Eat, Pray, Love without The Artist’s Way, I knew I had to dive into this seemingly magical book.

12 Weeks to Creativity

In case you’re not familiar with The Artist’s Way, it is a 12-week program for recovering creatives. Through exercises and activities, it helps writers, artists, painters and makers replace their blocks, fears, procrastination with confidence and productivity. Sound heavenly right?

Heavenly, yes. The Artist’s Way definitely has a spiritual perspective on creativity. Something I shied away from when I first heard about the book and actually leafed through the pages. But having embarked on a spiritual awakening in the past few years myself, it was divine timing that I was able to pick up the book again and read it with a fresh eyes.

Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source. As we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity. (Basic Principle #10)

My Way

As I work my way through The Artist’s Way, I would love to share my experiences with you on the blog. A log of my creative journey. A way to keep accountable and perhaps inspire you to find out more about this program. I will also share snapshots on my Instagram feed.

Are you doing The Artist’s Way? Leave me a comment and let me know how it’s going!

 

NEXT TIME: I will talk about the two basic tools of The Artist’s Way

  1. Morning Pages
  2. Artist Dates