Artwork by Leonid Afremov
I was researching material for my manuscript, well really I was looking at pictures from an area in Nova Scotia that I wanted to print out and put up around my desk to maintain my inspiration. I was reminded of another great tool that Julia Cameron talks about is The Artist Date. You need tools to be an artists, tools that help you with your craft and tools to keep you moving forward.
Photography by Phillip Townsend
What is an artist date? It is a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist. In the most primary form, the artist date is an excursion, a play date that you preplan and defend against all interlopers. You do not take anyone on this artists date but you and your inner artists. ~ Julia Cameron
I have taken may artist dates, sat in cafe after cafe sipping tea, writing and one of my most favorite pass times; people watching. My inner creative child loves to watch other people and wonder, wonder where they came from, where they lives, what they do, are they in love, are they married, single, do they have a family, did someone just die, did they just get married? So many questions my inner child asks and I can sit back and let her ask away.
Your artist is a child. Time with a parent matters more than monies spent. A visit to a great junk store, a solo trip to the beach, an old movie seen alone together, a visit to an aquarium or an art gallery – these costs time, not money. Remember, it is the time commitment that is sacred. ~ Julia Cameron
I recently took my artist out to the beach. After several hours of revisions and writing, I packed up the day pack and headed to the beach for any hour. “One hour, then back to work.” I told myself. I needed time outside with nature, to be in the sunshine, soak in natural vitamin D and just watch the ocean. It was the best time I’ve had in a long time. I was able to watch the beautiful ocean just be there, and people watch. I was in heaven! I did a little reading, closed my eyes to take everything in and just relax. I know you must be thinking, ‘how in the hell do you just do that?” and that’s exactly what you do, you just do it and don’t let anyone or anything get in the way. I walked off the beach one later as I gave myself and I felt rejuvenated, I accomplished something, a goal in mind and now it was over and I could move forward. It felt pretty good to be able to say ‘hey I just fulfilled a goal, I can move on to the next goal.’
Commit yourself to a weekly artist’s date, and then watch your killjoy side try to wriggle out of it. Watch how this sacred time gets easily encroached upon. Watch how the sacred time suddenly includes a third-party. Above all, learn to listen to what your artist child has to say on, and about, these joint expeditions. For example, “Oh, I hate this serious stuff,” your artist may exclaim if your persist in taking it only to grown-up places that are culturally edifying and good for it. A little fun can go a long way toward making your work feel more like play. ~ Julia Cameron
When I went to the beach on my artist date – I packed up my beach bag with the book I’m reading, a note-book and pen (I never leave home without them), bottle water, and sun screen. I got to the beach and settled near a large piece of driftwood, laid out my towel, laid down and soaked in the sun. I did a little reading, a lot of people watching and a mini maps in between. Like I said, it was heaven and I am so grateful to be able to take my artist on a date.
In order to have a real relationship with our creativity, we must take the time and care to cultivate it. Our creativity will use this time to confront us, to confide in us, to bond with us, and to plan. ~ Julia Cameron
I take my creativity seriously, but as the self attack creeps in, I don’t take it as seriously as I know I should be – there are moments that I know I could be working on my craft and I chose to procrastinate by watching another episode of Friends. When I stop myself and take make time for my artist date, the rest of the week falls into place. I am able to focus more on my writing, I race to the page, I want to be submerged in the creativity. When I don’t commit to my artist date, when I don’t pay attention to the child within, that’s when I fall into a rut of procrastination. So, I have to make a list for myself to say “Hey, go and take yourself to the beach, go for that walk you are thinking about, spend time in the library, sip coffee and people watch.” Whatever it maybe, I’m taking myself on a date to make sure that I’m committing to my creativity and it does take work, but when it’s something you love, it never feels like an ounce of work. Isn’t that a great feeling?
How do you commit to your creativity? Are you following the Artist Way by taking yourself out on artist dates? What kind of date would you take your artist on? Where would you go and do? Skies the limit!
Until next time, keep on typing….