Last week I wrote about morning pages, a tool to access one’s creative well and to regain creativity if you have lost sight of it. This is something Julia Cameron describes in her book The Artist’s Way. But just as important, and as part of the creative development, is to replenish that creative well. While morning pages can be look upon as withdrawals from the well of creativity, what Cameron calls the artist date can be looked upon as deposits. Every so often we need to fill up the well with new impulses and give ourselves some nice experiences without having to be creative ourselves.
Cameron writes: «Think of this combination of tools in terms of a radio receiver and transmitter. It’s a two-step, two-directional process: in and then out. Doing your morning pages, you are sending – notifying yourself and the universe of your dreams, dissatisfaction, hopes. Doing your artist date, you are receiving—opening yourself to insight, inspiration, guidance».
The artist’s date is nothing but a treat to yourself. Going to a concert. Enjoying a moment of silence. Going for a walk. Watching a movie. Treating yourself with a nice meal. Visiting an art museum. Doing meditation. The important thing is that is has to be done by you and you only. No friends, no spouse, no kids, no lover, no dog, no colleague is allowed to come along. It’s a date with the artist within you, and only the two or you. Your inner artist needs to be taken out, to be pampered with and listened to. It doesn’t even have to cost anything. If you are running love on money, take a solo trip to the beach, visit a great junk store, make yourself an omelette or watch an old movie. It’s not about money, it is the time commitment that needs to be fulfilled. 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. For both the morning pages and the artist date to work, you need to do it consistently over a longer period. Just as you need to write those three morning pages every day—every day—you need to treat yourself with an artist date every week—every week.
Cameron again: «As artists, we must learn to be self-nourished. We must become alert enough to consciously replenish our creative resources as we draw on them—to restock the trout pond, so to speak».
So go out there and have some fun. And know that it’s only doing good for your creative self. As a matter of fact it’s necessary.
As I am writing this, I realize I haven’t been nourishing my creative self for quite a long time. It’s been a lot of work lately. There has been time off, too, but spent with friends, family and love ones. It’s time to allocate some time for myself—and only for myself. Maybe go to a concert or maybe just take a couple of hours off, buy a cafe latte and sit down by the water contemplating life and what is good about it.