In the time-honored book, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron has creative people do some tasks every day and every week for twelve weeks, and people often do it long after, many for decades. In this era of screen time busy-ness, it is more important than ever to do such re-creative task. They are pleasant andcan be free - and on top of that, they make us amazingly effective and efficient for the rest of the week.
I’ve taught these workshops over 20 years, and I never tire of the book, the “work” or the camaraderie of a group of like-minded writers, artists, crafters and more who look to make the most of their interests - and their pocketbook. By filling the inspirational well this way, we are more able to do what we need to do, and thrive. I took the workshop in Taos with Julia Cameron herself years ago, with over 100 people, for several days. I thought doing it with the author would be rewarding and it was... but we found out we didn’t need her (and she had said that from the get-go), we just needed each other in our group and to actively participate .
My favorite task of the many we learned is the ‘artist’s date’. It is a weekly requirement for the person to think up a fun thing to do, by oneself and not with another person, but not just think about doing it. The ritual of planning the date and time, doing the deed and then looking back on the date is a powerful, powerful thing, and it builds strength for not only creative endeavors, but also daily life.
The task can be as simple as eating a lush bowl of raspberries on one’s own, or a trip to a museum, gallery, or park... in winter I like to go to a greenhouse or indoor garden, or have lunch, or just tea, and be treated like royalty for a while. The point is to treat oneself with love and respect for the ‘date time’ and enjoy it just for oneself. Yep, you have to make and keep the date or something else will get in there and rob you of the fun and the practical effect. For some, walking the dog is nice, but if it is not a treat that can be cherished, it is not an artist’s date.
This artist’s date turns out to be a powerful and pivotal part of not letting our well run dry. While I am often tempted to make a date with a friend or family, which can also be nice, it doesn’t do the job for filling the creative well of the soul and strengthening us in storing up for the drive and resolve we need for finishing projects. This practice also does another amazing thing: we feel strong, composed, and capable. This translates into a better handling of our day, our creativity and life. And we can do it every week. What a powerful tool to enjoy life more!