The Importance of Artist Dates

I first read Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way over ten years ago. In a nutshell, it's a 12-week self-directed course to help you unleash your creativity through deepening your spirituality.

Since then, I've gone through the book approximately three times. There were quite a few exercises that I have never managed to do all of them.

I wasn't too keen on the "Morning Papers" exercise. However, one thing that I have tried to maintain between "run-throughs" is the Artist Date.

What is the Artist Date, you ask? You take your inner child - the budding artist within - on a date. It can be a home activity, such as building a fort out of pillows, sipping hot chocolate and doodling. Or it can be something more elaborate, like a weekend trip somewhere.

It my favourite activity from the book, hands-down. I enjoy the freedom and peace from getting away from reality, even it it's just for a few hours.

With each successive Artist Date come a giddiness from doing something without a care for what the world would think. It is a feeling that stays with you for longer periods of time.

These are some of the Artist Dates that I've enjoyed:

  • visit the Calgary Zoo

  • have a Pajama Day
  • doodle with my Crayola markers
  • make photo cards
  • hang out in a library or bookstore and simply wander
  • window shop in a funky part of town, such as Kensington, Marda Loop or Inglewood
  • visit the Calgary Bird Sanctuary
  • drive out of town, with no set itinerary

Here are some Artist Date ideas from other creatives from The Artist's Way Blog. For more information about the author of The Artist's Way, visit Julia Cameron's website.

What I've found is that these are great activities to break up the routine of ordinary life. They are opportunities to become grounded in a constantly shifting world. Finally, they provide a much needed energy boost during hectic times.

After a retreat at the FCJ Centre (2010). Photo by R-M Arca.