Wordplay Wednesday: Make Time for An Artist Date

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            If you are familiar with Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, you know that two practices she recommends are Morning Pages and the Artist Date. While I find both to be beneficial to my work as a writer, Artist Dates are my favorite.

            Basically an Artist’s Date is a date with yourself. The idea is to go somewhere that will help you recharge your creative juices. Cameron calls it “filling the well.”  Writers, artists, and other folks who produce creative work can become easily depleted by their endeavors.  The Artist Date is a way to self-nurture and restore a sense of playfulness to your creative self. The idea is to go alone on a field trip of sorts. It does not matter where you go as long as it is just for fun. No errands or to-do lists allowed.

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             Here are some of my favorite places to go: bookstores, art supply stores, craft stores, flea markets, antique shops, fabric stores, libraries, museums, thrift shops, toy stores, art galleries, or botanical gardens. I set aside a couple of hours and I just wander, browse, and let my imagination roam while I become re-inspired.  It is a highly effective practice and always restores my creative equilibrium.

            I try to do an Artist Date once a week, but admittedly, sometimes my schedule becomes overcrowded. Recently I could feel the restless tension building as I was working on several very different writing projects. I knew I needed an Artist Date to help me get centered again.

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            On Monday I drove to a nearby shopping center, bought myself a large tea at the local bagel shop, and wandered in the craft store for a while. Then I headed to my local indie bookstore, which was my target destination.  I spent a long time meandering through the aisles, dipping into books whose covers called to me.

            It was a slow day in the shop; the quiet murmurs of the employees and the few customers produced a soothing sort of background “music.”  I had several  books in mind that I wanted to purchase. One was out of stock, one prominently displayed, and the other required a bit of a search by one of the diligent booksellers.  I purchased the two I had come in search of plus three more treasures I had found among the shelves.  Yes, I was a bit more self-indulgent to my muse this time than usual, although my lack of self-control in a bookstore is legendary. I excuse this behavior by my assertion that I am supporting the last independent bookstore in the city.  My muse also pointed out I had neglected her for a couple of weeks. I discarded my guilt and carried out a bulging bag of books and renewed energy for my work. Plus, the glorious anticipation of many hours of pleasurable reading ahead.

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            Take yourself on an Artist Date and become reacquainted with your playful inner artist.  Share your Artist Date destinations and adventures. I would love to hear about them!