A date with an artist

Last week, when I told my husband that I was going on an artist’s date he asked: “Is that a date by yourself, or a date with an artist?”

I’d spoken to him about artist dates before, so he knew the concept, but had forgotten the specifics. At first, I laughed – why would I purposely plan a date with an artist? But then I realised that of course that’s exactly what it is, except that the artist is ME!

Artist’s dates are a concept created by writer and creativity coach Julia Cameron. First introduced in her ground-breaking book The Artist’s Way, they are one of the prime tools she believes you needs, in order to discover and recover your creativity.

Put simply, you go on a date (by yourself) and do something creative, something that feeds your soul. You can walk along the beach and skim stones into the water. Or you can go on a full-on creative retreat with room and board. You can cosy up in bed for an hour with a book, or wander round a fabric store feeling wool, and cotton as though they were precious metals. It’s as big or as small as you like.

For my date, I took myself to an art-house cinema, and sat in a plush chair drinking a glass of red wine, while watching Ingrid Goes West. It was a fabulous film all about Instagram culture, and what’s real and what’s not.

This was a BIG DEAL. Usually, I’m at the multiplex, accompanied by my four-year-old daughter, picking up dropped sweets and toys, and watching a cartoon. I felt ideas bubbling up, and by the end of the date, I knew which direction I wanted to go with my latest piece of writing, and the words flowed out.

I think that sometimes we have to slow down, so that we can speed up. So, if you can carve out the time, the childcare, and (sometimes!) the chutzpah to do it, take yourself off alone and savour the time you get to spend with your inner artist.

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