Ideas for Artist Dates
If you've been following along, you know that I've been diving deep into The Artist's Way by Julie Cameron.
This is a book for folks who are wanting to connect with their inner artist and take time to develop and nurture their inner creative. She recommends a weekly reading, daily morning journal pages, and artist dates. I've loved doing the morning pages and the readings are definitely intriguing but the hardest thing for me has been the artist dates.
Now don't get me wrong, the idea of taking two hours to myself sounds LOVELY, but with two young kids, a busy home life (we just moved), and owning my own business--the act of taking two hours for myself seems really hard.
I think this is hard for a few reasons. There are so many excuses, but today I'm sharing a little bit about how I'm combatting those excuses! I'll also share my list of artist date ideas with you at the end to act as a springboard for your own artist date ideas.
1. Who has the time?!?!
My biggest problem when starting The Artist's Way was figuring out how I was going to make time. We all have busy lives and the thought of taking two hours out of an already jam-packed work week feels at best luxurious, if not frivolous.
I once had a teacher who said rather than saying "I don't have time for that" say "That's not a priority for me" and that really resonated with me. If something is important to me, I always find a way to make time for it, so what I needed to do was make myself see this as a priority.
Though every week rolls around and each time I think to myself, oh but I have all these other pressing things that need attention -- laundry, birthday presents that need to be bought for toddler parties, dinner prep -- but working on my artistic life is a priority right now and I've committed to this becoming a part of my practice. I have to continually remind myself that THIS IS A PRIORITY!
Solution: Make a mantra for yourself, put a sticky note on the mirror, remind yourself that you have made a commitment to your inner artist.
2. Valuing My Growth As an Artist
I struggle with feeling guilty about taking time for myself and caring for myself. If I was setting up artist dates for a friend, for my husband, for my kids--you can bet your butt that those artist dates would be spectacular, thoughtful, and well planned out. But when it comes to me... each week I go through this song and dance of questioning if I can really afford to take this time for myself. And it is less of a money value thing, because these artist dates don't have to cost anything. It can be as simple as going for a walk, but rather I feel like this is a ME value thing.
Even though I call myself an artist (I even have business cards to prove it!) there are many days that I still feel like I'm not worth this time and care.
Self-confidence and self-worth have been things I've always struggled with and what I love about this journey through the Artist's Way has been that it has allowed me to examine how that comes into play in my artwork.
I won't go into all that right now, because I am still unpacking it and the ideas feel fuzzy around the edges but all this to say is that YOU ARE WORTH IT! Everyone deserves to have an artistic life, everyone is able and worthy to be an artist.
Solution: If you are reading this, it means you must at LEAST be artist curious, so I encourage you to ask yourself the radical question of "what if I took this time" and see where it takes you.
3. Alone with my thoughts
One thing I've always struggled with is unplugging and taking alone time. As an extroverted gal with ADHD, I am always around people or pumping myself full of sensory input like podcasts or audiobooks.
I find that when I'm thinking about these artist dates my first thought is, ohhh that would be so fun to go with this friend or that friend.
While that may be true, I know my girl Renee from Poppy Painting Studio would be the perfect person to go flower picking with, I also need to remember that I need this time to connect with myself and my interior world.
Then I get around to the moment where I'm ready to go on my artist date and I start thinking about what podcast or music I might want to listen to on my stroll, but AGAIN, I need to remember that this is time for me to be alone with my thoughts.
This is a very unfamiliar feeling for me and honestly it has been kind of scary. I've been doing a lot of self work in the vein of radical self acceptance, working through postpartum depression and anxiety, parenthood, becoming body-positive, working on boundaries, and discovering that I have ADHD -- wow, listing it all out like that, no wonder I'm overwhelmed by the thought of two hours of unstructured brain thinking time. But it feels good to allow those thoughts to swim through my head.
Solution: If this feels scary to you, I get it... try taking baby steps. Ease into it with a 10 minute walk with no headphones. Bring them with you if it feels too overwhelming. Do an activity that requires thought, like learning a new skill so that you don't have to both do something by yourself AND simmer on your interior world the entire time.
Maybe you love the alone quiet time. In that case--soak it up, baby! So infrequently do we make time to actually have true restorative alone time, so relish in it!
4. Routine Rut
I find that I have gotten stuck into a routine. I go to the same places and do the same things. Especially after COVID-19, I feel like I've gotten out of the habit of doing new things or exploring new places. When thinking about my artist dates, I try to think of some that feel familiar and some that feel new, so that I can gauge my activity for the week on how adventurous I'm feeling. I've started following a few local accounts so that I can see what's going on in my area. I have a little running list in my phone for when I see a poster or hear about an upcoming event that could be a good Artist Date idea.
Solution: I am a planner so having a bit of time to prepare helps me feel less frantic when it gets down to the end of the week and I realize I haven't had my artist date.
5. Idea Paralysis
There are weeks when I've made the time, I've arranged for child care, I've sorted out my schedule and I'm excited to take some time for ME! And then I get to it and realize that I don't have a plan.
I look at my list and I can't really get beyond the fact that I need to choose something.
Solution: When setting my schedule and intentions for the week, I try to make a plan for my artist date as well. Then I have the whole week to warm up and get excited about the idea.
NO MORE EXCUSES!
Although these excuses come easy, that is why I believe that thwarting these excuses is the most important step. As creatives, working to grow our artistic lives, we must take this time to hone this solitary growing practice.
So, here is a list of some of my artist date ideas. I'd love to hear if you have any more!
- flower cutting farm
- flower press class
- garden store to pick out plants for our new yard
- pottery painting - new deviled egg dish for my watercolor palettes
- walk around the arboretum
- lavender festival
- farmer's market visit
- floral arranging class
- playing with a different medium (watercolor pastels?)
- reading about different colors
- getting coffee and just sitting still
- take a nature walk with my camera
- antique store strolling
- garden walks
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