If you’re a writer, or an artist in general, it’s imperative that you take care of yourselves from time to time.
I’ve talked about how you could decompress during a busy week, which are the small things you could do every single day to keep your stress levels in check. I’ve also talked about going on a writer’s retreat from time to time to recharge your creativity.
But what about the in-betweens? You might not have the luxury to afford a writing retreat, and you might already have been doing all the decompression methods I’ve talked about, but you still feel burnt out at the end of each week. Take a step back; it’s normal to feel overwhelmed. Calm down. Take a deep breath. We’ve got this.
During these tumultuous times, I find myself gravitating towards the idea of conducting an artist date. To give it more context, here is the official definition of an artist date, according to Julia Cameron, who first proposed this idea.
The Artist Date is a once-weekly, festive, solo expedition to exploreJulia Cameron
something that interests you. The Artist Date need not be overtly
“artistic” — think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the
imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the
play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well
of images and inspiration. When choosing an Artist Date, it is good to ask
yourself, “what sounds fun?” — and then allow yourself to try it.
So as you can see, an artist date is simply a mini writing retreat, so to speak, that I encourage everyone to do every week to recharge. Unlike the decompression methods I’ve talked about, which don’t really break you out of the habit, artist dates allow us to exit our comfort zone and try new things. Moreover, it’s not as time-consuming as a full-blown writing retreat, as you don’t need to stay at another city/country for it to happen.
The idea is simple. Think of whatever entices you as an artist. Try to capture that. Try to surround yourselves with things that pique your interest, at least for a whole day.
Of course, this could differ vastly among artists. For some people, this could mean people-watching at the nearest coffee shop all day, while others might find strolling around art galleries and museums to be far more fascinating.
As a writer myself, I’m naturally attracted to books, but I also love to see urban cityscapes, eat good food, and meeting new people to hear their stories. If you’re a photographer, this could mean getting out of the ordinary and finding new spots to photograph. If you’re an artisan patissier, you might want to do some research and taste test at that new pastry shop in the neighborhood—the possibilities stack up infinitely.
Now, even though an artist date should be personally tailored to each individual artist’s taste and preference, I also think that it’s a good idea to share ideas on how we could go on an artist date.
In fact, most of the things I will list down below are ideas I haven’t tried myself! I highly encourage being adventurous when it comes to going on an artist date. You’ll be surprised at how many new ideas you will get by breaking out of the habit and stepping into the unknown.
So here are 30 ideas to go on your own artist dates. Do with them as you please; follow the idea as is, tweak it to your preference, or ignore them completely. The most important thing is to allow your soul to have fun and experience new things!
- Tour a contemporary arts museum.
- Go people-watching in a cozy cafe.
- Lounge about in a library.
- Purchase an adult coloring book and color as many pictures as you can in one sitting.
- Jog/stroll around your neighborhood in the morning.
- Participate in Car Free Day.
- Pamper yourself by getting a full body massage / spa / nail treatments.
- Go on a city tour with a public transportation.
- Visit an antique store and see what you can find.
- Unplug yourself from the digital world for a day; read books, write longhand, etc. Think of it like a digital detox.
- Attempt to bake cookies or cakes.
- Take a one-day cooking class.
- Attend a seminar (or a digital one!)
- Go on a seasonal event that’s going on at the moment.
- Try fancy coffee & tea at your local artisan tea house / coffee shop.
- Learn calligraphy.
- Take yourself to a movie marathon at the cinema.
- Set a budget for yourself and go on a shopping spree.
- Go on a day trip to neighboring towns and try their local cuisine.
- Pick a book and finish reading it within a day.
- Watch a play, musical, etc.
- Take yourself to a music show (jazz/rock/pop/classics, etc.)
- Prepare and cook your own breakfast, lunch, and dinner by following recipes from a cookbook.
- Call an old friend you haven’t been keeping in touch with, and ask them to hang out with you for the day.
- Find a crafts project idea from Pinterest, and attempt to finish one during the weekend.
- Plan how your next vacation would be like, down to the itinerary and budget.
- Clean your house. Like, really clean your house.
- Go Marie Kondo on your belongings. (This will actually take more than one weekend, depending on how much stuff you have).
- Take Yoga classes.
- Go on a thematic culinary trip (i.e. pizza day, noodle day, etc.)
I will be posting new content every Saturdays, be it writerly stuff, or just things that I like to write about. This includes my own stories, information about my books, and things that interest me. Keep yourself updated by following me on Twitter and Instagram.