Boost your creativity by taking a time out
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Why do I get my best ideas when I’m in the shower?Albert Einstein
Even one of the greatest thinkers ever to have lived didn’t know why his mind did great work when he wasn’t actively thinking.
The Artist’s Date is the second pillar in Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. It’s all about giving your mind some time and space to recuperate and recover, and feed into your creativity.
Think of the mind as being like the engine of your creativity. Which it is! An engine that’s never serviced eventually breaks, right? And we don’t want that now do we.
So let’s learn from what Einstein discovered: that to feed our creativity, to nurture our “creative child” as Julia Cameron calls it, our minds need to rest.
But just what is the “artist’s date”, and how do we go about it?
The idea’s simple: take time out to recharge, refocus, and rest your mind. But although many of us embrace morning pages and feel the benefits of that practice, we can find it difficult to commit to something like an artist’s date.
I know I do.
I think it’s because it doesn’t feel like working.
But that is the point.
Julia Cameron says we should go on an artist’s date once a week, and that it should last around two hours.
Two hours a week.
It’s really not that much when you think about it.
Fun is a key factor. We need to relax. Not feel pressured or as though we’re actively thinking.
Let’s tap into our inner Einstein, eh?
Solitude is important too. No one can go on your artist’s
date with you – apart from your creative child.
We need to be alone to give the mind the space it needs without external inputs.
This date doesn’t have to require a large investment of time or money. It can be simple and inexpensive.
You might explore somewhere new. Venture to a favourite place. Listen to music or just take a walk in nature.
When I have done this kind of thing in the past, I’ve found I like cemeteries. I love looking at the names and the dates and thinking about who those people were, the lives they led and the relationships they had.
And I think about the time during which they were alive, and the world events they would’ve experienced.
I also like taking the bus to Worcester. I can listen to a podcast on the way, visit a bookshop, go to a cafe.
All of this kind of thing feeds our creativity. It’s the conversations we overhear. The people we encounter. The sensory stimulation we’re not even aware of.
All of these external influences and inputs feed the mind, and in turn feed into our work.
So the artist’s date is something I’m going to start doing.
Will you make that commitment with me?
Here’s what we’ve got to do.
Make a list of places we’d like to go on our artist’s dates.
When you’ve made your list, choose one of these places.
When you’ve chosen where you’re going to go, diarise it – state specifically when you will go on this date.
I mean – that’s what you do if you’re going on a date, right?
And self-accountability will help you make sure you actually do it!
Enjoy the date!
I think the important thing is that we give this a go.
I know I certainly need to.
Let me know how you get on when you go on your dates, and where you go. We could compare notes!