woman sitting on hood of car with coffee watching airplanes

Artist Date Ideas You’ll Actually Want to do

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Looking for artist date ideas? I was, too. But I found a whole bunch of weird, random ideas that I would either never actually want to do, or that didn’t quite work for the idea of an artist date.

When Julia Cameron introduced us to the idea of artist dates, she wanted us to explore something, by ourselves, that would take us out of our everyday routine. You know that feeling when you are on vacation and everything is new; your senses are heightened? That’s what we’re striving for.

An artist date is a block of time, perhaps two hours weekly, especially set aside and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness, your inner artist.

Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

Doesn’t that sound wonderful? When I need to get away from life and tend to my inner creative being, I usually grab a huge iced green tea from Starbucks and drive aimlessly for an hour or so, listening to podcasts.

But there are sooo many fun ideas waiting to jump us out of our routines and introduce some creative newness. Here we go!

(P.S. Before I get into the artist dates, I must warn you that one of them will be to go sit in a coffee shop with a journal. Trite? Yes. Obvious? Yes. Entirely awesome and effective? Yes, yes, yes.)

(P.P.S. It’s #20)

man's legs crossed on ground wearing sneakers in urban area
Photo by Niels Kehl on Unsplash

Artist Date Ideas

  1. Go to the library or bookstore and read a bunch of children’s books.
  2. Buy 5 different pints of Ben & Jerry’s and have an ice cream tasting party while watching a few episodes of Downton Abbey.
  3. Volunteer at an animal shelter, a food pantry, a museum, or a park.
  4. Go to the zoo and take as many photos as possible from weird angles. For instance, only the giraffe’s legs, other people looking at the animals, details from the man-made animal enclosures. Don’t forget an elephant butt.
  5. Write out a list of 200 things you are grateful for – big and small.
  6. Go for a swim – many gyms or YMCAs will give you a day pass to try them out.
  7. Watch or listen to a comedy special.
  8. Buy a large piece of poster board and draw out a family tree. If you loathe your family, make up a new family, or borrow a fictional family.
  9. Fill up 4 large garbage bags – 2 with donation items, and 2 to throw out – while listening to awesomely energetic music.
  10. Visit a bunch of stores near you that you’ve never been to.
  11. Bake 2 brand new (to you) cookie recipes. Or bread.
  12. Order loose leaf teas and create your own flavor blend.
  13. Go to an outdoor concert or music venue and people watch while listening.
  14. Sit in a crowded area and write down bits of conversation you overhear.
  15. Go on a tour of something nearby: architecture, historic home, gardens, museum, graveyards.
  16. Do a wine tasting.
  17. Sit near any body of water and just stare at it while noticing everything around you.
  18. Buy one small, fascinating object at an antique store. If you don’t want to keep it, package it up beautifully and mail it to someone.
  19. Try out an exercise class at a place you’ve never been.
  20. Journal at a bar with a tall beer.
  21. Actively listen to an hour of random Spotify playlists.
  22. Plan and make an entirely new meal (including dessert).
  23. Learn the basics of a new skill through Youtube videos: knitting, harmonica, massage, calligraphy, dancing, kickboxing.
  24. Go play video games at an arcade for an hour (or 6).
  25. Play with Snapchat filters and crack yourself up making videos of yourself.
  26. Find a farmer’s market and buy something you’ve never tried before. Bonus points if you buy flowers to bring home.
  27. Try Geocaching.
  28. Go to a movie, buy popcorn and a drink and candy, sit in the very back row, enjoy.
  29. Bookstore: wander aimlessly and look at only the books where the covers catch your eye (don’t look at the titles first).
  30. Write little uplifting or funny notes and tuck them in areas around town where people will find them.
  31. Take a hike or walk in a brand new area.
  32. Walk around your closest town or city, snapping photos of any small architectural details you like.
  33. Go for a long random drive with a Starbucks iced green tea, while listening to a podcast. Substitute your preferred beverage and audio.
  34. Go try on clothes or shoes you would never normally buy for yourself – either because they are crazy-expensive, or completely not your style.
  35. Watch 5 Ted Talks on completely different topics.
  36. Explore a new neighborhood on a bike.
  37. Listen to part of an audiobook while sitting on a park bench.
  38. Sit outside and arrange leaves, flower petals, sticks, or rocks into patterns.
  39. Spend time at the library browsing every single section.
  40. Watch an older movie and then a remake back-to-back.
  41. Pick berries or apples.
  42. Buy a stack of magazines or thrift store books, cut them up, and make a random collage.
  43. Make a blanket fort and hang out in there reading. (Maybe do this with your magazines before you cut them up.)
  44. Write letters to 2-3 people. Take your time, be thoughtful, and decorate the hell out of the envelopes.
  45. Rearrange the furniture in your entire home.
  46. Go to a candy store and buy $15 worth of chocolates.
  47. Watch a documentary and then look up more about that topic.
  48. Go to a brand new restaurant by yourself.
  49. Sit on your car near an airport and watch airplanes take off and land.
  50. Do an energy-healing session with a professional.
  51. Buy a bird book or plant/tree book and go document your finds.

What do you think? Which of these jumped out that you want to try? I can’t wait to hear about your favorite artist dates, so leave me comments if you try these or have more artist date ideas!

Grab your copy of The Artist’s Way if you’ve been meaning to read it (or gave away your copy years ago like I did.)

Cover photo source: Nellia Kurme on Unsplash

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