Here’s more on the care and feeding of your writer…..writers empty, particularly on long projects, like novels. Or they empty as they try to balance making a living at something else along with writing. Or they empty as they don’t ever finish a writing project. Or they empty as they mean to but don’t write. Or they empty as they don’t sell or get published. They get dry and used-up feelings. They get flat. They get sad and disheartened.

The artist’s date, a concept created by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way, is an excellent way to make the curious, light- hearted child of your writer remember its smile. It’s a once a week date with yourself, and yourself only, to explore play, old dreams, forgotten curiosities. It a way to fill up the well. You can begin by listing 20 things you used to do that you don’t any more. Or by playing with your alter egos: what would you be if you could have five other lives: a dancer, a baker, a musician, a priest, a father? So you take out skates and go ice skating again or you go to a cathedral and listen to evensong or you sit in a park and watch young children play. You fill, and refilling is a slow process. It’s a correction of what has probably been years of neglect.

You pay attention again to an inner self. You take tiny pieces of forgotten dreams, tiny pieces of forgotten interests, and you do only that tiny piece: walk through art galleries soaking in color; ride the city bus to a place you haven’t explored but always looked interesting from the window; buy crayons and color blank pages or chalk up the sidewalk in front of your house. Paint a room red. Forgotten or long-for hobbies, classes you’d like to take if you had time, silly things you’d do if you dared, these are the closed boxes holding interest and curiosity, two things your writer needs to feel alive.  You recharge your  most tender and creative self with artist’s dates. You show respect when it feels like no one else in the world is.

It’s a daring act to make a continuing play date with your writer. It reopens longing, regret, curiosity, risk. And worst of all, maybe fun.


6 responses to “Care3

  1. Is this best done by oneself or with someone else? Sometimes a feeling of ‘living a dream’ comes over me when the sun is right, the wind is perfect and the place seems magical because of them.. trees that block the sky and make the path seem impossibly narrow.. a secret path … doesn’t really happen enough. why does it happen at all? You always get me thinking, Karleen.

  2. I often thought it would be good to dress in period garb and walk thru Central Park, just being from another time…Your post has rekindled that idea for me.

  3. I want to be in New York’s Central Park on my artist’s date and witness a dancer in period garb walking by. My mind delights in the images!

  4. Doreen, artist’s date is done alone………..

  5. Marian Szczepanski

    LOVE that last line! It reminds me to stop and remember why I write in the first place. Not to drive myself crazy, certainly. Not to take myself and every single word so terribly seriously that it seems like drudgery. But because it brings me a singular joy.

  6. “The Creative Fire” by Clarissa Pinkola Estes……a 2 disc CD…….great listen!

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