In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron writes about ‘artist dates’ as one of the basic tools in the life and work of a creative person. Quality time that you spend with yourself – a solitary visit to a museum, the beach, or to watch a movie – pretty much any way to open yourself up to something new that might give you some direction or inspiration.

Before you scoff at me, she even points out that an artist date may appear to be “a non-tool, a diversion”. I mean, when you have a draft due today, it often seems more helpful to stare at your laptop screen than take a walk to explore the neighbourhood or wash the dishes.

What is my point, you ask? That time by yourself is good! Doing something other than what you’re supposed to be doing helps. I’m a big advocate of solo time off. Personally, it’s given me the time to pursue interests and open myself up to myriad experiences.

So give yourself permission to go on a date of one before your artistic resources are entirely depleted. Go watch that play alone, or visit that intriguing new restaurant. You don’t necessarily have to do something completely novel to find some inspiration. Chatting with a friend about something completely unrelated or doing something mind-numbingly boring and repetitive also sometimes triggers a light bulb. At least for me.

If you still need convincing, here’s an old but always very relevant TED Talk that might just do the trick.


P.S. Have a friend that needs some inspiration? Tell them about Just One Thing.