101 Artist’s Date Ideas.

  1. Visit an artist’s supply shop.
  2. Spend some time outdoors with your journal, sketchbook, craft supplies, etc.
  3. Go for a walk, and take your camera with you to document the experience.
  4. Stop by the library, and check out some CDs.
  5. Set a timer, and spend an hour working on something you’ve been putting off.
  6. Create an artist’s workspace in your home.
  7. See an Oscar-nominated movie or a foreign film.
  8. If you don’t have an artist’s blog, start one.
  9. Visit a “creative” shop that has nothing to do with what you actually do–an art supply store, a fabric shop, a music store.
  10. Grab a stack of magazines, and clip whatever looks interesting or cool to create your own inspiration board.
  11. Support the local arts scene. Go to a local festival, music event, art show, play, museum exhibit, etc.
  12. Plant something. Start your own herb garden. Butterfly garden. Plant a tomato or some bulbs. Try a “guerilla garden,” and scatter seeds randomly somewhere to see what grows.
  13. Spend an hour going through your books. Pick ten to read or re-read and ten to donate to charity.
  14. Go to a thrift store. Give yourself 5$ to spend and find something really great that you can do something creative with.
  15. Take a walk on a nature trail. Take your camera.
  16. Write a letter – longhand, on pretty paper – to an old friend.
  17. Give yourself a beauty treatment – a cuticle treatment, a foot soak, exfoliation, hot oil treat, etc.
  18. Go sit at the pond and play in your sketchbook.
  19. Visit all of your childhood playhouse and fort sites.
  20. Sit in the driveway and make designs with pretty rocks. Sing campfire songs.
  21. Sit in the porch-swing and lean your head back as far as you can and look up at the tree branches backward. Think of as many Shakespearean poems as you can while you are doing this.
  22. Send a care package to your best friend or to a family member… just because. Take time and care to put loving and thoughtful things into it. Be creative. Make things. Be as careful with the packaging as you are with what you actually put into it. Include notes and loving sentiments. Get as much from it as they will in receiving it.
  23. Go to Home Depot with 10$ in your pocket. See what cool things you can find there to create and art project with that 10$ (only). Go crazy.
  24. Wine and dine yourself… go to dinner and a movie.
  25. Choose a fantasy mentor. Take time to read their books, watch their videos, learn about their life as an artist. Let them inspire you.
  26. Go cloud watching.
  27. Spend some time browsing around Etsy.com and create a Favorites list – a list of items there that speak to you on a creative level – to refer back to and be creatively inspired by.
  28. As a follow-up, contact some of the artists that created items from your list. Tell them that you admire their work; inquire about their technique; start a conversation. There is nothing better than being in contact with and becoming friends with fellow creatives.
  29. Try an all-day drawing marathon. Wherever you are, take your journal or sketchbook and start drawing. You could participate in a SketchCrawl event: http://www.sketchcrawl.com/
  30. Take yourself on a culinary artist date, and try a new cuisine, recipe, restaurant, fruit, vegetable, etc.
  31. Create a self-portrait.
  32. Take a walk with someone else’s iPod. Expose yourself to new music.
  33. Move your body. Try Tai Chi, Pilates, yoga, bellydancing, etc.
  34. Spend a day naked.
  35. Write a poem.
  36. Plan a road trip.
  37. Write a letter to the person you plan to be in ten years.
  38. Write a letter to your parents. Tell them what you are grateful to them for. Send it.
  39. Go to the library and find a book on a topic that you know very little about but that looks very fascinating to you. Check it out. Read it.
  40. Schedule your yearly check-up appointments (eyes, teeth, physical, girl parts, etc.)
  41. Take a self-portrait everyday for a week.
  42. Have a massage or a facial.
  43. Take a creativity course at the local community college or community center.
  44. Go to an estate sale or a yard sale.
  45. Garden.
  46. Watch a movie you’ve always thought you’d hate.
  47. Make a list of one hundred things you love about yourself.
  48. Make a list of one hundred things that make you happy.
  49. Mix a CD of songs that inspire you.
  50. Mix a CD of songs that you’ve never heard before, that you simply like the titles of.
  51. Find a fun, new creative blog to read.
  52. Have a complete day of silence.
  53. Have a technology-free day.
  54. Watch a movie with the subtitles on.
  55. Write a Love List.
  56. Color a mandala (Thanks Abby!)  Get one here or here.
  57. Cook from scratch.
  58. Have a silent day.
  59. Take a day and go to a neighboring town and poke around.
  60. Go to a local market.
  61. Go to a u-pick farm.
  62. Go for a walk around the neighborhood.
  63. Create an accomplishment board
  64. Create a vision board.
  65. Make a “bucket list”.
  66. Make a list of things you want to do before Christmas.
  67. Make a list of thirty things you’d like to do before your next birthday.
  68. Organize your closet.
  69. Create a piece of artwork entirely with things from your recycle bin.
  70. Get a hammock.  Lie in it often.
  71. Go for a bike ride.
  72. Blare your favorite music while baking something delicious.
  73. Fly a kite.
  74. Take a hike (literally).
  75. Read a children’s book.
  76. Read poetry aloud… to yourself.
  77. Visit a plant nursery and plan your dream garden in your mind.
  78. Take a day for yourself, rent all the movies that your favorite actor or actress made and watch them.
  79. Go somewhere you haven’t been since you were a child.
  80. Drive.  Aimlessly.
  81. Give yourself five dollars to spend on items to use for an art project at a dollar store.  See how far you can stretch it.
  82. Walk the historical part of your town and make architectural sketches.
  83. Take yourself on a picnic to the park.  (Dogs can go too.)
  84. Go to a free museum.
  85. Create an account at Pinterest.  Mark pictures that inspire you and make you want to create.
  86. Create a Look Book.
  87. Take an hour and have tea.  Use your nice dishes, including the creamer.
  88. People watch.
  89. Collect fall leaves and then take photos of them in whatever neat compositions you can.
  90. Read an old journal.
  91. Watch a documentary (or read a biography) on your favorite artist.
  92. Finger paint.
  93. Take a walk around your town looking for heart-shaped objects (or any shape).  Take photos.
  94. Buy a box of 64 crayons and a coloring book.  Have fun!
  95. Go to an old graveyard.  Stay long enough to get spooked.  Notice all that’st there while you are there.
  96. Play tourist in your own town.  Visit the local tourism office and see what you might not have known before.
  97. Go to the hardware store.  Create an art piece with items on bought there.
  98. Play at a park.  Swing.  Slide.  Hang from monkey bars.
  99. Go to a cafe and write out any of the “bonus exercises” in TAW.
  100. Carve out an hour and write notes, letters and cards to those you love.  Mail them.
  101. Go to a pet store or shelter and play with or exercise the animals that are waiting for good homes.

(Some of these on the list may be similar to one another or repeats.  I didn’t go back and check for redundancy.  If they are shown twice, that just means they are really good!)

Name five (or more) Artist’s Date ideas to be added to our list.

Skepticism & Attention.

Have you ever gotten in your own way?  I think we all have at one time or another.  So often we think we know best when what we really need is to let synchronicity take over. 

Ah, synchronicity.  Such a great word.

It takes awhile to get the hang of synchronicity but it is a wonderful thing when you do.  You have to want it, recognize it, believe in it, trust that it will happen.  The thing is… we don’t always have to micromanage things.  Micromanaging usually equals stressing out and fretting.  That is a waste of time and energy.  Make efforts toward your creativity, do your pages, your artist’s dates, etc. but don’t stress out.  Trust that these actions and your intention will set the Universe into motion to work on your behalf.  And when it does, TAKE IT!  Go with it!  Be thankful for it!

Sometimes we really do just have to let go and believe in ourselves and that things will happen as they should. 

Of course, to realize this is happening, we must PAY ATTENTION!  Like Cameron’s Grandmother, we have to pay attention to the nuances in life because often that is exactly where changes are taking place.

Have you ever missed an opportunity that you now see was the Universe working in your favor?

What would you like to pay more attention to?

Do you believe in and pay attention to synchronicity?  (A good practice is to keep up with instances of synchronicity in a journal.  The more you notice it, the more it will happen.)

List ten tiny changes you’d like to make for yourself, from small things to big things.  Ex. “I would like to_________.”

Week 2: Crazymakers!

“Poisonous playmates” can be hard to recognize, but crazymakers … we know EXACTLY who they are:

•The brother who announces that he’s not traveling for the holidays, so everyone has to come to his house.

•The co-worker who greets you by saying she thinks the boss is mad at you.

•The friend who invites you to an expensive restaurant and sticks you with the bill.

•The overbearing grandmother who plans your child’s birthday party – at your house – without asking you.

•The significant other who blames you for his or her lack of success.

WHY do you put up with your crazymaker’s behavior? Because she’s your sister? Because you’ve been friends since high school? Because “he’s an artist”?

In TAW, Julia argues that we put up with crazymakers, because they help us stay blocked. The energy we spend on dealing with them is energy we don’t have to put into our creative lives.

*** Have you identified any crazymakers in your life? How are you planning to handle them? ***

Week 2: Poisonous Playmates

The first time I read the section on poisonous playmates, I thought, “Oh, I don’t have any of those.”

Who would be trying to sabotage me?

That’s just crazy.

But think about whether any of the following scenarios sound a little too familiar:

1. You sit down to do something creative, and your significant other says, “You’re going to work on that? I thought we were going to watch ‘Sons of Anarchy’ together.”

2. You tell your mom that you’ve started to paint, and she says, “Do you remember how good Kim was in high school? She could paint anything, and now she works at the dentist’s office. Just goes to show …”

3. You’ve been listening to your best friend complain about her life for 30 minutes. When you suggest that she should find a creative outlet or try writing Morning Pages, she tells you that you’re “different.” And she doesn’t mean it as a compliment.

When we’re blocked, it’s easy to set our creative needs aside and be what other people “need” us to be. Who wants to deal with the guilt-tripping and the judgment? We don’t want to be accused of being selfish or not having time for other people. Selfish people are bad people, right?

So, we choose to nurture other people instead of ourselves.

But, let’s play “What If…”

WHAT IF claiming some creative time for yourself helps bring some of the spark and mystery back into your marriage?

WHAT IF your creative risk-taking inspires your mom to start playing the piano again – even if she’s “not as good” as the woman at church?

WHAT IF your best friend starts to realize that if you can be “different” and find happiness, she can, too?

Far from being selfish, nurturing ourselves could be the greatest thing we do for the other people in our lives.

***In TAW, Julia suggests that we “draw a sacred circle” around our recovery and not let other people derail us. Do you have a “poisonous playmate” or two in your life? What are you doing to protect your creative recovery from being derailed by them?***





Week ONE Check-In.

How did you go this week?

  • Did you do morning pages? How did you feel about this exercise?
  • What about your artist date?
  • Did you have any issues this week relating to the course?
  • Have you set your “course goal” yet?  What is it?
  • Did you do any of the bonus exercises?  If so, which ones?  Any discoveries there?

Feel free to let us know your breakthroughs, thoughts or disconnects.  If you have blogged about TAW, please share the link.  However, if you ever feel like you want to keep your work to yourself, that is FINE too!  Remember… this is YOUR journey!

Have a look at the picture (source unknown) at the top of this post.  What will YOU give yourself permission for?

I recently came across a blog called Finding Me In France.  It is about a woman who became a doctor to please everyone around her.  She wanted to write but pushed that desire to the side to become what she “should” be, what people expected her to be.  She practiced as a doctor for many years until one day, late at night, she had a come-to-Jesus of sorts with herself and realized that what her soul needed then and had always needed was to write and be in France.

It probably isn’t easy to up and move to France.  The point is that it is fairly common to ignore what our creative spirits want and go with what society wants.  It often comes to a point to where we don’t even remember what creative pursuits we longed for so.  It is at that point that our spirits need us to remember the most.

The good news is that there are people – the members of this group! – who want you to listen to and follow that creative spirit’s voice inside you.  It is still there, I promise.  No one here is suggesting that you up and quit your job and move to France but we are suggesting that you start actively listening to the natural creative tendencies you have.

So tell us…

What did you dream of when you were younger?

What caused you to push that dream to the side?

What core negatives have you been told, told yourself or believed?

What affirmations will make a difference for you?

BONUS:  If you had five other lives to lead, what would you do in each of them?


Basic Principles

  1. Creativity is the natural order of life.  Life is energy: pure creative energy.
  2. There is an underlying, in-dwelling creative force infusing all of life – including ourselves.
  3. When we open ourselves to our creativity, we open ourselves to the creator’s creativity within us and our lives.
  4. We are, ourselves, creations.  And we, in turn, are meant to continue creativity by being creative ourselves.
  5. Creativity is God’s gift to us.  Using our creativity is our gift back to God.
  6. The refusal to be creative is self-will and is counter to our true nature.
  7. When we open ourselves to exploring our creativity, we open ourselves to God: good orderly direction.
  8. As we open our creative channel to the creator, many gentle but powerful changes are to be expected.
  9. It is safe to open ourselves up to greater and greater creativity.
  10. Our creative dreams and yearnings come from a divine source.  As we move toward our dreams, we move toward our divinity.   {Basic Principles, page 3}

In reading through the comments left on the first post and on the Facebook page, I see that many of you have started TAW but never finished it.

Welcome to my world.

Before beginning this group the first time, I had also never finished it. And, to an extent, it took some processing even after the first group go-around to really “get it”.

Get what, you ask?  Get that this is all an effort to move us toward creativity, toward effortless creativity. And that shouldn’t take so much effort. Of course this program takes a commitment but don’t fall into the trap of being so hard on yourself with it that you get nothing out of it.

Creativity should not drudgery.

My point here is that if you feel a sense of dread when you think about any of the principles in this program, it likely won’t work. Nothing is set in stone so shake it up a bit!

For an example, I don’t like the thought of Morning Pages. I often cannot get to them in the morning, my hand starts hurting after one page of longhand and then I start feeling like I’m totally failing at the WHOLE program because I am not the greatest at Morning Pages.

So, I journal. As simple as that. I journal. Not necessarily in the morning, not necessarily three pages and not necessarily hand written. But, I get what’s in my head out and onto paper and that is really the most important lesson in Morning Pages, I think. And many times, I end up writing in my journal several times a day and far more than my mandatory three pages.

Since playing around with what works for me I’ve stuck with it long after TAW ended. And that is important.

There is another lesson to be learned in this as well: Pay attention to what your gut reaction is, to what your deepest self is saying to you about this whole process and, through that, about your creativity.

You may very well feel like you SHOULD do Morning Pages in exactly the way Cameron says.  However, if your initial reaction is dread, maybe it would help to look for alternate methods.

Just remember: SHOULDS block creativity. Not to mention that they are not terribly pleasant.

This program – the Morning Pages, Artist’s Dates and all the other exercises we will come to – are not written in stone.  They are suggestions that have worked for others that should be incorporated into your life in a creative manner. See? This program is an exercise in creativity!

And, whether you are a bit dreadful of Morning Pages or not, invest in a nice journal, a blank book that lifts your spirits a bit when you catch a glimpse of it. Not only will it be more fun to write your pages but it will be a great place to hold all your TAW discoveries and lists of Artist’s Dates you want to take yourself on.

Tonight, read over Chapter One and pay attention to your gut reaction to things this program might entail. Feel free to try them as they are, of course, but also be open to adjusting them to your needs and lifestyle.

Creativity should be liberating, not ever restraining.

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.  ~ Mary Lou Cook

QUESTION:  How do you feel about the two main tenets of TAW (pages and artist’s dates)?


Living more creative lives has always been a favorite topic for us – Karen Beth, an Etsy entrepreneur and publisher of This is what a vegetarian eats, and Rebecca, a freelance writer and publisher of Ezra Pound Cake.

That’s probably because we WEREN’T living creative lives when we met.

We “met” on an online message board for people who wanted to make life changes. Most people posted about why they couldn’t change anything. We were definitely the brainstormers. It didn’t take long for us to get frustrated with the board and start e-mailing ideas to each other.

Two years ago, we started a blog on this site and invited people to read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way with us and discuss the book.

It was inspiring.

As a result, we’ve both built creative lives. We’ve changed careers, started our own businesses, moved to different cities, blogged, painted, cooked, photographed, made vision boards, journaled, taken classes and tried new things.

And we can’t wait to take on The Artist’s Way with you!

But first, there are two or three things you should know:

1. This is totally free. There’s no joining fee. You’re not even required to buy the book to participate in the group. We just want to see you here.

2. We are not affiliated with the official The Artist’s Way program or Julia Cameron in any way. We simply use the book as a springboard for discussion. How much (or how little) you follow the TAW program is completely up to you.

For example, the book emphasizes the importance of Morning Pages. If MPs just aren’t for you, that’s fine by us, but we do recommend finding the right creative daily ritual for you – whether that’s journaling, sketching, painting, playing music, reading, meditating, cooking, crafting, dancing. You could even mix them up. It’s the daily commitment that’s important.


The Artist’s Way (aka TAW) has a 12-week format, so we’ll complete the book just before the start of the new year. Think about what you’d like to accomplish in these three months.

Do you want to …

•Get comfortable with calling yourself a creative person?

•Start a creative project that you’ve been putting off?

•Find your passion?

•Figure out the next step on your creative path?

•Get out of your rut?

•Be more confident or productive?

•Start or finish creating a book, jewelery line, painting, costume, quilt, piñata, sculpture, song or script? Open an Etsy store? Take a knitting class? Make a sculpted cake? Plan a garden? Start a party planning business?

You’ll get the most out of this group if you pick a goal for yourself and let us support you in accomplishing it.

We’ll start discussing the “Basic Principles” and the ideas in “Week 1: Recovering a Sense of Safety” on Monday, Oct. 4.

Until then, we’d like for you to introduce yourself and tell us your goal for this experience.

You can do that in the comments section of this blog, or visit our group Facebook page, go to the “Discussions Section,” and introduce yourself there.

We can’t wait to get started! Looking forward to hearing from all of you.

The Artist’s Way Blog NEWS

We have created a Facebook page for the participants of this blog.  Please become a “fan” and interact with others in this group!

Also, we have been asked what the cost is to be in this group.  The answer is… NOT A THING!  It is totally free!  You will read the posts that we make here, do the exercises in the book on your own, leave check-in comments and hopefully interact with others via comments and the Facebook page.  There is no charge; you get out of it what you put into it.  That is all.

It is FOURTEEN days until our journey begins!  Get your copy of The Artist’s Way, find a pretty journal in which to write your morning pages and start thinking about what you might like to get out of this journey.  Should you have any questions, please comment here and let us know.

If you are seeing this blog for the first time and want to participate, you will need to comment on the October 1, 2010 post to sign up.

Ready for a wild ride?  We are.  See you on October 1.

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.  ~ Andre Gide