Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way , is the go-to book for artists and people looking for ways to break out their creative side.
Cameron exhorts us to use two important ways to start our creative journey:
- Daily journaling. Write down whatever comes to mind in three pages as soon as you wake up. This activity unclogs your mind and brings you into creative flow.
- Going on solo or artist’s dates
In this post, we’ll look at what solo dates are and why going on a solo date will help you become a more creative individual.
Solo dates create food for the brain
Creativity is all about connecting the dots of our knowledge and experiences in unusual ways. You need to create new dots regularly to give your brain fuel to work with.
Solo dates are small excursions that you take alone. These excursions can take place around your neighborhood where you discover streets, stores, and other interesting places you haven’t seen before.
You could also venture further and explore a part of your city you haven’t been to.
Today, the current pandemic impacts travel and it’s very important to stay safe. So keep your own safety in mind first. If you can venture outside, look for new and interesting places to visit to stimulate your mind and create new sources of creativity. In this way, solo dates become a way to create ‘food’ for your mind by giving you fresh experiences that take you out of life’s usual routines.
You become more present
On your solo excursion, your goal is to look around you and open yourself up to points of interest.
We often walk past roads, parks, buildings, and more without registering them in any detail.
Start noticing colors, graffiti, store signs, and other expressions of art around you. Yes, even a handwritten piece of text on a blackboard outside a cafe can serve as inspiration.
As you notice images, typography, small art works, or notice the architecture of buildings, you become more present.
This ability to stay in the moment is essential for you to bring out your own creativity. You need to be conscious of impressions and feelings within you to put them on to paper or a digital screen.
Going on solo dates allows you be more aware of your surroundings and live in the moment as opposed to losing yourself in mental storytelling.
Rely on your own resources
The reason why this exercise is a solo one and not with a friend or a partner is because creativity is ultimately a personal activity.
If you’re exploring a new place or visiting a museum with a friend, you’ll be distracted. Instead of delving into your own thoughts and feelings, you’ll be engaged with your partner’s. Remember, don’t check your social media, something that many people would find hard to do. Some 20% of people say they can’t go for even an hour with looking up Facebook or some other platform.
Your solo is a time for you to see the world around you on your own. These experiences make you more familiar and comfortable with the inner processes of your mind. You’re forced to get your own impressions and have your own judgement and conclusions with relation to the world around you.
This is the source of original thought and uncontaminated intuition. By truly seeing the world with your own eyes and engaging your unique thoughts, you’ll build a truly authentic creative work.
Start with a small solo date. Venture into new neighborhoods, visit a different book store, or observe the architecture of a building you’ve passed by a hundred times but never looked at.
Over time and depending on the situation, you could go further afield into more distant and interesting places.
Use these solo dates as opportunities to rejuvenate yourself after a long work week. They are mentally refreshing activities that will make you more attuned to your environment, your inner world, and boost your creativity.
Start your first solo date with a sketch book and a pen this week. Write down or sketch anything that impresses you. Collect things like tickets, brochures or take pictures. With these ingredients, you’ll come up with original and interesting creative projects that celebrate your unique experience.