How creative dates can transform your life

Above: From my Vintage Chinoiserie series.

Between work, life, family and ten thousand other commitments, life can end up a blur. As creatives, we can find ourselves depleted of our creative juices – there’s only just so much energy you can spare.

It can be easy to believe you’ve lost your creative mojo.

I don’t believe that for a minute. Creativity is in you, whether you can feel it right now or not. And sometimes it needs a little love and tenderness.

So whether you are an artist, business owner, writer or someone who simply wants to inject more creativity into your life, it’s time to take your creative side out on a date.

What is a creative date?

A creative date is a simply an appointment you make with yourself where you do something that you enjoy which is broadly creative. 

It’s an opportunity to spend time on your own in a creative space.

You might go to an art gallery, take a woodworking class, or build a sandcastle. You could attend a science lecture, go to an origami workshop, or visit the planetarium.

The important thing is that you do it by yourself. This is your date. You decide where to go, how long to stay, and even which souvenirs to buy. You can talk to strangers, ask questions, or stay silent. Take notes, make sketches, or sit and do nothing.

On a creative date, you are not beholden to anyone else or their expectations. When was the last time you felt that freedom?

Why should I go on creative dates?

Before you dismiss this as yet another thing you can’t fit into your day, just remember that it doesn’t have to span hours. Yes, ideally, a creative date would last 60 to 90 minutes and you’d do it once a week or every fortnight… But I believe so strongly in the creative date that I urge you to take action. Even if you can only commit 20 minutes, do it! 

I know how powerful taking time out for yourself can be because it has literally transformed my life. I reached a point where all I was doing was working. I was successful in my career, but I wasn’t fulfilled in my life.

Ever since I made creative dates a priority, I’ve been more energised and more inspired. That creative mojo keeps flowing. It’s easier to solve problems and think laterally. It keeps your creative wheels greased.

Apart from replenishing your creative well, these dates often give you the brainspace you need for some important thinking time. There’s a reason you have your best ideas in the shower. You have stepped away from your computer, your canvas, your workshop and you’re allowing your thoughts to just flow freely.

It’s called divergent thinking. By exposing yourself to new stimuli, you’ll generate completely new and fascinating concepts. That’s the amazing power of creative dates and why it’s important to do them regularly. The more new and interesting things you try, the more ideas you’ll generate. Your creative well will fill up on its own.

How can I do it?

There are millions of ways you can take yourself on a creative date. Yes, there are galleries, libraries, workshops, art classes, botanical gardens, sporting groups. Anything which is novel or which you’ve always wanted to try.

But if you’re unable to make it out to any of those, there’s always the internet! Enrol in an online course, watch YouTube videos, take a webinar, or binge on TED talks. Just make sure it’s something you enjoy! A creative date should never be a chore.

So do yourself a favour. Instead of checking your emails during your lunch break, write out a list of potential creative dates you’d enjoy. On your commute home, think about other places you could be going instead. 

Don’t be tempted to ring your BFF to go with you. This is an important date you need to do on your own. 

Then make this appointment in your diary and stick to it. If you really feel you can’t commit to a weekly date at this point, aim for fortnightly and then reassess in a couple of months. 

Importantly, give yourself permission to take this time for yourself. Your creativity – and your life – will be better for it. 

 

By Valerie Khoo

September 2nd, 2019
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