Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, recommends that if you are serious about being a writer you should do two things on a regular basis:
For the purpose of this post I am going to write about the Artists' Date.
Julia believes that you can ‘fill the well’ of inspiration by going out, alone, in silence for just 20 minutes. During this time you will simply ‘pay attention’ and be more mindful of what is going on around you. You will look at things more closely, the brickwork on the house opposite, the way that, in late winter, branches come to life with one, two or even three buds. You will notice that some buds are pointier than others. You will run your hand over the bark of a tree and realise it is smooth as skin or rough as clawmarks on the flesh of prey.
As you wander, you will perhaps get closer to the spirit of William Wordsworth, the poet who wrote Daffodils and see how he believed that nature was the source of all joy. By taking an Artist’s Date you become more mindful. You slow down.
“Wisdom is oftentimes nearer when we stoop than when we soar,” he wrote.
I find that when I consciously take the time to notice things metaphors and similes fall into my lap. The birdsong is a squeaky seesaw. The tiles are small and shiny, like baby teeth.
Taking a walk outside in nature provides me with a huge injection of inspiration as well as the joy Wordsworth speaks of. If I sit in a café I start to make up stories based on the other diners. If I go to an art gallery, I imagine the stories behind the paintings and so on.
When I lived in Norway and it was deepest winter and pouring with rain so I did not want to be outside, I would wander through shopping centres, but still my interest would be piqued. I’d notice the window displays and wonder what it might be like for the mannequins to stand so still and what they might be looking at.
My dear friend, Christine Cooke of Watermill Cottages, where I will be holding the Devon Writing Me-Treat in July, and Anne Rainbow of The Red Editing Pen are now holding regular Artists’ Date meetings under the name of Wednesday Writers. I urge you to attend if you are not too far away.
While I will be conducting Mindful Artists’ Date walks in nature at my Writing Me-Treats in France and Devon.
author, journalist, teacher and poet
'Sharing what I know to help others to grow.'
Jo Parfitt has published 31 books, helped more than 100 authors get into print and more than 1,000 to begin writing. She's an inspiring, compassionate and encouraging teacher.
Jo has run Summertime Publishing since 1997. She has lived abroad for almost 30 years – in France, Dubai, Oman, Norway, the Netherlands, Brunei and Malaysia. She specialises in inspiring others who write about expatriate issues.
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