new years

Resolutions: The Good, the Bad, and Mine

I’m not a fan of resolutions.

Over the years, I’ve made some of the typical resolutions: eat more healthfully, exercise regularly, get better sleep, put down the iPhone/iPad, etc, etc. And they never stick. Ever.

The fireworks go off, the resolutions are written and then the resolutions are promptly ignored.

The fireworks go off, the resolutions are written and then the resolutions are promptly ignored.

My determination lasts long enough to motivate me to make the list. And then, list happily made, I go back to my regular life.

That’s not to say I’m not a pretty motivated person. It’s just that resolutions never help me get there.

But this year, in the spirit of author Claudia Mills (for the record, I LOVE her blog), I’m going to resolve to do something that seems both good for me AND fun.

I’m going to resolve to do a regular Artist Date.

A photo from my last artist date… in November.

A photo from my last artist date… in November.

The Artist Date idea comes from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, one of my favorite books about creativity. I credit it - and the Artist’s Way class I took with other artists, who ranged from opera singers and painters, to writers and photographers - with helping me stick with writing books long enough (um, about 10 years) to finally publish one.

An Artist Date is something you do by yourself for fun. It can be short (a ten-minute stop at a clock shop or pet store) or long (an all-day drive into the countryside). It can involve anything, from painting an old wooden table to smelling perfumes at the mall, and from trying out a new restaurant to cross-stitching. It’s playful. You don’t do it for a purpose.

Which is probably why these are so darn hard for me. I like productivity and efficiency… to a fault. And guess what? That doesn’t always (or ever) work when it comes to art.


Getting myself to do an artist’s date is like pulling a tooth. I delay, I hem and haw, I find other more useful things to do.

But when I finally do one, it’s magical. It helps me see the world in a new way. And it’s sneakily useful.

Making any sort of art requires you to dip out of your well of experiences, emotions and images, over and over. To continue making art, you need to fill your well back up again. Which is exactly what Artist Dates do.

So, the Artist Date is not only fun, but very important. And I want to do more this year.

Which leads me to the ‘regular’ part.

Technically, you’re supposed to do an Artist Date every week. But I already know this is too much for me. So, I’m going to try for TWENTY this year. And I’m going to keep a list. (It will probably involve pretty markers and stickers for extra motivation.)

We’ve already plunged well into the new year and, not surprisingly, I haven’t done a single artist date yet.

But that’s okay. There’s still plenty of time. And I’m hopeful that once I start and remember how fun Artist Dates are, this will be one resolution I’m happy to complete.

I’ll let you know. And if it doesn’t stick, there’s always next year.