I stole the idea (and name) of Artist Dates from Julia Cameron in her book THE ARTIST’S WAY, which I cannot recommend highly enough.
Artist Dates connect to my self-payment/rewards in a way, but they come unearned; I don’t have to do anything particular to get one.
Look at it like a romance: when you’re first dating someone, you just want to take them out sometimes. It’s no special occaision, no anniversary, you just want to spend time with this person you’re really into, and you want to do something fun and wild that both of you will enjoy. That’s an artist date, except with just you, and no making out at the end (unless you’re flexible).
Treat your artist like your lover. What does your inner artist most love? What does it lack in it’s life? Fun? Spontaneity? Find out what that lack is, what it needs, and treat it to that.
I used to be very serious about my artist dates and take myself out to The Theater. Which is great. I LOVE theater. But you know what, I got a lot of it in my life. And you know what I don’t have a lot of? Bowling. Or beer. Or Movies seen in the cinema. Or ice cream, or the ocean.
So now I always make sure my artist dates are super special: things I wouldn’t ever normally let myself do, or I go somewhere I’ve never been. And I always aim for Fun. Fun is key. Because frankly your inner artist tends to wring himself out a lot, and work really hard. So when you go on a date, thinking too much or doing something serious? Not what your artist needs.
I recommend weekly or bi-weekly doses.
Take your artist to a movie, or a ball game, or a strip club. Take it somewhere it’ll have a blast. Give it some flowers. And ok, all right, take it home afterwards and make out with it. That’s hot.