An Alternative to Valentine’s Day: Date Your Creative Work

This month there is a lot of hubbub about romance—in both welcome and unwelcome ways. It can be tempting to compare your relationship (or lack of) to others and/or drink too much or eat too much sale chocolate. Yuck.

But if you are a writer or any other sort of creative, then I invite you to rethink this month and reconsider February as a perfect time for a romantic encounter with your work.

It’s been 20 years since I first read Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way and first incorporated her idea of the “artist date” into my life. She argues that in order to find your creativity you have to give time and attention to that part of you that does the creating—namely the creative child, who just wants to play. She advocates for once-a-week artist dates with just you and your creative curiosity (nobody else is invited).

But this February I propose to take it a step further: We all know that once you are writing regularly your work can become like a romantic partner, a confidant, a lover and a best friend. And it also wants time alone with you to do what all people in love do: gaze starry eyed at each other, tell stories, listen oh so intently, and of course get back in bed and do some creating (wink). This relationship is so akin to a new romance that when I’m deep into a creative project I will often joke that I have a new boyfriend and his name is Man Uscript.

So this February, why not indulge your creative relationship?
For me this looks like a date to the museum, always with notebook in hand. Or a solo adventure to a new library, maybe a walk in a new direction with my camera, a visit to a new bookstore, antique store, farmer’s market without a shopping list or the symphony (alone of course). I love going to dinner by myself (especially to a restaurant I’ve never been to before) with my notebook open on the table, writing and eating good food. A few times a year I even splurge on a night or a weekend in a hotel or a friend’s empty condo, filling my day with nothing but writing, napping, eating and taking walks.

The romantic possibilities are endless, and you know yourself best, so choose whatever would make your creative self blush and swoon and feel properly spoiled. That is why the dopamine of a new relationship is so addictive—in that phase you are consumed by your love for each other and paying lots of attention to each other. But if you are a writer, you muse is also your most tender lover, your work is your most thrilling relationship. So this February celebrate your creative relationship!