February 1

Life can quickly become a never-ending series of obligations and projects to be completed. The strange irony is that as you strive to become more productive, you often become less so. As you squeeze more and more output from your process, it’s easy to neglect the inputs that actually sustain you. So your work increases in quantity but decreases in quality.

Author Julia Cameron suggests scheduling a weekly “artist date” to help you stay inspired, engaged, and outwardly focused. It is a way to fill your well rather than constantly drawing from it. She writes,“In filling the well, think magic. Think delight. Think fun. Do not think duty. Do not do what you should do—spiritual sit-ups like reading a dull but recommended critical text. Do what intrigues you, explore what interests you; think mystery, not mastery.”

Visit someplace that intrigues you. Go into the city and explore. Go sit by a stream in the middle of the woods and just listen. Go for a three-hour drive through the countryside. It doesn’t matter what it is. If it feels “magical” to you, do it. You cannot draw water from an empty well.

By the way, what fills you might be very different from what fills the person next to you. Don’t take your cues from others. Explore your own curiosity.

Schedule a date with your inner artist.

When was the last time you did something that could qualify as an “artist date”? What will you do as an “artist date” this week?

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