We’re All in This Together: Artists Dates

Julia Cameron suggests that creative people go on an artist’s date—something to fulfill your creative soul. Is there something you do regularly or some outing/event/field trip you’ve done (maybe even only once) that has refilled your creative energy?

Romelle Broas

Dental hygienist by day, writer by night, mother all the time.

Author of Casey Chameleon and Tummy Monster


I live on the California coast with stunning views and vibrant colors. The California life begs to be experienced outdoors. I do a lot of biking, running, and hiking which allows me to take notice of the little things in life that I would have otherwise ignored if I were busy doing other things. What I love to do is capture the beauty in pictures. I never leave home without my camera. I’m not a professional photographer by any means. I just love to take pictures. Many times the pictures I take provide me with inspiration for stories. They serve as story idea sparkers. It’s an exercise my 4th grade teacher taught me. She would put up a picture on the board and tell me to write the story behind the picture.  My photos definitely keeps my creative soul happy. So when I’m not writing or if I have writer’s block, I will go outside and take a picture of whatever delights me. Here is a picture I took recently. Maybe it’ll spark an idea for you.


Copyright 2014 Romelle Broas

Copyright 2014 Romelle Broas


Vivian Kirkfield

Writer For Children – Reader Forever


Please don’t laugh – every night I have a small bowl of ice cream (to feed my inner child) and a BIG bowl of popcorn (to keep from eating a BIG bowl of ice cream) while I watch a movie or classic TV series with my hubby (to unwind from the day). Simple. Inexpensive. Refreshingly Effective. During the day, I read picture books and visit and comment on blogs and Facebook postings that inspire me when I need to take a break from writing and revising. And now that the weather has blossomed into spring, I’m walking through the countryside every day, listening and looking and finding new picture book stories around every curve in the road.


Donna L Sadd


A trip into the woods always brings my levels to full, but I don’t have much access, so I go with the next best thing…a daily three-mile walk. Though I share this walk with my hubby and two dogs, it’s a meditative time where sneakers hitting the pavement create a rhythm that lets my mind soar. There’s also something extremely powerful in witnessing a sunrise that inspires me and gets the creative juices flowing for the day.

I’m also attending the WOW Writer’s Retreat in July that I hope will supercharge my creativity. It will be my first writer’s retreat!

Alayne Kay Christian

Author of “Butterfly Kisses for Grandma and Grandpa”


Represented by Erzsi Deak, Hen & Ink Literary Studio

For longer getaways, I love road trips (a passenger). I also enjoy a good beach vacation.

For quick creative rejuvenation, I might sit by the fire, or relax in the spa, or go sailing, or sit on the dock by our sailboat. I love the nights at the marina. I like to lie on the dock and stargaze. You can actually see the Milky Way by the lake. I also enjoy time with friends in good conversation and laughter. Spending time in nature always feeds my soul. I am happy to just sit in my yard or take a walk and listen the birds sing. When I really need to get away from it all, I journal, I meditate, or I listen to relaxation/self-hypnosis type of recordings.

Following are the links for the place I buy the recordings and a couple links for specific topics. There are tons of recordings. I think most of the links are for MP3 downloads – those are less expensive. If you can find it on CD, you can probably find it as a download, and if you can find it as a download, you can probably find it as a CD.

This  is the link for the website.

This link is for a great stress/worry/negative feelings release. I have heard this one and like it a lot.

This one is also great for releasing negative emotions. It is called Simply Sailing. I also like this one.

I have not heard this one, but discovered it today. It is for overcoming writer’s block. 

This is a page that has a bunch of creative visualization recordings. I have not heard any of them, but based on descriptions, most of them sound pretty good.

This page has a bunch of recordings for relaxation. I have not heard any of them but based on descriptions, many of them sound pretty good.

This page offers a lot of free stuff. I don’t have any experience with them, but thought “free” why not share.


Marcie Flinchum Atkins

Children’s and YA Writer


One of the things I find frustrating about my season of life is that I feel like I have little time for indulgence. I work full-time, write in the margins of my time, and still want to have time to see my kids. For me, sometimes, artist’s dates feel indulgent. In fact, I wrote a whole post a few years back about how I was an artist date rule-breaker. But after reading these posts, I think it’s important to note that artist’s dates don’t have to be expensive or elaborate or time-consuming. These ladies have given several examples that could be worked into my life.

Something I’ve been doing lately that’s really inspired me is taking trips to different historical sites in Virginia with my daughter. She’s fascinated by history that she’s studying this year. I’m using it as a great excuse to learn a little, get inspired, and maybe get a few writing ideas along the way. I didn’t set out to turn these into artist’s dates. I started to do this because I wanted to spend some time with her and enrich her education. It was a bonus that they turned out to be self-satisfying for my writer soul too.

Montpelier--James and Dolley Madison's home

Montpelier–James and Dolley Madison’s home


Your Artist’s Dates

What do you do for artist’s dates? Simple and inexpensive are fabulous. Tell us in the comments.

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  1. I wander through the local gallery and allow myself tome just to play with my own art materials. Thank you for this post telling me more about these lovely ladies.

  2. I try to go outside with my camera every week to see what is different in the world. But I also like to wander through galleries, like Celia, and lay on my back and watch the sky, like Alayne (though I might be cloud-gazing). A favorite is to visit the art museum or go on a field trip to the zoo – which I’m doing this afternoon; I’m hoping to see the baby otters! And, like Vivian, I do the occasional movie thing because sometimes it’s plain fun to see how a story gets structured visually.

  3. Oh, Vivian, you are a gal after my own heart. You speak my language. You had me at “every night I have a small bowl of ice cream.” Nothing like feeding your inner child to rejuvenate our childrens writer muse.

  4. Great tips everyone! Romelle, I used to take nature photos like crazy, but somehow that slipped away. Thanks for the reminder to buddy up with my camera again. Vivian, I love that as you walk through the countryside you are finding picture book ideas. I am often taken by surprise at how I live my life as a writer – stories are everywhere! Donna, ahhh, nothing like a sunrise or sunset to inspire. I love your line “it’s a meditative time where sneakers hitting the pavement create a rhythm that lets my mind soar” – it put me right there in the woods with you. Marcie, I love how you are building memories with your daughter and nourishing your writer’s soul all at the same time. What a special gift your desire to spend time with your daughter and enrich her education turned out to be.

  5. Marcie, when you posted this topic to us — your regular contributors of WAITT — I made some notes and began my reply, but got distracted. I wish I could say I went off on an artist’s date. I didn’t. But when I do, I also take photos, as Romelle mentioned. I like to try to see things from new perspectives — the cat’s view from his favorite sitting spot on the deck or the underside of blooms in the yard. I like to try to photograph smaller bits of a larger thing. These photos help open up creative energy. I may not write about them, but they help me to write. I also like to visit art shows, as Celia and Sue mentioned. Recently, I took a poetry workshop at an art show where we chose a work of art to inspire a poem. Loved it! And as nearly everyone mentioned, I dive into nature — a drive into the countryside or a walk (and picture taking) from the top of Skinner Mountain here in Western Mass overlooking the Connecticut River and farm land. It certainly sucks the stress right outta me, and the creativity can flow.

    • Carol, yes, nature! It seems to always inspire, doesn’t it? I find myself allowing myself more time for nature when I’m away from home than when I’m at home. I need to make a concerted effort to do more AT home too.

  6. I’m so happy you have continued this series, Marcie! It’s been a joy to participate…sharing my thoughts with the others in our kid lit community. I especially love this question because I am enjoying reading how others rejuvenate…maybe this old dog will learn some new tricks. 🙂 🙂
    Romelle….if someone doesn’t write a picture book about that photo, I’ll be surprised! Donna…hats off to you and your three mile walk…that is inspirational…and best of luck with the WOW retreat…I’ve heard a lot about it and it sound incredible! Alayne…the beach is soothing and invigorating at the same time…what a great place for renewal and inspiration. Thanks for all the music info! Marcie….you are a poet…’write in the margins of my tiem…that is brilliant! And I love your trips to historical sites with your daughter…I used to take Caroline to museums and zoos as special treats of time with mom…and we are still heart-warmingly close with each other. Cecilia…I love your idea of going to galleries and then working with your paints and stuff…I need to start dabbling also. 🙂 Sue and Carol, what a great idea to use your camera and the photos you’ve taken for story inspiration!

    • Yes, Vivian! What I love about everyone’s post is that they gave ideas that anyone can do with little time or money invested. Yet, they can all have a big impact on feeding our creative minds. 🙂


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