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Rachel PlattenIn her book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron encourages readers to go on weekly “artist dates,” which are solo outings all about exposing oneself to new creative stimuli. As she describes on her website:

The Artist Date need not be overtly “artistic”– think mischief more than mastery. Artist Dates fire up the imagination. They spark whimsy. They encourage play. Since art is about the play of ideas, they feed our creative work by replenishing our inner well of images and inspiration.

This makes so much sense, this whole notion of feeding our creative muse by soaking in new sights and sounds and smells. But when life gets crazy busy, solo time to replenish and be inspired is often the first thing to go.

Last night I was powerfully reminded of why it’s so important to carve out time for creative inspiration. My friend Lynn had gotten tickets for a small group of friends to hear a show at the Triple Door, an intimate dinner/concert venue in Seattle. I had no idea who Rachel Platten, the headlining musician, was, but I was definitely in for a night out with good friends and good music.

Though I wasn’t solo like on a true “artist date,” I reaped the benefits of being in a creative environment and watching Rachel share her music in a passionate, authentic, joyful way. As I watched Rachel performing, her beaming smile lighting up the whole room, it became overwhelmingly clear to me that we were all witnessing what it looks like to be totally in the flow. Rachel’s songs were full of hopeful lyrics, and her energy was, for lack of a better word, uplifting and inspiring.

Watching her reminded me of what it looks like to speak your truth, to follow your joy, to live it to give it. And for any creative person — whether you’re a writer, an artist, a designer, an entrepreneur — that’s the sweet spot we want to operate from. It’s what’s at the heart of our best work – both what comes from us and what others receive.

So for me, the “artist date” is back on my weekly agenda. When it comes to tapping into personal creativity, it’s the ultimate act of self-care.

How about you? Do you set aside time to be creatively inspired? What’s your method for replenishing the muse?

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Check out one of lovely songs Rachel Platten performed last night, “Nothing Ever Happens.” Seriously. I think you’re going to love it.