On Tuesday night I finished my read through and tweak of my seventh contracted manuscript, sent it off to my editor and completed my Art Fact Sheet details on Harlequin's Editorial Resourse System. I woke on Wednesday morning feeling absolutely exhausted. My mind was already buzzing with ideas for my next proposal to create and send to my editor but some wise advice I'd heard about Artist's Dates, combined with a wish to see the movie Atonement (which is so not my dh's kind of film), overtook my driving need to keep the momentum of my work up and saw me indulge in filling the well, finally fulfilling my promise to myself at the beginning of the year to do something nice, just for me, once a month. Okay, so I've kind of slipped on the once a month thing. Better late than not at all, right?
Now Barbara Samuel is one of the best speakers I've ever heard on this subject, especially on the importance of taking care of our writer's muse or, as she and several other awesome best-selling authors call it, "The Girls in the Basement".
I've never been big on spoiling myself, generally it makes me feel guilty or selfish (must be some past life guilt trip to investigate there, LOL!) but on Wednesday I did it--I went to see Atonement, and I'm so very glad I did. While the movie didn't have the happy ending my romantic heart loves most of all I never realised the freedom attending a movie on my own could give. Now, I'm not a frequent movie goer, although we do watch alot of DVDs at home, but there's something quite decadent about sitting in the Circle Lounge with the leather recliner seats and footstools and watching a film with the lush cinematography Atonement delivers. I only wish I'd thought to order a Latte before the movie started.
Note to self: Do that next time :-)
So what did I do after the movie? Well, I went to the beach and had a beach front lunch at a lovely restaurant and gallery and it was fantastic. So what if the weather wasn't great, there was a constant drizzle and the sea was a non-descript grey-green colour, but the bright warm atmosphere of the restaurant was the perfect antidote for any lingering sorrow left as a footprint from the movie, the service was friendly and welcoming and the food was divine.
And now I guess you're asking what I've always asked myself when I've heard of others doing this, "What's the point? Yes, it's lovely to go to a movie and to head out to lunch. So what?" For me I think the point is you're allowed to do it. You're allowed to indulge yourself, to take a day off and reward yourself for a job well done and love every second of it. To refill your well. To actually relax and give your mind a break from the next plot, the next characters, the next awful thing you're going to do to them, even the next meal you have to cook for your family.
Honestly, I felt warm and fuzzy all day. And the day got even better when Bronwyn Jameson drew my attention to the Barnes and Noble website where my February cover for TYCOON'S VALENTINE VENDETTA was up. Colour me totally in love!
So the upshot of this is if you've never indulged in an Artist's Date--DO IT! You owe it to yourself no matter what you do. It doesn't have to be a movie. It could just be a picnic in your favourite place, or a trip to the beauty therapist, or a massage. The thing is, don't put it off. Yes, there are always going to be important things that crop up in your life but if you don't look after yourSELF, and your creativity, there'll be a whole lot less of you to go around when the going gets tough.