How to Create a Poetic Writing Date

Here’s how to create a poetic writing date:

STEP 1: Pack a sunhat and an umbrella.

Head out early one weekend morning solo (you must go solo) with pens, paper, journal, and (maybe) a laptop. Also bring a sunhat and an umbrella.

I’m having an adventure writing date at this very moment!

STEP 2 – Destination: totally new.

Go somewhere you have never been before . . . preferably some place within 2 hours of your home (in case you want to return easily again someday). Choose a place you have always been curious to explore.

I’m writing you from Bisbee, Arizona, and these are the happenings of today . . .

STEP 3 – Go phone-free.

As soon as you park, suddenly realize that you’re going phone-free. Airplane-mode that phone, and do not look up any place to go. Start walking.

Find yourself going up and down narrow stairwells past smokers playing guitars outside mining era taverns-turned-breweries, tiny houses turned tipsy turvy, and young skateboarders swirling around under old trees and blue skies, until finally stopping to ask an older couple—transplants from Virginia—where to find their favorite coffee shop, and then wander around several more blocks of twisting stair-filled old town looking for it, until after you spiral down yet another layer, the Virginians find you again, laugh, and kindly point you in the perfect direction.

STEP 4 – Serendipitously find the perfect book/moment/something.

Walk where you wish.

Start walking where they pointed you, but be swooped like a homing pigeon with a tailwind right into a little bookstore. Find yourself immediately face to face with an old friend—a book friend!—an eye level shelf bedecked with the work of a beloved author who wrote a book you didn’t even know, which, when you stand there transfixed while reading an entire chapter, answers for you a question you’ve been carrying for 28 years but, until that moment, didn’t even know you had. Be amazed by this.

STEP 5 – Find your writing nest.

Find your place.

Notice a restaurant with high wooden tables by large windows. Look over the hostess’s shoulder and out the window of the perfect table (with view of both town and mountainside just visible over a vase of yellow freesia), and ask if she’d allow you to stay at that specific table for a long while, and when she smiles and says yes, add, “I’m here to do a little writing,” and feel your heart zing with pleasure that you’ve gifted yourself this day.

STEP 6 – Eat something experimental.

Choose a tasty snack that is both new and at least slightly decadent.

Select onion rings with house-made ancho chili sauce, and remember both the most amazing onion rings you’ve ever eaten in your life (on a singing pilgrimage, onion rings discovered with one of your best friends at the very edge of the Salish Sea) AND the first time you ever knowingly ate (and were delighted by) ancho chili sauce, which happened on handmade black bean burgers at a shamanic retreat in western New Mexico, near the secret Zuni lands where you had recently eloped). Totally enjoy these ancho onion rings! And feel grateful for this cloth napkin, so you don’t ancho-sauce-ify your keyboard while typing these very words.

STEP 7 – Write!