The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life By Twyla Tharp
So many people I know are incredibly creative, and yet I often feel like a dud because I can’t seem to plug into my creative side as much as I would like. Twyla Tharp is a famous choreographer. While you may not know her name, you have probably seen her dances as she has created more than 130 of them from the Joffrey Ballet to London’s Royal Ballet. If anyone knows how to plug in to creativity, she certainly does. And, this book offers some great suggestions on how to plug in and stay there!
“Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits. That’s it in a nutshell.”
Twyla explains that before you can be creative, you have to prepare and the way to prepare is through ritual. The rituals must be “decisive patterns of behavior” and can include anything you do regularly. Her ritual involves: “…rising with the sun, meditating for 30 minutes, journaling, moving, eating by 8am, and creating.” Creative genius, she explains, comes from “Discipline + Work Ethic.”
“Even Mozart, with all his innate gifts, his passion for music, and his father’s devoted tutelage, needed to get twenty-four youthful symphonies under his belt before he composed something enduring with number twenty-five. If art is the bridge between what you see in your mind and what the world sees, then skill is how you build that bridge.”
You may be surprised to learn that Twyla suggests “copying the greats.” As she puts it, “Traveling the paths of greatness, even in someone else’s footprints, is a vital means to acquiring skill.” Master what the greats do, and develop your own talent in the process. She also highly recommends reading as a means of opening your mind….
“I read transactionally: How can I use this? It’s not enough for me to read a book. I have to own it. I circle sentences I like and connect them with arrows to other useful sentences. I draw stars and exclamation points on every good page, to the point where the book is almost unreadable. By writing all over the pages, i transform the author’s work into my book – and mine alone.”
There are many wisdoms in this book that can help you create the creative life you want to live. She explains how important it is to exercise/move so that your body is not sedentary. She says we must be prepared to be lucky; we need to practice in order to maintain our skills; and that we must have both passion and skill. It’s a great book with many insights from a top creative. If you’re looking to embrace or expand your creativity, this is a “must-read.”
“No matter what system you use, I recommend having a goal and putting it in writing.”