Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Creative Habit - a book review

I cannot recall picking up a book, in the category of self-help, that felt so immediately relevant and useful. Perhaps this is my first of the genre. In any case, Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit may prove a life-changer for me. Yes, this is the Twyla Tharp of dance and choreography fame. I found the book to be an unexpected literary experience, as well as a practical guide to preparing oneself to create. She truly demystifies the concept of creativity as it applies to an array of artistic pursuits.

There are so many gems in this book that I hope to apply to my own life in an effort to better access my own creativity. There is much to gleaned about the hard work of time and resource management and an examination of purpose in our work as well as where we look for validation.

I have gained a better understanding of the importance of ritual in my work. Tharp’s concept of “scratching” offers a new way of viewing the seemingly random exercises we put ourselves through when seeking inspiration and direction with each new endeavor. She quotes Freud, “When inspiration does not come to me, I go halfway to meet it.” There is no room for laziness when it comes to creative ritual.

On the topic of “ruts and grooves”, Tharp explores the value of our failures - the importance of those discarded ideas that lead us to the good stuff. I will revisit this section when I am in the grips of self-doubt and pity because I need to abandon several nights, or weeks, of work. As Ms. Tharp so eloquently conveys, it’s not all for naught.

It’s a book I will re-read again and again. Thank you Ms. Tharp! And thank you, Dan, for gifting me with this worthwhile read, a reference for life.

1 comment:

  1. Ooohh, I have heard about this book a few times now. Someone is telling me something. ;) Maybe it's time I take a peek. Thanks for sharing! :)