Ever curious about other people’s creative process, I recently picked up renowned choreographer Twyla Tharp’s book, The Creative Habit: Learn It And Use It For Life. Tharp weaves insight into her own creative process within a very practical guide to honing your own creativity whether you are an artist or a business person. Her philosophy about creativity is in line with my own: creativity takes hard work. Inherent skill is great, but nothing can come of it without hours and hours of work. The creative process is much less romantic than Hollywood would have us all think. Mine includes a lot of shuffling around wearing slippers and a purple bathrobe, a research process that can use more systemization, and talking to people about life the world and everything.
In general, I would say that I have a pretty good grasp on my own process. But The Creative Habit has made me stop and really think about what I do and why. I’ve been surprised at some of my realizations. As I began reading the book I glanced over her exercises with the arrogant thought that those are for business people, not me. But as I read more, she caught me. I’ve decided to go back through and do every one, even the ones that I feel most resistant. Those, in fact, are probably the most important. As I do them, I plan to write about the results.
I highly recommend this book to everyone and anyone, no matter what you do. If you read it (or have read it) please let me know your thoughts, especially if you have tried any of the exercises.
In the meantime, here is an introduction to Twyla Tharp: a conversation with Norma Kamali.