The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

Front Cover
Simon & Schuster, Oct 7, 2003 - Psychology - 243 pages
405 Reviews
Creativity is not a gift from the gods, says Twyla Tharp, bestowed by some divine and mystical spark. It is the product of preparation and effort, and it's within reach of everyone who wants to achieve it. All it takes is the willingness to make creativity a habit, an integral part of your life: In order to be creative, you have to know how to prepare to be creative. In The Creative Habit, Tharp takes the lessons she has learned in her remarkable thirty-five-year career and shares them with you, whatever creative impulses you follow -- whether you are a painter, composer, writer, director, choreographer, or, for that matter, a businessperson working on a deal, a chef developing a new dish, a mother wanting her child to see the world anew.

When Tharp is at a creative dead end, she relies on a lifetime of exercises to help her get out of the rut, and The Creative Habit contains more than thirty of them to ease the fears of anyone facing a blank beginning and to open the mind to new possibilities.

Tharp's exercises are practical and immediately doable -- for the novice or expert. In "Where's Your Pencil?" she reminds us to observe the world -- and get it down on paper. In "Coins and Chaos," she provides the simplest of mental games to restore order and peace. In "Do a Verb," she turns your mind and body into coworkers. In "Build a Bridge to the Next Day," she shows how to clean your cluttered mind overnight.

To Tharp, sustained creativity begins with rituals, self-knowledge, harnessing your memories, and organizing your materials (so no insight is ever lost). Along the way she leads you by the hand through the painful first steps of scratching for ideas, finding the spine of your work, and getting out of ruts into productive grooves. In her creative realm, optimism rules. An empty room, a bare desk, a blank canvas can be energizing, not demoralizing. And in this inventive, encouraging book, Twyla Tharp shows us how to take a deep breath and begin!

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
156
4 stars
150
3 stars
69
2 stars
22
1 star
8

Easy to read, lots of good tips and exercises. - Goodreads
... but it all comes down to one premise... - Goodreads
Wonderful overview on Thyla's take on creativity. - Goodreads
A choreographer's insights into how creativity works. - Goodreads
The prose is marvelous. - Goodreads
Great practical advice on making creativity a habit. - Goodreads

Review: The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

User Review  - Alexis - Goodreads

I've started a new habit. Every night, I read a chapter or two of a book about writing or creativity. I find it really useful and it's a great way for me to learn more. So my latest book is Twyla ... Read full review

Review: The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

User Review  - Stefanie Lindeman - Goodreads

An excellent book. Inspiring and applicable to everyone, not just choreographers or artistic types. Easy to read, but definitely though-provoking. I like that it demystifies creativity and makes it attainable by everyone. Read full review

Contents

Rituals of Preparation
20
Your Creative DNA M
34
Harness Your Memory
61
Copyright

7 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2003)

Twyla Tharp, one of America's greatest choreographers, began her career in 1965, and in the ensuing years has created more than 130 dances for her company as well as for the Joffrey Ballet, the New York City Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, London's Royal Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre. Working to the music of everyone from Bach, Beethoven, and Mozart to Jelly Roll Morton, Frank Sinatra, and Bruce Springsteen, she is a pioneer in melding modern dance and ballet with popular music. In film, she collaborated with Milos Forman on Hair, Ragtime, and Amadeus. For television, she directed Baryshnikov by Tharp, which won two Emmy awards. For the Broadway stage, she directed the theatrical version of Singin' in the Rain, and in 2003 won a Tony Award for Movin' Out, which she conceived, directed, and choreographed to the songs of Billy Joel. She is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. In 1993, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and in 1997 was made an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives and works in New York City.

Bibliographic information