#LipglossmaffiaBookclub: The Creative Habit || Twyla Tharp…
Welcome back to book review session of the blog! I hope you have been keeping up with the #ReadingChallenge? These reviews only comes up twice a month but I do post other books that I’m reading on Instagram, so you should definitely check out @lipglossmaffia for more book recommendations and reviews. I have also started a virtual bookclub on Whatsapp, if you would like to join, just send me an email with your phone number at email@example.com. Meanwhile, if you would like to keep up with the challenge, here is the 2017 reading challenge.
For my fourteenth pick, I chose…
*A Book With Career Advice
Title: The Creative Habit. Learn It And Use It For Life
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Non Fiction
Release Date: 2003
My Ratings: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Summary: All it takes to make creativity a part of your life is the willingness to make it a habit. It is the product of preparation and effort, and is within reach of everyone. Whether you are a painter, musician, businessperson, or simply an individual yearning to put your creativity to use, The Creative Habit provides you with thirty-two practical exercises based on the lessons Twyla Tharp has learned in her remarkable thirty-five-year career.
In “Where’s Your Pencil?” Tharp reminds you to observe the world — and get it down on paper. In “Coins and Chaos,” she gives you an easy way 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 you how to clean the clutter from your mind overnight. Tharp leads you through the painful first steps of scratching for ideas, finding the spine of your work, and getting out of ruts and into productive grooves. The wide-open realm of possibilities can be energizing, and Twyla Tharp explains how to take a deep breath and begin.
Being a writer, one of the most difficult things for me is actually getting my day going. I confess that I am a notorious procrastinator, both in my creative and professional life. Part of this is habit, but the other part is not always having an anchor in my day that tells my brain it is time to get to work already, no more excuses, no more fear.
Luckily, I have found a way to make my time count. World-renowned choreographer Twyla Tharp, in this book, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It For Life, talks about the importance of ritual in beginning her day. She says, “I begin each day of my life with a ritual: I wake up at 5:30 a.m., put on my workout clothes, my leg warmers, my sweatshirts, and my hat. I walk outside my Manhattan home, hail a taxi, and tell the driver to take me to the Pumping Iron gym at 91st Street and First Avenue, where I work out for two hours. The ritual is not the stretching and weight training I put my body through each morning at the gym; the ritual is the cab. The moment I tell the driver where to go, I have completed the ritual.“
Don’t get me wrong: I am not saying we writers need to get up at the crack of dawn to get the most out of our day. The point is in the ritual itself: one act that signals in our minds that the working day, whether it be creative or professional, has begun. For me, this means rolling out of bed in the morning, walking into the kitchen and drinking a cup of water. The moment I water going down my throat, a switch turns on inside my brain that tells me it’s time to get to work. By the time the cup is empty, I am already sitting at my desk, planning out my projects for the day.
Tharp says, “Turning something into a ritual eliminates the question, Why am I doing this? By the time I give the taxi driver directions, it’s too late to wonder why I’m going to the gym and not snoozing under the warm covers of my bed…The ritual erases the question of whether or not I like it. It’s also a friendly reminder that I’m doing the right thing. (I’ve done it before. It was good. I’ll do it again.)“
So if you’re like me and need a little something extra to get you going, try establishing a ritual that makes your space feel good, and most importantly, makes you want to get to work, whether it be on the story you can’t bring yourself to start or the editing project gathering dust on your desk. As Tharp says, “The only criterion is this: Make it easy on yourself. Find a working environment where the prospect of wrestling with your muse doesn’t scare you, doesn’t shut you down. It should make you want to be there, and once you find it, stick with it. To get the creative habit, you need a working habit that’s habit-forming.“
So pick your ritual, get to work, and, like me, you may be surprised at how much more productive you can actually be.
A great kick-in-the-pants for creative people who feel like they’re in a rut. I particularly enjoyed the wide breadth of artistic examples that Tharp draws from in making her case. The creative exercises are delightful and strange, and her insight about habit is especially motivating. I recommend this book to all creatives!
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