- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (January 6, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743235274
- ISBN-13: 978-0743235273
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.7 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (271 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,663 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life Paperback – January 6, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Perhaps the leading choreographer of her generation, Tharp offers a thesis on creativity that is more complex than its self-help title suggests. To be sure, an array of prescriptions and exercises should do much to help those who feel some pent-up inventiveness to find a system for turning idea into product, whether that be a story, a painting or a song. This free-wheeling interest across various creative forms is one of the main points that sets this book apart and leads to its success. The approach may have been born of the need to reach an audience greater than choreographer hopefuls, and the diversity of examples (from Maurice Sendak to Beethoven on one page) frees the student to develop his or her own patterns and habits, rather than imposing some regimen that works for Tharp. The greatest number of illustrations, however, come from her experiences. As a result, this deeply personal book, while not a memoir, reveals much about her own struggles, goals and achievements. Finally, the book is also a rumination on the nature of creativity itself, exploring themes of process versus product, the influences of inspiration and rigorous study, and much more. It deserves a wide audience among general readers and should not be relegated to the self-help section of bookstores.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School--Tharp shows how and why artists must actively seek and nurture inspiration. The dancer/choreographer draws heavily on her personal experiences to guide readers into cultivating habits that give birth to success. In addition, she recounts the experiences of artists from other disciplines, including painting and cinematography. Vignettes from the lives of people such as Mozart underline the fact that even geniuses work hard to realize the fruits of their labor. A personable tone is carried throughout the book, and within the text is a gold mine of advice. Tharp not only promotes tried-and-true habits, but also encourages readers to dig deep within themselves and come up with their own answers. Most sections conclude with exercises; they are fun and almost seamlessly bring home the author's main points. The black-and-white illustrations and photos are few in number. Students from all manner of creative arts who wish to make their dreams come true would benefit from reading this book.--Sheila Shoup, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
If it isn't obvious already, I come down on the side of hard work. That's why this book is call The Creative Habit. Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits. That's it in a nutshell."
~ Twyla Tharp from The Creative Habit
Twyla Tharp is awesome.
One of the greatest choreographers in the world, she'd created more than 130 (!!!) dances for her company as well as for everyone from the Joffrey Ballet to London's Royal Ballet.
In this great book, Twyla shares some uber-Big Ideas on how we can develop our Creative Habit to more consistently rock it.
Hope you enjoy a few of my favorites:
1. Rituals of Preparation - They're a must.
2. Mozart's Genius = Discipline + work ethic.
3. Give Me 1 Week Without - Silly distractions.
4. Busy Copying - If you want to be great.
5. Reading - It does a mind good.
To find 250+ more reviews visit http://bit.ly/BrianReviews
When I decided to read The Creative Habit right after The War of Art, I have to admit I gave myself a great big pat on the back. The War of Art was great in helping artists recognize & identify where & why Resistance stops you from doing That Creative Thing You Do, but the phrase "A Practical Guide" at the bottom of the cover of The Creative Habit made me think that it would address the "how." Sure, The War of Art really hit home with that beloved phrase, "Just do it (Every day. No matter what)," & while that's simplistic & powerful in so many ways, the artist & life coach in me wanted more. I was hoping The Creative Habit would deliver it, and it did - to a point.
The Creative Habit is divided into chapters that formulate a foundation for Tharp (Spine, Memory, Accidents, etc). She delves into personal anecdotes & advice, always followed by a suggestion of different exercises to further you along in your discovery & personal interpretation of that idea. For example, Twyla speaks often of "scratching", or the process of "digging through everything to find something" - an idea, an image, anything that'll turn into a tangible idea that'll spark your creative endeavor. One of the most memorable exercises comes at the end of the chapter, where she encourages the reader to take a handful of coins in any number & denomination & toss them onto a table to see how they fall, & then rearrange them into a pattern again & again & again, like "a musical chord resolving." I can see how it helps her, a world-renowed choreographer, come up with new configurations for her dancers. I can see, also, how it helps me, a creative person looking for a new perspective, to see infinite possibilities in something that I usually wouldn't look twice at.
Tharp lays it out on the table (i.e. "Somebody's done this before!") & then knocks it down (i.e. "Honey, it's all been done before. Get over yourself"). She also speaks of the joy of planning (not overplanning!) & imperfection, how to determine if you're in a rut, how to keep your groove going & how to deal with failure. Her advice is comforting & inspiring, all the while giving me new perspective & allowing me to feel that I wasn't alone. It's no mistake that rarely do 2 pages flip by that aren't marked by my highlighter.
I mentioned to someone (I forget who, & it's bothering me!) a while ago that I was reading the book, & she mentioned that it's tough to get through it as someone who is more of a Renaissance Soul, & is unable and/or unwilling to just throw themselves into their work. Tharp talks often about how she'll rid herself of all distractions (no music! no clocks! no numbers (yes, really - numbers)! no speaking!) & just live, breathe, think, talk & think the gym & the rehearsal studio - for weeks. She also encourages artists to "pick" a talent if they excel at more than one, as it's a curse to have a 50% chance of being wrong about their true calling. The life coach & Renaissance Soul in me super dislikes this sentiment, but I understand her stance if you're someone that wants to Master & Excel in their field - & is willing & able to chuck the rest of Life.
That said, here are my favorite exercises from the book, just waiting for journaling!:
Tharp poses 33 questions for you to answer in Your Creative Autobiography. Get out your journal & answer some of my faves (seriously - you'll totally want to):
What is the first creative moment you remember? Was anyone there to witness or appreciate it?
What is the best idea you've ever had? What made it great in your mind?
What is your creative ambition? What are the obstacles to this ambition? What are the vital steps to this ambition?
What are your habits? What patters do you repeat?
What do you & your role models have in common?
At what moments do you feel your reach exceed your grasp?
When you work, do you love the process or the result?
Pick a new name. What would you want it to say about you? What would it be? Why?
Take a field trip. Give a walk into purpose by saying that you won't return home until you have something inspiring in your hand, whether it's visual, intellectual or tangible.
For one day, be completely contrary. Pick a fight with everything you do - your wake-up routine, your rituals, your habits, your first creative impulse.
Figure out Your Perfect World. What are the rules & conditions? What's essential & what can be compromised on? Who is with you & what's surrounding you?
Bottom Line? The Creative Habit is a great book from a world-renowned artist who divulges her secrets in creating a new piece, building on it, sticking with it (both the piece as a singular unit & the career as a whole), & climbing the artistic ladder. But if you're looking for an interactive program of sorts, or something that's really gonna kick your ass into gear, I'd take a pass.