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The Creative Habit

Learn It and Use It for Life

By Twyla Tharp
15-minute read
Audio available
The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp

In The Creative Habit (2003) internationally acclaimed choreographer Twyla Tharp shares the approaches, habits and routines that keep her creativity honed and active. Drawing on her own experiences with creative projects and overcoming creative hurdles, she offers simple exercises and specific examples that can help you tap into your individual creativity and achieve your goals.

This is a Blinkist staff pick

“I’ve never forgotten these blinks’ tips on creativity. I even used a system similar to the box of index cards mentioned in the third blink when working on a freelance project.”

– Ben S, Audio Lead at Blinkist

  • Artists who want to improve their productivity
  • People who want to integrate creativity into their work
  • Anyone looking for advice on how to undertake a big project

Twyla Tharp is an award winning American choreographer who has created 130 dances for her company, as well as for dance companies in Paris, London, Stockholm, Sydney and Berlin. She has won two Emmys and one Tony award, and has also worked on multiple well-known films, including Hair and Amadeus.

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The Creative Habit

Learn It and Use It for Life

By Twyla Tharp
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life by Twyla Tharp
Synopsis

In The Creative Habit (2003) internationally acclaimed choreographer Twyla Tharp shares the approaches, habits and routines that keep her creativity honed and active. Drawing on her own experiences with creative projects and overcoming creative hurdles, she offers simple exercises and specific examples that can help you tap into your individual creativity and achieve your goals.

This is a Blinkist staff pick

“I’ve never forgotten these blinks’ tips on creativity. I even used a system similar to the box of index cards mentioned in the third blink when working on a freelance project.”

– Ben S, Audio Lead at Blinkist

Key idea 1 of 9

Understanding who we are and what makes us special helps us accomplish our goals.

The first step toward harnessing your creativity is recognizing the unique perspective that’s hardwired in everyone. This perspective is your creative identity, and familiarity with it will help you find your passions, interests and true creative talent.

The better you know yourself, the more discernible your strengths and weaknesses will become.

For example, during an improvisation session, the author asked an art student to describe a dance as a color. After much aimless blabber, the student finally said “limpid blue.” Clearly, his creative identity was more writerly than painterly.

Your creative identity can also be seen in the patterns of your own experiences. Try writing down your ambitions; your successes and failures; your ideals, role models and the first creative ideas you can remember. What patterns do you see?

Your identity also reflects the way you see the world and your unique way of working. If you can figure out who you are, then you’ll better know how to approach your goals.

For example, having been a dancer, and now being a choreographer, the author has an understanding of both the minute technical details involved in a dance and the audience’s viewpoint. This allows her to step in close and see whether her dancers and producers are acceptable and committed, then to step back and look at her work from the vantage of the audience.

Another way to understand your identity is to ask yourself, “If I could change my name, what would it be? And why?”

Plenty of people change their names for one reason or another. Cassius Clay, for instance, became Muhammad Ali after converting to Islam. What does your new name say about who you want to be and what you want to do?

Feeling secure in your identity and talent will make your work much easier and more enjoyable. The following blinks will explore how habits and routines are the foundation of creative work.

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