The Creative Habit Book Summary, by Twyla Tharp

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1-Page Summary of The Creative Habit


Mozart was obviously a creative person, but he practiced and worked hard to become prolific. His fingers became deformed as a result of his hard work! Creativity is like that; it’s a muscle you have to keep in shape through practice. You can do this by knowing what exercises keep creativity strong, which will help you develop your creativity by showing how repetition and discipline improve skills; then discipline becomes routine; then routine becomes habit.

In this article, you’ll learn about the key points of creativity. You’ll also find out how even Shakespeare wasn’t completely original and what to do when taking notes like Beethoven. This article is full of tips that I’ve never forgotten from a favorite podcast on creativity. It’s even similar to a system I used while working on my own project using index cards mentioned in the third tip.

Big Idea #1: Understanding who we are and what makes us special helps us accomplish our goals.

The first step in harnessing your creativity is to identify what you’re good at. You need to figure out who you are and what makes you unique. Once you know that, it will be easier for you to find your passions and interests, as well as develop a talent that best suits your creative identity.

The more you know about yourself, the better you’ll be able to understand your strengths and weaknesses. For example, when I asked an art student to describe a dance as a color, he said “limpid blue,” meaning that he’s more of a writer than a painter.

Your identity as a creative person can be seen in the patterns of your experiences. Try writing down your ambitions, what you’ve accomplished and failed at, and who you look up to. What patterns do you notice?

Your identity is the way you see yourself and how you work. If you can figure out your identity, then it will be easier to reach your goals.

For example, the author has been a dancer and now works as a choreographer. She knows both sides of dance: the technical details involved in it and how an audience sees it. This makes her able to look at dancers from close up, see whether they are acceptable or not, then step back to take in the whole picture.

You can learn a lot about your identity by asking yourself, “If I could change my name to anything, what would it be and why?”

People change their names for various reasons. Cassius Clay, who later became known as Muhammad Ali, converted to Islam and changed his name. Your new name can say a lot about you and your goals in life.

One of the most important things you can do for your creative work is to feel secure about who you are and what you’re doing. Here’s how:

Big Idea #2: Daily routines and rituals keep your skills and discipline sharp.

It’s tough to start a new project. One way to make it easier is by creating habits and rituals. Habits are created when you do something every day until it becomes routine. Eventually, the comfort of your ritual will make you feel confident and self-reliant.

Igor Stravinsky played a Bach fugue every morning. The author’s friend also does something similar, but with the US dollar bill, and he looks at its motto “Annuit coeptis” which means “Providence has favored our undertakings.”

The author gets up early and has a cup of coffee before she goes to the gym in the morning. She also carries around her tools, such as a pen or camera, with her at all times. It’s good to confront your anxieties quickly and effectively by memorizing some retorts for when you’re feeling nervous.

For example, when you think that people will laugh at you for presenting an idea, remind yourself of all the people who respect you and realize that not everyone is like them. If someone says to themselves “It’s been done before,” they can respond by saying “Even Shakespeare wasn’t totally original.” Or if someone thinks their idea won’t be as good in reality as it was in their mind, they can tell themselves “Errors happen.” In order to remember ideas better, practice recalling things regularly because it makes your imagination stronger. It also improves vocabulary and helps one recall information more easily. Having a good memory gives authority and credibility in group settings. For example, if one remembers salient facts from a lecture or business meeting they’ll gain respect from others present.

The Creative Habit Book Summary, by Twyla Tharp