Monday, March 21, 2011

The Creative Habit

As I was saying, I bought this book a while ago and haven't had much time to read it. The Creative Habit, by Twyla Tharp, was recommended by some other artists as a great way to fight resistance and develop a routine for creativity.

I read The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron, about a year ago and really enjoyed it. Most of the tasks were doable and a couple of them have become things I can't do without now. One of the tasks was to write three pages of free thought, in pen on paper, every morning. I have kept at that one and filled quite a few marble notebooks. The other task which I haven't kept up is the weekly Artist Date. Finding time to keep a date with myself to do a small fun thing was a great idea which I have neglected.

I don't think you can call a walk with my granddaughter in the carriage an Artist Date, but it was wonderful anyway! I'm almost all alone, she is only six months old, but she does have a personality and makes little noises. So it's not really the idea. Some of the other tasks were annoying and I didn't bother doing them. Some I would like to try to do the next free day I have.

Anyway, I started reading this book and from the first page I was hooked. The first chapter begins with this "I walk into a white room". Immediately thoughts of sitting in front of a blank canvas flash through my mind. I know how it feels to face the canvas or the paper, and think: now what?

Twyla Tharp is a world class dancer and choreographer. For her to admit it's terrifying to start something new is unsettling. What's it like for the rest of us if she has doubts?

She writes:
"Some people find this moment-the moment before creativity begins-so painful that they simply cannot deal with it. They get up and walk away from the computer, the canvas, the keyboard; they take a nap or go shopping or fix lunch or do chores around the house. They procrastinate. In its most extreme form, this terror totally paralyzes people."
I can relate to that. The idea that creativity can be something we can make a habit of is interesting to me. I could use a good kick of "habit." I can blame everything around me and procrastinate all day, but in the end it's only me here. I am working art in as best I can.

We can always learn a new trick to keep it fresh. If routine is the thing, and I could always use a new way to keep it up, I am there. Being ready with the materials I'm happy to use will be the other half of the battle. New paints are in the plan. Next up, a new routine.

I will let you know how it goes once I get rolling. Be sure of that.


  1. Good luck with your new 'habit'. I need to work on this for myself.

  2. C...I think this is a struggle for most of us.


The Latest Work With Permission

©Dora Sislian Themelis, 11x14 Watercolor, Patmos Sunset Available for purchase The latest work is from another person's photograph...