Step, repeat: Twyla Tharp and The Creative Habit (9 insights your creative work needs now)

Photo: Ruven Afanador/New York Magazine

Photo: Ruven Afanador/New York Magazine

I have been pouring over Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit for more than a month. What does this choreographer have to say about creativity? Turns out, quite a lot.

A fan of Tharp's, or not; a dancer, or not, there are a number of helpful exercises and engaging ideas to help you examine your own creative processes and, perhaps, find a better way forward. Here are a few of my favorite quotes - it's a book I recommend.

The first steps of a creative act are like groping in the dark: random and chaotic, feverish and fearful, a lot of busy-ness with no apparent or definable end in sight.
The idea, however minuscule, is what turns the verb into a noun - paint into a painting, sculpt into a sculpture, write into writing, dance into a dance.
Every act of creation is also an act of destruction or abandonment.
Skill is how you close the gap between what you can see in your mind’s eye and what you can produce.
Confidence is a trait that has to be earned honestly and refreshed constantly; you have to work as hard to protect your skills as you did to develop them.
Without passion, all the skill in the world won’t lift you above craft. Without skill, all the passion in the world will leave you eager but floundering. Combining the two is the essence of the creative life.
The more you fail in private, the less you will fail in public.
Fix the things you know how to fix.
Failing, and learning from it, is necessary. Until you’ve done it, you’re missing an important part of your creative arsenal.
aimee bordersComment