Book Review–The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life book review

~in my Nutshell~

World-renowned choreographer and director of Broadway’s Movin’ Out, Twyla Tharp, shares her best advice in The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life. At 75+ years old, Tharp has worked in the creative industry for generations. Thus she’s not short of creative wisdom. Tharp delves into insights on the significance of rituals and routine in order to sculpture what she calls the creative habit. Twyla Tharp brings the reader on her journey by showing us how she nurtures and tends to creativity so that it becomes a habit. What ritual does Twyla Tharp start her day with? Her alarm buzzes before sunrise every morning so she can head to the studio to work out for two hours.

        Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life reminds us that creativity is often a misunderstood concept of artists working endlessly through the night binge drinking coffee without any guidance or structure. Though this may be the reality for some, it is quite the opposite for others.  Tharp, therefore, tags us along as she outlines points of advice throughout her creative journey to help artists, dancers, musicians, actors, athletes, and so on, find a sense of creative structure in rituals, in mental games, in exploiting memories, and in being observant, in order to create at one’s utmost potential.

        This is not to say Tharp steers away from admitting and recognizing creative failures or creative setbacks. Instead, Tharp very vulnerably addresses her failures and sheds light on how she found light in them. She similarly opens up about her struggle with beginning with a blank canvas and illustrates how finding the spine in her work led to breakthroughs. As a choreographer, Tharp’s job demands bringing stories and ideas in her mind to life and then passing these ideas onto dancers to make them come to life. In order to establish an environment that constantly nourishes and receives creativity, she lays out key aspects that led her to form a creative habit in the hopes that you, the audience, can harness your creativity too. 

~In Twyla Tharp’s Nutshell~

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life book review

I will keep stressing the point about creativity being augmented by routine and habit. Get used to it. In these pages, a philosophical tug of war will periodically rear its head. It is the perennial debate, born in the Romantic era, between the beliefs that all creative acts are born of (a) some transcendent, inexplicable Dionysian act of inspiration, a kiss from God on your brow that allows you to give the world The Magic Flute, or (b) hard work. If it isn’t obvious already, I come down on the side of hard work. That’s why this book is called The Creative Habit. Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits.

That’s it in a nutshell!

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Cassidy Armbruster

Cassidy is a writer and content marketer living in Madrid, Spain with a degree in International Relations and a Master of Science in Marketing and Digital Media. Cassidy is a travel enthusiast, and she is always up for a game of soccer. You can reach her via LinkedIn.