My Notes on The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp



I started reading this book because of Chase Jarvis' recommendation

He wrote a blog post where he shared a list of 6 books that will make you more creative. I chose The Creative Habit, because the title was already a lesson! And when the title is a lesson, you know the rest of the book will be great!

Twyla Tharp, is a great American dance choreographer, that produced more than 130 dances.

As you can imagine, creative choreographies isn’t easy, and it requires constant creativity.

But what is creativity for Twyla?

“Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits. That’s it in a nutshell.”

That’s it. Creativity, for Twyla, is a combination of hard work and exercise. Without that, you can’t create as much great work as she did.

She also reinforces the importance of having a ritual as a way of preparing herself to start creating.

"I begin each day of my life with a ritual: I wake up at 5:30 a.m., put on my workout clothes, my leg warmers, my sweatshirts, and my hat. I walk outside my Manhattan home, hail a taxi, and tell the driver to take me to the Pumping Iron gym at 91st Street and First Avenue, where I work out for two hours. The ritual is not the stretching and weight training I put my body through each morning at the gym; the ritual is the cab. The moment I tell the driver where to go, I have completed the ritual."

The moment she asks the driver where to go, is the moment her mind shifts its focus to start working!

I’ve been thinking about this too, and I think the moment I shift my focus to work, is when I put my headphones to listen to an audiobook or podcast when I’m getting ready in the morning.

In my opinion, there’s nothing better to prepare myself for the day than to have a morning ritual.

I love her idea of having a box for each project she starts, where she puts important material that inspires her. "Before you can think out of the box, you have to start with a box.”

I think I’m going to adopt this idea for each new project that I work from now on! Like pictures, letters, books, objects, etc. 

She believes that what we will be in 5 years depends on the people we meets and the books we read. “I read for growth, firmly believing that what you are today and what you will be in five years depends on two things: the people you meet and the books you read”

I agree with her idea, and I think it also relates with the idea that:

“We are the average of the 5 people we spend most time with” (Jim Rohn).

Here’s my favourite quote from the book:

“You only need one good reason to commit to an idea, not four hundred. But if you have four hundred reasons to say yes and one reason to say no, the answer is probably no.”

I also associate this quote with the idea that:

“If it’s not a HELL YES, than it’s a no” by Derek Sivers.

This is a great way to decide to pursuit something, or to simply not. When I start to feel anxious and irritated about doing something, it is probably time to stop doing it. 

This book talks a lot about dance and her experience with creating choreographs, but I found it interesting to know more about the dance world.

In the book, there are a lot of exercises that you can put into practise in order to be more creative and to find your own rhythm. 

Even though, this book isn’t focused on teaching you a specific method to be more creative, by learning more about the author’s life and experiences, you will get valuable life lessons to produce more great, deep and meaningful work.

Her key to produce more creative work? Hard work, consistency, ter rotinas and passion.

She recommends the exercise of writing all the skills you have. This can be difficult. But, let’s pretend you are a writer.

Write the most important skills to be a writer.

If you asked me: what are the most important skills to be a writer? I would probably write this:

-Consistency (by writing every day);

-The ability to generate new ideas;



-Language skills;



-Research skills.


Now, of all of the skills above, which ones do you have and you are already pretty good?

By doing this exercise, you will have a more clear vision of what are your skills.

And even better, you can now practise the ones you lack, and that you know are really important to be, in this case, a better writer.

(All of the skills above, can be improved by practising them!)

You should definitely read this book if you are interested in becoming more creative, and specially on getting a really interesting perspective on creating art.

When you use you creativity, you create amazing things. When you train your creativity, you create even more amazing things, regularly.

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