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Book Review - The Creative Habit

Hello! I'm experimenting with blogging every day. Because I'm very new to this, I need your help. Please take a minute to drop me a line and let me know what you think. I will post stories, thoughts, and possibly recipes (if I'm having an off day). Here's the post for today.

As I mentioned a few times, I recently read The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp. It was highly recommended to me by several people online and using habits to advance my goals have worked well for me in the last year (but that's another post). So I wanted to see what will happen if I read a book about creating habitually.

To be completely honest, not much.

I mean, the book is good. It has interesting concepts like scratching for ideas (basically going through the world with awareness to find new ideas) and finding a spine for your work. A spine in this context is the thread or the message that runs through your piece. It doesn't have to be explicit, but it's what guides the project. It was useful for me for the book I'm working on (but that's also a different post). There are also some valuable exercises like finding metaphors and thinking about your creative autobiography.

However, several things did not resonate with me in this book. First, a lot of it was biographical. Which is fine, I guess, but not why I bought the book. Second, I'm not sure I would recommend it to writers. I would recommend it if you tend towards performance arts and movements. OR if you want to invite creativity into your life, but your circumstances are not such that you can do it as your primary occupation. That is, it's a good book if you want to be creative but your day job is not. This is not where I am right now. I'm incredibly lucky and don't have a day job (another post!), and I get to muck around with words all day (and cook). But I think that because of that, this book did not speak to me.

In addition to that, I think I'm probably the furthest person alive from the world she's talking about in her book. I'm going to confess here. The only work of Twyla Tharp I've ever witness is Movin' Out. We went to see a travelling Broadway group performing it when we were in Ottawa. It was the only show I can remember leaving at the intermission. We like Billy Joel's songs, which is why we went in the first place, but we weren't ready for the ballet, and if I can see the dancers who are off-beat then they are probably not fantastic dancers. We've seen underwhelming performances before and since, but this was the only time we left in the middle.

So, in summary, there's a fair chance that Twyla and I are not at all on the same page. In fact, we're probably in different books. Possibly different libraries. I deeply respect her work (obviously), and I wish to be still creating in my 60s. I admire her honesty in this book. But it was just not for me.

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