As a Somatic Psychotherapist and Dance/Movement Therapist, I am a fan of using the arts therapeutically both personally and professionally, and have a particular interest in exploring what it really means to be “creative.” One of the most beneficial practices I have ever experienced is called a Creative Habit, based on the book by Dancer and Choreographer, Twyla Tharp.
As Twyla explains…
“In order to be creative you have to know how to prepare to be creative... Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits... Thereʼs a paradox in the notion that creativity should be a habit. We think of creativity as a way of keeping everything fresh and new, while habit implies routine and repetition. That paradox intrigues me because it occupies the place where creativity and skill rub up against each other. It takes skill to bring something youʼve imagined into the world: to use words to create believable lives, to select the colors and textures of paint to represent a haystack at sunset, to combine ingredients to make a flavorful dish. No one is born with that skill. It is developed through exercise, through repetition, through a blend of learning and reflection thatʼs both painstaking and rewarding. And it takes time.” – pg. 9
What is a Creative Habit?
- You do on purpose
- In an intentional environment
- With beginning and ending rituals
How do I start?
- Overall time commitment (I recommend 1 month)
- Weekly time commitment (I recommend at least 2 hours per week total)
- Daily time commitment (I recommend spending at least 5 minutes each day/time you choose)
- Time of day
- Beginning and ending rituals
- Your habit!
Once you choose your habit, stay with it for the full overall time commitment and keep a journal of your experience (at least one entry per week).
Determining your Creative Habit
In order to identify what your creative habit will be, explore your Creative Autobiography!
- Answer the questions below
- Based on your answers, think about what activity might suite you best
An example of a Creative Habit could be something like…
- I choose to try it for 1 month
- I decide that I will spend 5 minutes per day, Monday through Friday
- I know that if I don’t practice this in the morning, it won’t happen
- I know that if I don’t practice this before the kids get up, then I won’t have a peaceful environment to practice in
- I choose to light a candle to begin, and blow out the candle to end
- I want to include sitting meditation and writing as parts of my habit, so I decide that on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I will sit in meditation, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays I will practice free writing for the 5 minutes.
The important thing to remember is that whatever you choose to practice, it should be something that feels good and creative to YOU, so if that means designing an excel spreadsheet, then follow that intuition.
If you’d like to discuss this process more or borrow a copy of Twyla’s book, feel free to reach out to me at Kendall@VancouverWellnessStudio.com.
Kendall & the VWS Team
- What is the first creative moment you remember?
- Was anyone there to witness or appreciate it?
- What is the best idea you’ve ever had?
- What made it great in your mind?
- What is the dumbest idea?
- What made it stupid?
- Can you connect the dots that led you to this idea?
- What is your creative ambition?
- What are the obstacles to this ambition?
- What are the vital steps to achieving this ambition?
- How do you begin your day?
- What are your habits? What patterns do you repeat?
- Describe your first successful creative act.
- Describe your second successful creative act.
- Compare them.
- What are your attitudes toward: money, power, praise, rivals, work, play?
- Which artists do you admire most?
- Why are they your role models?
- What do you and your role models have in common?
- Does anyone in your life regularly inspire you?
- Who is your muse?
- Define muse.
- When confronted with superior intelligence or talent, how do you respond?
- When faced with stupidity, hostility, intransigence, laziness, or indifference in others, how do you respond?
- When faced with impending success or the threat of failure, how do you respond?
- When you work, do you love the process or the result?
- At what moments do you feel your reach exceeds your grasp?
- What is your ideal creative activity?
- What is your greatest fear?
- What is the likelihood of either of the answers to the previous two questions happening?
- Which of your answers would you most like to change?
- What is your idea of mastery?
- What is your greatest dream?