Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Creative Habit

I just picked up a book at the thrift store the other day (oh the irony…dropping off junk only to come out with more junk of a different sort…) called “The Creative Habit” by choreographer and dancer extraordinaire Twyla Tharp. Am only two chapters in, but there are some exciting revelations in there. This book is all about the thing I have such difficulty with, namely, focusing creativity through daily routine, practice and discipline.

The first chapter talks about all the reasons we find to procrastinate and some of the reasons why. Personally, I find ways to procrastinate that still feel productive, like doing laundry or going out for groceries. Obviously these are things that need to be done and I tell myself that once those things are finished, I can begin with a clear head. Clearly, this is an avoidance tactic I’ve developed. There will always be more laundry to do and more groceries to buy and these things can expand or contract to the time allotted for them. (I.E I can do it in 15 minutes or let it swell to 45 depending on what time I have available.)

She suggests that a routine is a valuable way to keep from wondering whether you want to do something, or if you have time etc. Instead, it is a ritual you perform automatically every morning without ever considering whether or not you are in the mood.

Perhaps this seems obvious to those who have 9-5 jobs. When you wake up in the morning, it doesn’t really matter if you want to get going or not. For me, trying to find self motivation to go into my little office and paint, this is a constant battle. And the mundane things are easy to get distracted by.

Certain this book will dredge up other thoughts on all of this, but at present, its making me long for my little office in Shenzhen and the big and little changes I plan to make once I get back there…

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