How is it that some of us look at creativity as this esoteric, unattainable, and impossible skill to obtain? Some of us have forces ourselves in positions in which we have to be creative. The job for an actor, a writer, a musician, or an artist is to be creative; to come up with inspiration at any moments notice.
Can you Habitually signal your brain to being creative full time?
The book Creative Habits Twyla Tharp is a guide line that will change the way you think about creativity.
“Being creative is a full time job with its own daily patterns.” – Tharp
It’s a privilege and a curse for an artist to be able to practice their craft at anytime. Unlike most employees working under the demands of a boss; an artist, has to set their own schedule. By implementing a schedule. Creativity is a skill and by scheduling this skill one can increase their ability to tap into it. Therefore you might schedule it out by writing down, “okay, from 2:00 to 3:00 I am going to create.” If you want to top yourself. Schedule it with a specific goal. For example “from 2:00 to 3:00 in going to have a rehearsal with my thoughts on my new book idea ‘The subtle art of failing.” By making the choice that you’re going to work on your chooses craft for a certain period of time it’s possible to make your creativity a habit.
“Overtime, as the daily routines become second nature, discipline morphs into habit.” – Tharp
“The routine is as much a part of the creative process as a lightning bolt of inspiration, maybe more.”- Tharp
Habits such as biting our finger nails, chewing gum, constantly twirling the phone chord is actually a mindless performance. Creativity, if practiced enough, can become a unconscious skill of competency. Most dances don’t think while their dancing at their best. They don’t think “my right foot has to turn out 35 degrees towards the white wall, and then my spine has to arch forward.” No, they have made it a habit within their bodies to learn the dance numbers so well that they could do it in their sleep.
“Creativity is not jut for artist. It’s for business people looking for a way to close a sale. It’s for engineers trying to solve a problem. It’s for parents who want their children to see the world in more than one way.” – Tharp
My favorite quote:
“There’s 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.” Tharp.
The keystones to habitually creating can be summed up in the following categories.
Fears: Thoughts that may go through ones mind when pursuing a creative project:
“People will laugh at me, someone has done it before, I have nothing to say, I will upset someone I love, once executed, the idea will never be as good as it is in my mind.”
“The other obstacle to good work is distractions. I know there are people who can a simulate a lot of incoming data from all angles from newspapers and magazines, movies, television, music, friends, the Internet and turn it into something wonderful. They thrive on a multitude of stimuli, the more complicated the better.” Tharp
I am guilty of falling into complete isolation when I’m pursuing a new project or character research. Although my process differs slightly due to the fact that I am still consuming subject matter that may relate to the topic of my artistic project. By utilizing sources such as movies, music, newspapers, podcasts, or television I can gain creative ideas. “The good artists steal.” For example if I am going to play a character that has had history with night terrors I may listen to people talk about their experiences with night terrors. I might watch movies that scare the hell out of me to induce a nightmare so I can have a level of understanding. I try to adopt a habit of doing this by totally immersing myself within a specific subject.
Multitasking; TS Eliot said, you’re distracted from distractions by distractions.”
“The irony of multitasking is that it’s exhausting; when you’re doing two or three things simultaneously, you use more energy than the sum of energy required to do each task independently.” – Tharp
This is a struggle for me because my mind works best when I’m moving. A light walk or light bike ride allows me to think deeper. I agree with Tharp in some ways and in others ways I do not. Focus doesn’t have to be at the forefront of creativity. Often times creativity will actually ignite when you are doing something completely unrelated to the artistic project you want to create.