Over at ayearofcreativehabits.com and our facebook goup, we are working through our second book for the #yearofcreativehabits book club. This month we're reading The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp. I read this book at least ten years ago and then I think I got it from the library when I began a year of creative habits to reference a few passages. Overall though, I remembered very little from the book and was excited to reread it.
We are about halfway through it and the discussion has been fantastic. I SO enjoy doing this along with the group. It keeps me motivated and accountable. I love reading everyone's thoughts and interpretations. It's been so fun.
Our first book for book club was Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. I'm seeing lots of similarities between the two books, probably because I read them back to back but still it's interesting to find similar ideas and suggestions in the two but such completely different voices and approaches.
Here's a few things that stood out to me from the first half of the book:
"The blank space can be humbling. Filling this empty space constitutes my identity."
I really enjoyed reading about "focal length" and "creative code/DNA." I'm not sure what my focal length is but it's something I'll be looking for now. "All of us find comfort in seeing the world either from a great distance, at arm's length, or in close up."
I also realized that my current working space does NOT do this: "when you enter into them, they impel you to get started." This part has me on a mission to improve my work space.
"Skill gets imprinted through the action. ... If there's a lesson here it's: get busy copying."
"The box documents the active research on every project. ... It also represents a commitment. The simple act of writing a project name on the box means I've started work." I wondered what my "box" was and I'm thinking it's blogging. For me a blog post represents a commitment and often the beginning of a new series, challenge, or project.
"I believe in starting each project with a stated goal. ...to remind me of what I was thinking at the beginning if and when I lose my way." Yes! And I often go back and read my blog posts to help me remember how I began.
"The box is not a substitute for creating." And neither is a blog post.
I loved the chapter on "scratching" and realized that's what I've been missing lately. "Scratching can look like borrowing or appropriating, but it's an essential part of creativity."
"A good idea is one that turns you on rather than shuts you off. It keeps generating more ideas and they improve on one another. ... You don't have a really good idea until you combine two little ideas. ... Without the little ideas, there are no big ideas."
"You can't imagine the work, you can only generate ideas when you put pencil to paper, brush to canvas-- when you actually do something physical."
And so today I went back to reading and researching and "scratching" for ideas. I read (mostly looked through) Robert Mapplethorpe: The Archive and took some visual notes. I'm scratching for those little ideas that I can hopefully combine into a bigger idea.