[2011] Scratching for Inspiration + the Creative Habit

Some book are like beacons for me. They keep calling me back, over and over. Guiding me through the dark. I need to own a copy, just to have it nearby. The list is short (yes, I’m particular) — but Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit is near the top. It has great energy and sure-fire lessons for honing your creativity in daily life. (Plus, the book’s design is a killer in simplicity + typography.)

One of my favorite lessons learned is scratching in Chapter 6.

“The first steps of a creative act are like groping in the dark: random and chaotic, feverish and fearful, a lot of busy-ness with no apparent or definable end in sight… I call it scratching.”

This act of scratching put a name on all the tangents that I feel compelled to – trips to the museums, walks around my city neighborhoods, hours spent in bookstores. Exploring of the world for ideas, connections, sparks of inspiration.

When I’m just getting started with something new (or like now, in between projects), I remember: it’s time to do some scratching.

Click through my folder of “inspiration” web links. Go for a walk. Flip through some old sketchbooks. Pick up a novel for a half hour. Take a field trip to someplace new. And something always comes from that — wheels turning, mind whirring, the engine starts.

. . . . .

What are you scratching at this week? Where are your favorite places to go when you’re scratching for inspiration?  If you do creative work of any kind, I highly recommend getting your hands on The Creative Habit — worth it!

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3 Responses to [2011] Scratching for Inspiration + the Creative Habit

  1. Ann November 30, 2011 at 5:57 pm #

    Also one of my favorite creative books!

  2. Lanny Udell February 24, 2012 at 4:38 pm #

    Twyla is one of my favorite choreographers. Sounds like a must-read for me!
    Scratching…let’s see…movies, books, dancing tango, long walks…all help clear the dust
    to make room for new ideas.

    • Lillie February 27, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

      Definitely worth checking out, Lanny — I’m sure you would enjoy both the creative work aspect AND the dance details. I love the idea of “clearning the dust” — let me know what you think!

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