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“There is 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.” – The Creative Habit
The Creative Habit was a book I had seen recommended so many times that it made it’s way to the top of my reading list, and I requested it from our library. With so many people recommending it, I figured it would be pretty good and that I’d probably come away with a few practical things.
But wow…this book was incredible.
Before I even got through the prologue, I told Tim, “I think I’m really going to like this book.” I devoured it within a day. This book had a big impact on me, more than other books like it have had in a long time. I wrote 18 pages of notes and quotes as I read it. I learned a lot about myself, and went away more inspired and resolved.
There are a couple things I loved about it:
1. Her voice
There are some books where the way the author writes makes it feel like they’re sitting down and having a conversation with you, and this is one of them. She uses a great blend of no-nonesense advice (creativity is hard work) with refreshing encouragement.
2. Practical and encouraging
Some creative books can be all hype and fluff, but this book was down-to-earth, practical, and encouraging. I came away inspired to get to work being creative and to keep doing what I’m doing.
3. The excercises
I don’t normally do the questions or exercises some books have at the end of each chapter. But I did most of them for this book as I went through it, and made notes for the ones I didn’t do to use later. One of my favorite exercises was a set of questions near the beginning of the book. When I saw the long list of questions, I was tempted to skim over it and keep going. I decided to sit down and answer all of them before I kept going. I was really surprised at how much I learned about myself as I thought through a lot of my answers. It was probably my favorite part of the book. I’m planning on typing up my answers and keeping them as a reference for when I start getting discouraged about creative projects I’m doing.
The biggest thing I came away with from this book was realizing how fearful I had been of starting a creative project. Fear of not being able to make something good enough, fear of focusing too much on a project that I would be a bad mom, and even fear that I wouldn’t be coming up with anything new.
I loved one of her quotes:
“Someone has done it before? Honey, it’s all been done before. Nothing’s really original. Not Homer or Shakespeare and certainly not you. Get over yourself.”-Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit
The Creative Habit helped me affirm my decision to start a blog and gave me some great practical tools to keep going with it. I walked away realizing why it had been so hard for me to start the blog (what my fears were), but also with why I should could going even when things get hard or fear sets in.
God has given me gifts – I need to be using them. I love what I’m doing. I love helping parents find simple, easy ways to be creative with their kids. I love creating. And what have I got to lose? I need to give this project my all, keep my right perspective, and remember my “why.”
As with nearly any book, I didn’t agree 100% with her or her worldview. But even filtering everything through what I believe, I still came away with a ton of insight and practical things to do.
If it hadn’t been a library copy, I would have made notes and highlighted quotes all over this book. I can’t wait to get my own copy and have my husband read it as well.
Need a little inspiration in your creative endeavors? A kick to start something or just to keep going? If you are a creative person, in whatever form, this book needs to be on your reading list. If you know a creative person, then you should encourage them to read it.