Creativity is an act of defiance – Twyla Tharp

I’ll start by saying that I absolutely loved this book, and that it made me feel a bit sheepish about not taking my craft more seriously. This Emmy-award winning choreographer – one of America’s greatest since 1965 – is nothing short of masterful in highlighting the benefits of discipline and practice as they relate to pretty much anything. I feel like I can apply the wisdom in this book across my whole life.

Here are my top quotes from the book, as well as my brief thoughts on them.

~ Without passion, all the skill in the world won’t lift you above craft. Without skill, all the passion in the world will leave you eager but floundering. Combining the two is the essence to creative life.

For me, my passion seems to be endless, intense, and sometimes even overboard. It’s not easy for enthusiastic people in a culture that strives to project apathy in so many ways. I do get excited about a project and then…another project. This quote was a reminder for me to not let my passion get the best of me, and to follow through by honing in on skill. (Another quote that directly related to this was “You’re only kidding yourself if you put creativity before craft.”

~ The better you know the nuts and bolts of your craft, the more fully you can express your talents.

So true! All the research I’ve done over the years on the difference between affect and effect, commas inside and outside quotations , the power of metaphor, subjective vs objective adjectives…it’s all empowered me to be more handy with my fingertips on a keyboard, and more playful with my words. This, as you may guess, has a huge impact on how my writing lands for people. Once you’re committed to your craft, you just start to feel better. And for that, I’m all the way in.

~ Metaphor is the lifeblood of all art, if it is not art itself. Metaphor is our vocabulary for connecting what we’re experiencing now with what we have experienced before. It’s not only how we express what we remember, it’s how we interpret it – for ourselves and others.

I have lots to say about this, but I think it has too much to do with my work, and with The Diet Monster because that’s allll about metaphor. Suffice to say I just think this quote sounds really smart and artistic, and I hope you let it simmer in your brain for a bit.

~ There’s a difference between a work’s beginning and starting to work.

This one was like a kick under the table. I’ve struggled to assign some kind of structure and start my work from the beginning of a project, and it’s SO POINTLESS! You don’t really know how a story begins until you get all the bits out in front of you. Starting to work doesn’t mean you start at the beginning. You just have to start anywhere and then you can arrange from there.

I hope this post leaves your fingers itching for a paintbrush, or streams of words running through your head and begging to be typed out or written down.

Check out this book. It’s amazing. Oh yeah, and I bought it for like $3 used on Amazon. 😉


P.S. What are you reading right now? Should I check it out??

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