“Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits. That’s it in a nutshell. The”
― Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life
We’ve all got tons of habits. A few of mine: I pour my morning fruit juice while the dogs take their morning constitutional. I clean house on Friday mornings while doing laundry. And in the last week of every month, I mail out a big pile of handmade cards to friends and family.
Those are average, normal habits. How about creative habits? Do you have any?
I’ve watched for the last week to note a few of my own:
- I spend evenings with sketchbooks and the evening news and movies or favorite tv dramas.
- To loosen up for watercolor, I create some kind of extra-loose quick piece, sometimes in watercolor, but often in watercolor powder – which forces me to think loosely.
- I create at least a little something while still in pajamas and bathrobe, while I wake up. It happens more often if I’ve cleaned the studio up the night before – that’s a habit I really would like to start.
Developing good work habits can have a real impact on anything in life, including our creativity…the quote by Twyla Tharp – a choreographer – is written by someone who knows the value of going to the gym to keep the body in shape for dance. What habits help keep us in shape as artists?
Be consistent. Imagine if we went to the gym only once every 3 weeks. Would we expect to lose weight or tone up? Of course not! But we are concerned when 2 hours on a weekend don’t bear fruit like we’d hope. Try setting a schedule to at least sit down with your favorite medium for 15 minutes a day, or at least every other day. Treat it like the gym- a necessary exercise to keep improving.
Be curious. Make a regular date with yourself to try something completely different. A medium that’s new to you – or use a medium you have in a totally new way. Don’t panic that you don’t know how to do it – just try it, even without a class or instruction! You never know what you’ll discover on your own.
Be generous to yourself. We often worry about “using up” our good art supplies in practice sessions; folks look through my Copic filled sketchbooks and panic about the ink used! (Yes, the photo in this post is Copic marker.) Give yourself permission to use your supplies generously – don’t skimp in practice sessions, because it won’t help prepare you as well for a full on art session.
Some habits are silly and automatic, some are deliberately chosen. Which describes your creative habits?