When my approach to creativity, idea-finding, and the whole imaginative life starts to get a bit cluttered, dull, and dry, I go to a specific volume on my writing bookshelf.
If I realize that I've let some self-pitying and some boo-hoo-hooing into my creativity, I reach for a certain guide.
And if I know that I've been taking it too easy and now need a real ZING:
Yup. You know it.
I grab that same book.
And so if you're in the mood to do a spring cleaning of your creativity—whaaaat?! heck yes, we're going there!—then this is the book you want too.
So how is this gonna spruce up our creativity?
Well, for starters, it just looks clean, with its white cover, lots of white space on the pages, grey and black type, with the occasional splash of red.
The book-nerd in me (wait, that's all of me) flat out loves it right from the start for looking so bracing.
And once you're into it and reading, the actual text and tips are sooooo refreshing.
Because Tharp is a choreographer. Her natural creative language is the language of dance.
... Which doesn't make this book inaccessible, by the way: she's talking to all creatives, and uses examples from business, painting, music, and yes, writing.
I'm grateful for her new-to-me perspective, because it's easy for us writers to keep sharing similar tips over and over, right? Advice begins to sound the same.
But not with this book.
Tharp's whole approach always resets me. It's where I go when I'm craving creative clarity, precision, no nonsense, and a general butt-kicking.
And in this book, she takes us through her whole process, start to finish. She talks about where a project begins, how you find ideas, and what your natural creative stance is. (She calls it your creative DNA. Cool, right?)
Then she gets into the nitty-gritty of how to approach a single piece of work. The role our skill plays. How to deal with failure, how to get out of a rut.
And—my favorite, favorite, heartbeat-picks-up kind of stuff—how to be in this game for the long term, how to find your groove, and how to get into a creative bubble and make your best work.
Every time I finish this book, I think: DANG.
And then also: YES, PLEASE.
Can I please be every bit as passionate as she is about creativity after thirty-plus more years of doing this?
Can I be at master-level? Can I be so savvy and calm about how creativity works? Can I be continually doing my best work?
Fortunately, we can. Because she just told us how.
So there you go: pick up this book when you want something mega-inspiring and incredibly helpful, full of a fresh and practical approach to creativity.
Sound good?? Happy cleaning.