27 May 2013

"The Creative Habit" read along - Chapter 5

If you would like to join the closed Facebook group dedicated to this read along to discuss the book in more detail, please send an email to Lynn at FibraArtysta@earthlink.net with your email address.

This is the fifth installment of the read along for "The Creative Habit" by Twlya Tharp.
Chapter 1 and 2 of the read along can be found in this post.
Chapter 3 of the read along can be found in this post. 
Chapter 4 of the read along can be found in this post.

* The read along is one week behind and posts will go up on Mondays from now on instead of Sundays. Thanks! :)

Chapter 5 - Before You Can Think Out of the Box, You have to Start with a Box

This short chapter is an interesting one. Tharp talks about how she organizes the research for projects she works on.

A plain simple box. Stored on scaffolding. Her choices reflect her creative mindset - her want of sturdiness and simplicty.

You all know the struggle I've waged with my studio. I'm calling in the big guns to help with that in a few weeks and it's my goal to have a resolution by the end of the year.

What I'm realizing is that I want functionality above all else. A way to simply corral projects easily and cleanly. But more then just physical organization, it's an insight into inspiration. All those little jumping off points that collide together to make a project a whole. But these are just things - the creating is up to you.

Tharp says: "The box is not a substitute for creating. The box doesn't compose or write a poem or create a dance step. The box is the raw index of your preparation. It is the repository of your creative potentional, but it is not the potential realized."

But she also stresses that the box can be a crutch. She continues, "We all know people who have announced that they've started work on a project - say a book - but some time passes and when you politely ask how it's going, they you that they're still researching. Weeks, months, years pass and they produce nothing. They have tons of research but it's never enough to nudge them toward the actual process of writing the book."

At that point she says to abandon it, move on and start something new. Sometimes we hit on projects that just don't have the momentum we want to move forward for whatever reason. There's nothing wrong with setting it aside and moving on. The idea being that if you've corralled all your research into one place, it will be there waiting for you when you are ready.

I find this happens fairly frequently. I have no shortage of ideas but not all of them have the steam to move on to reality. But I spend time on them and I put reasonable effort into them before sticking a fork in the whole thing and declaring it stalled. And I hang on to what I've done, it might be useful in another way to a different idea.

It's interesting to think of physical boxes as a means to corral not only research and materials but as a metaphor for releasing projects that just aren't working anymore.

How about you? Do you find that the way you organize your current projects is a direct reflection of your creative process?

Next Monday we'll discuss Chapter 6 - Scratching.  Happy reading! :)

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