Creative Habit: Honor the Process

I started this series in August 2015 on the founding principles of Twyla Tharp’s book The Creative Habit.

            “The routine is as much a part of the creative process as the lightning bolt of inspiration, maybe more.”

I fully believe that creativity is not just something you simply wait around for, hoping it will come. It’s not something that strikes you out of thin air. It’s not a stroke of magic. Creativity is something you work for, tirelessly, day in and day out. But in this belief, I fear I’ve lost track of the fact that the routine is not a part of creativity itself but a part of the creative process.

Creativity has been and always will be a process. In today’s world – a world that’s obsessed with results and a world that tells you only have value and worth when you’re producing creative output – it’s no wonder that creatives are losing sight of the beauty and possibility and joy in the process.

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For about six months now, I’ve been cultivating something – I’ve been deep in the creative process. In the spring, my objective was to achieve the end product by this fall. In the summer, my goal shifted, and I set out to complete the process by the end of the year. Now, it’s mid-October, and I can clearly see and feel – I know – the process isn’t over yet.

No, I’m not waiting for a lightning bolt of inspiration. I’m simply honoring the creative process and allowing myself to be present in the somewhat uncomfortable flux that comes before you reach that pivotal moment when you release a creative project into the world.

You can make a creative routine. You can practice creativity every day. You can work on your craft every spare moment. You can explore other creative mediums and fill yourself with creative inspiration whenever possible. But you can’t force the creative process, nor should you. In fact, you should savor it, linger in it, and enjoy it.

This month, challenge yourself to honor your creative process. Slow down. Appreciate the journey. Stop measuring yourself and pressuring yourself. Don’t just sit and wait for creativity to fall into your lap, but don’t rush your creative process.

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