Carla immediately replied that her biggest aha moment was discovering Tharp’s theory on “creative DNA”. And that that once she recognized – and understood her own creative DNA – it changed her life and how she works.
So what does Tharp mean by creative DNA? “Creativity is learned, nourished, and maintained; for inspiration to flow through us and spring forth from the mind, you must prepare, have rituals that invoke it...know how to scratch the surface of things to extract the essential, use the accidents and incidents that that appear in our life, have an idea-base which serves as a backbone for our creation, use our talents wisely, recognize roadblocks and the moments that overtake us, know how to fail, and pace ourselves over the long term – to the very end.” Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit.
Tharp’s book includes 33 questions to help you figure out your own creative DNA, if you haven’t already. It certainly made me think about my own creative habits, and I adopted several practices from Tharp that have helped me gain clarity and stay focused during challenging times.
This is a really different book – and it’s fun and effective, especially for those who don’t enjoy reading. The Art of Silliness is all about drawing, doodling, and playing for just 10 minutes a day.
Of course, once you start doodling, those 10 minutes usually drift into an hour or so. But it’s a great way to relax and tickle your creative mind by tapping into your playful side.
Carla told me that when she feels stuck, this is exactly what she does to get unstuck. She plays around, doodles, sketches, taps into her inner kid “...and before long, I’m picking up a pencil...” and away she goes.
Do you have habits, rituals, practices that work for you? I'd love to hear them!
*You can hear the interview with Carla Sonheim here, or at Conversations Live with Vicki St. Clair. (Carla's segment begins about halfway through!)
Carla Sonheim is a painter, illustrator, and creativity workshop instructor known for her fun and innovative projects and techniques designed to help adult students recover a more spontaneous, playful approach to creating. She is the author of Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists: 52 Creative Exercises to Make Drawing Fun, and The Art of Silliness: A Creativity Book for Everyone.
See more about Twyla Tharp and her books.