Book Category: Creative, Motivational,

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life (book summary)

Author: Twyla Tharp
Life Changing Principles
Quality of Writing
Overall Value
pros: Very insightful and practical, lots of great takeaways
cons: A bit basic in a few places
overall rating


Tharp provides some powerful insight on how to be more creative by stressing that it is an intentional process built around great habits.


  • The best creativity is a result of good work habits.
  • There are no “natural” geniuses.
  • In order to be creative you have to know how to prepare to be creative.
  • If art is the bridge between what you see in your mind and what the world sees, then skill is how you build that bridge.
  • Everything is raw material. Everything is relevant. Everything is usable. Everything feeds into my creativity.
  • To get the creative habit, you need a working environment that’s habit-forming.
  • Subtracting your dependence on some of the things you take for granted increases your independence.
  • Solitude is an unavoidable part of creativity. Self-reliance is a happy by-product.
  • We all have strands of creative code hard-wired into our imaginations.
  • Venturing out of your comfort zone may be dangerous, yet you do it anyway because our ability to grow is directly proportional to an ability to entertain the uncomfortable.
  • Metaphor is the lifeblood of all art.
  • Habitually creative people are, in E. B. White’s phrase, “prepared to be lucky.”
  • Inexperience erases fear.
  • You do your best work after your biggest disasters.


  • There is no ideal condition for creativity. Make it easy on yourself and don’t overthink it.
  • Eliminate distractions.
  • Don’t forget the difference between the narrative and plot. Plot is “The queen died; the king died.” Narrative is “The queen died; the king died of a broken heart.”
  • Plan only to a point.


“Every day you don’t practice you’re one day further from being good.” – Ben Hogan

“The most important thing is not what the author or artist had in mind to begin with but at what point he decided to stop.” – D.W. Harding

“Each day, we wake slightly altered, and the person we were yesterday is dead.” – John Updike

“Good engineers ship.” – Tracy Kidder