Friday, January 22, 2010

5 Books about Fostering Creativity (Productively)

Pursuing creative work of any kind usually presents daunting challenges that often yield fascinating lessons about life. Of course these challenges are only fascinating as long as you are a dispassionate observer and not actually trying to get your work done. As both a musician and a writer I find that the birthing process of bringing a performance, or an essay, to life requires a very different skill set than seems to be required of other people who live around me, i.e. “normal people.”

The ugly reality is that inspiration doesn’t always show up at the time I have set on my appointment calendar. And, part of living this life is, to a large extent, a question of overcoming your personal demons, rather than expressing your innate talents. Toward this end, I have learned that the most important part of creating work that matters is to remain persistently engaged in doing the work. In other words, I need to stay with a given project long enough to see at least a reasonable facsimile of my vision come to life. As Woody Allen is famously quoted as saying, “90% of success in life is showing up.”

Here is a list of books that I have found incredibly helpful as I have worked to "show up" and craft my own personal work process around the rest of my daily life.

1. Bayles, David and Ted Ortland. Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking (2001)

2. Pressfield, Steven. The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles (2002)

3. Ristad, Eloise. A Soprano on Her Head: Right-Side-Up Reflections on Life and Other Performances (1982)

4. Shahn, Ben. The Shape of Content (first edition, 1957)

5. Tharp, Twyla. The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life (2003)

Posted via web from pkpiano's posterous

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