Monday, September 14, 2015

NYT Best-Selling Author, Ruth Harris and the Creative Habit

The Creative Habit

Since we’re all creative people here, I want to mention the best book I have ever read about creativity. It’s The Creative Habit by the noted choreographer, Twyla Tharp.

An elegant book physically, pleasing to the eye and the hand, The Creative Habit is generous, authoritative, intelligent and well written. Each page brims with advice, specific how-to’s, questionnaires and exercises about how to open your mind, overcome fear, deal with failure, defeat distraction, clarify your thinking, make your way through confusion. There is guidance about how to find solutions when you know something’s wrong but don’t even know quite what the problem is or how to define it.

Using an extremely wide-ranging set of examples ranging from Homer to Proust, from Ulysses S Grand to Ludwig Wittgenstein and Pope LeoX, from Merce Cunningham and George Balanchine to Ansel Adams, Raymond Chandler, Mozart and Yogi Berra, TCH offers a detailed road map based on Ms. Tharp’s own journey to defining her own creative identity. Practical, down to earth and never flinching from the nitty-gritty, Ms. Tharp explains the importance of routine, ritual and setting goals, how to know the difference between a good idea and a bad idea, how to recognize ruts when you’re in one and she offers explicit guidelines about how to get out of them.

Her advice is useful for beginners—and also to more experienced creators. She candidly describes what, specifically, she did to make the transition from habits that served her well in the past to creating varying approaches that lead to exciting new break throughs.

You will find out about the value of “doing a verb” and about building a bridge to the next day, about the relationship between failure and success, the miracle of second chances and what to do when denial is no longer an option. It is hard for me to imagine any writer who won’t learn from or be inspired by a book that is part memoir, part manual, part how-to.

KISS AT KIHALI ... romantic suspense set in an African animal orphanage.
I wrote this book to help bring attention to the brutal poaching which is bringing rhinos and elephants to the brink of extinction and to the valiant men and women who are working to protect these vulnerable creatures.

Ruth Harris is a #1 Amazon and million-copy New York Times bestselling author and Romantic Times award winner for "best contemporary." Ruth writes about strong, savvy, witty women and her "emotional," "entertaining" books have been translated into 19 languages, sold in 30 countries, and were prominent selections of leading book clubs including the Literary Guild and the Book Of The Month Club. Reviewers have called Ruth’s books "brilliant," "steamy," "stylishly written," "richly plotted," "first-class entertainment" and "a sure thing."

Find Ruth - Blog, Twitter, Google+, and Anne R. Allen’s blog

35 comments:

Murees Dupé said...

Wow, two great books that I have to check out. I always struggle with creativity, and actually admitting that I'm a creative person. Great post.

Just Keepin It Real, Folks! said...

I sure could learn some helpful hints from The Creative Habit. Thanks so much for the review.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Ruth and Alex - fascinating post .. and I looked up Wittgenstein ... really interesting for a variety of reasons. The Creative Habit - looks to be just what so many of us need ... the habit of moving forward and progressing.

I love the idea of Ruth's book too .. baby rhino - essential to look after wildlife and its environment - wherever we are in the world. Cheers Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Thanks again, Ruth!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I own a lot of motivational books, but not that one. Thanks for the tip.

Christine Rains said...

I haven't heard of this book. I definitely must check it out. Thank you, Ruth! :)

Pat Hatt said...

Sure sounds great to get the creations flowing

Linda Kay said...

Thanks for the recommendations, Ruth, and good luck with your book. Sounds like a great cause to bring to our attention.

Gwen Gardner said...

Thanks, Ruth, I need The Creative Habit right now. I will go check it out.

Ruth Harris said...

Murees—I hear where you're coming from. Asserting our creative identity is sometimes challenging!

Just Keepin—Hope you find Twyla Tharp's approach helpful. She is thoughtful and inspirational.

Hilary, thanks for the kind words. Anyone who gets ideas from Yogi Berra AND Ludwig Wittgenstein is someone to admire—and emulate! Hope you enjoy A KISS AT KIHALI. After all, when's the last time you fell in love with a baby rhino? ;-)

Alex—Thank *you*. I'm honored to be invited!

L. Diane—Hope you find Twyla Tharp as inspiring as I did!

Christine—Thank you for the kind words. :-)

Pat—Twyla Tharp is one of the great creators of our era. It's so unusual for someone like that to show others the *how* behind her work.



Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

It's great to know that someone as successful as Ruth Harris still refers to other works for inspiration.

Ruth Harris said...

Susan—No woman is an island! ;-)

Bish Denham said...

I might have to check out The Creative Habit. Sounds very interesting!

Nadine_Feldman said...

I love books that inspire creativity. Every now and then I need that boost of support. Thanks!

Ruth Harris said...

Bish—Thanks! I hope the book inspires you. Whenever I feel blah, Twyla picks me up. :-)

Nadine—I think we all need that boost now and then! Comes with the job. ;-)

cleemckenzie said...

I love the idea of creativity being a habit. That's one perfect habit to have!

Ruth Harris said...

Clee, perfectly expressed!

Denise Covey said...

I love anything about creativity. Blogged about it today. A great habit to practise.

Lux G. said...

The creative habit is the habit I need to have. I need a little push and honing and guidance in that area.

Ruth Harris said...

Denise—Great idea for a blog!

Lux—A creative habit is the writer's gold mine. :-)

Michelle Wallace said...

Thanks for introducing us to Twyla Tharp's book. I popped over to Amazon to take a peek. It sounds like a gem.
Kiss At Kihali sounds like a wonderful story!

Ruth Harris said...

Michelle—I hope you find some good ideas in TT's book and hope you enjoy A Kiss At Kihali!

Robyn Campbell said...

Fabulous review. Thanks for posting, Captain. A Kiss At Kihali sounds great. I see it over at Amazon. I MUST have it. Love books like this. And The Creative Habit must be such a great read. The notion of creativity as a habit is exactly what I need right now. And the best part? I found two new books to add to my TBR list.

diedre Knight said...

Terrific post! And exactly what I needed (and didn't even realize!). The Creative Habit has effectively become first on my list of writing essentials with "A kiss at Kihali" running a close second for enjoyable reading!

Ruth Harris said...

Robyn—The idea that creativity should be a habit really impressed and inspired me. A creative way of looking at creativity...what could be better? Hope you enjoy A Kiss At Kigali!

Dieter—Thanks for the kind words! I hope both books live up to your expectation. :-)

J.L. Campbell said...

Thanks for the introduction. This sounds like a book every creative should own.

Ruth Harris said...

J.L.—Agreed! Hope you enjoy it.

Sherry Ellis said...

The book is aptly named. Creativity is a habit. Sounds like a great read.

Ruth Harris said...

Sherry—I hope you find Twyla's idea inspiring and helpful!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

You sold me, Ruth. Thanks. I'm off to check out The Creative Habit. And God knows, I need help!

Ruth Harris said...

Joylene—Don't we all? lol Hope Twyla gives you at least some of the help you need!

Fundy Blue said...

Hi Ruth! Sorry I'm just responding now, but I'm traveling. Great post on Alex's blog! I will be checking out both Twyla's book and yours! thanks for being a guest on Alex's blog!

Ruth Harris said...

Funny—ThankYou! ThankYou!

Pat Garcia said...

Hi,
Just want to say thank you. I was on the road, attending a writer's workshop. This post is wonderful. Thanks for the book recommendations.
Shalom,
Pat

Ruth Harris said...

Pat—Welcome back and thanks for the kind words! Hope you find the book inspiring.