Cultivating the Creative Habit

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

I agree with Twyla Tharp.

I think art for some of us has to be a kind of determined,

intentional creative habit that we submit to.


I think habit is the right word for me.

But it is a habit that we have to hook ourselves into.

We have to manufacture our own psychological twitch.

We have to lace our own blood with the gnawing, clawing,

need to sit down and knuckle under.

This is what keeps the writer writing, the painter painting.

Sometimes, we cherish  that whisper-that breath of the muse to wake

up imagination but sometimes the muse is otherwise engaged.

You can’t rely on inspiration.

But you can rely on good old habit and discipline and yes routine.

They will see you through the hard part.

When we wait for the muse to inspire us–

or we wait for an opportunity–

to be invited, discovered, adored, chosen–

we can wait a long time.

And while we are waiting our work does not improve.

While we are waiting our creative muscles don’t stay firm.

While we are waiting our ideas don’t deepen and mature.

So if you are allowing yourself to wait for inspiration,

I think you are missing out on a chance

to become even more inspired through your work.

I think the creative path is like a spiritual practice.

it’s a matter of submission.


I need to surrender.

I need to come humbly to the work.

I need to bow my head and submit to the demands of the work.

Think about it. If you have a deadline you do what you need to do.

At least that is how it is for a lot of people

The deadline causes us to comply. It scares us somehow.

We obey. We apply ourselves to the task.

You know it’s funny–but when actors and writers

are invited to send an example of

their work–in the actor’s case to audition–

in the writer’s case– to send a manuscript,

these are the words that are used.


This is usually interpreted as an opportunity to deliver–

to offer– for consideration.

Don’t be fooled. That is not what it means.

We are being invited to chain ourselves to our heart’s desire and do the work

we came here to do. God Bless Us.

I believe that I need to come humbly and submit every day.

It is not my talent or my experience or my great idea–

that will write my play, my novel or paint my painting.

No it’s my creative habit.

That is why I am sitting here on this brilliantly beautiful  winter day,

tapping away at a blog post that few will

read.  I am enslaving myself to my creative habit.

I want to be so addicted to this that I will get the

shakes if I don’t do my work. Well maybe not. But I’m prone to hyperbole.

Oh and speaking of Twyla Tharp here is something of what her

Creative Habit has produced.

2 responses to “Cultivating the Creative Habit”

  1. Yes! Yes! Yes! You did it again Lynna…captured exactly what has been on my mind lately! I LOVE this ~ “But I am cultivating an addiction to my creativity
    so that my habit is stronger than my resistance.”

    You are such an amazing person. I for one am glad you stayed inside to write this Blog 🙂


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