Creative Autobiography

I'm re-reading Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit in preparation for the summer project. I've come up to the part on Creative Autobiography and thought it would make for some good posts.

I like Twyla Tharp's book. It provides me with tactile examples on how to do creative work. I'm a strong believer in gathering as many tools possible. The Creative Habit has some great exercises and practices. Some of the ideas are easier to read than to implement, but it inspires me to look at how I create what I do, and why I create what I do.

The Creative Autobiography is an exercise from the book that takes aim at answering the question: Why do we create what we create? It is part of a chapter on Creative DNA; the building blocks that drive a person's creativity. Some of these genetic strands we are born with, and others we learn and assimilate through our environment and history. The full list of Creative Autobiography questions is below. I'm going to try and tackle one or two per post for the next little while. If you think the questions might be of use to you, try answering a few and see what you discover. If your interesting in the book, you can find it on Amazon (US) - this is not an affiliate link, I earn nothing by you clicking on it.

Creative Autobiography questions:

  1. What is the first creative moment you remember?
  2. Was anyone there to witness or appreciate it?
  3. What is the best idea you've ever had?
  4. What made it great in your mind?
  5. What is the dumbest idea?
  6. What made it stupid?
  7. Can you connect the dots that led you to this idea?
  8. What is your creative ambition?
  9. What are the obstacles to this ambition?
  10. What are the vital steps to achieving this ambition?
  11. How do you begin your day?
  12. What are your habits? What patterns do you repeat?
  13. Describe your first successful creative act.
  14. Describe your second successful creative act.
  15. Compare them.
  16. What are your attitudes toward: money, power, praise, rivals, work, play?
  17. Which artists do you admire most?
  18. Why are they your role models?
  19. What do you and your role models have in common?
  20. Does anyone in you life regularly inspire you?
  21. Who is your muse?
  22. Define muse.
  23. When confronted with superior intelligence or talent, how do you respond?
  24. When faced with stupidity, hostility, intransigence, laziness, or indifference in others, how do you respond?
  25. When faced with impending success or threat of failure, how do you respond?
  26. When you work, do you love the process or the result?
  27. At what moments do you feel your reach exceeds your grasp?
  28. What is your ideal creative activity?
  29. What is your greatest fear?
  30. What is the likelihood of either of the answers to the previous two questions happening?
  31. Which of your answers would you most like to change?
  32. What is your idea of mastery?
  33. What is your greatest dream?

Fun Fact: I first learned of Twyla Tharp's book from Merlin Mann of