Magazine article Art Business News

The Key to Creativity? Discipline: How to Establish a Daily Creative Ritual

Magazine article Art Business News

The Key to Creativity? Discipline: How to Establish a Daily Creative Ritual

Article excerpt

I decided to get this out of the way up front with this, my first column for ABN. Normally I try to avoid this topic, probably because it is not one of my own strongest qualities. I try--I really do--but if I don't remind myself constantly, I fall back into old habits. But after all these years of being an artist, I've finally figured out the key to being successful: Discipline.


Renowned dancer and choreographer Twyia Tharp has said that she starts off each day by getting into a taxi and going to the gym. For her, getting into the taxi is her daily discipline. If she can just make it there, then the rest is history ... and we all know how her career turned out. (Her 2003 book, the Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life, has been translated into six languages.)

While reviewing the list of artists in an exhibit I recently curated, I was struck by how all of them are extremely disciplined when it comes to their artistic careers. Each one gets up every morning and sticks to his or her daily routine, whether it involves devoting all day to their art or working for an hour or two before starting their other jobs.

Another common denominator is that they all start their days with a physical ritual; whether it's stretching, running, lifting weights, meditation or yoga, the ritual is the same every day.

Washington, D.C.-based mixed media artist Anne March and is a good example of an artist who has kept the same routine for years, and she has a successful career to show for it.

Her routine goes like this: Morning Meditation Breakfast Computer/Office Work Studio Time exercise Dinner

As you can see from Marchand's routine, she alternates between energizing the mind and energizing the body. This feeds her creativity and keeps her energy level high. Food and exercise have a great influence on your creativity and the actual artwork that you create. …

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