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Twyla Tharp on Creative Motivations and Failure

Over at Lateral Action (a new-to-me blog I’ve now subscribed to), Mark McGuinness posted this video of choreographer Twyla Tharp talking about motivation and failure in creative pursuits.

I’m most taken with what she says about doing what you love and having the money follow. However counterintuitive it might seem, this is one of the most profound things I’ve experienced in my own career. CrochetMe.com was a labour of love that never made a dime of profit, but it presented me with outstanding professional opportunities. Even on a smaller scale, when I write from my passion, far more people respond than when I force myself to sit down and write about things I think people are interested in.

When I keep in mind the core principles that animate me—and I use the term quite literally: when I’m excited, I wave my arms about—everything else, including the money, comes more easily. When I force it, I get nowhere.

What do you think? Does anything she says resonate with you?

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annie

The best argument for national healthcare. If we don't have to follow some [bad] group insurance, we don't have to stick with a job that is unsuitable, and we can contribute so much more to the world around us. (I once shared a cab with Twyla, little known factoid about me…)

Eva

It all sounds terrific on film and paper but the reality of it is, the majority of people are unable to do this. Some of us have to work if we want to eat and provide for our families. It doesn't always work this way for everyone, especially single parent families etc.

phoenix

A bit late to the conversation: What resonated with me on a personal level was her perspective on the relationship between failure (I quoted that on my own blog) and the balance between being creative alone but still being in touch with others. Making a commitment to a creative lifestyle is scary because it can involve a level of risk that most people do not feel is acceptable and almost certainly feel is selfish. It's not a lifestyle that favors safety and sure bets and failure is not just likely but inevitable. Unfortunately it's not considered responsible to put yourself in the position to allow yourself to fail. For every icon like Thwarp, whose triumphs will dwarf her failures and as a result make them seem a necessary part of the journey, there are those who will risk it all only to be seen as utter failures exercising poor judgement, their minor success lost in judgement. It is perceived to be more responsible to care of business, possibly to the detriment of your soul than it is to take care of your creative self to the detriment of your business and have faith rather than security that things will work out in the end. Because the financial rewards are so slight, there is almost definitely a sacrifice of some values that many people feel are sacrosanct. Not just the money, but the basic ability to care of yourself and your family. That's when all the naysayers comeout of the woodwork saying “You can't… you shoudn't… you have to…” It's hard not to let those people get you down and dictate your choices, but you can't isolate yourself from them either. Creative people have to be communicators and one can't do that alone. By the way, did you see Twyla Tharp… Read more »

phoenix

A bit late to the conversation: What resonated with me on a personal level was her perspective on the relationship between failure (I quoted that on my own blog) and the balance between being creative alone but still being in touch with others. Making a commitment to a creative lifestyle is scary because it can involve a level of risk that most people do not feel is acceptable and almost certainly feel is selfish. It's not a lifestyle that favors safety and sure bets and failure is not just likely but inevitable. Unfortunately it's not considered responsible to put yourself in the position to allow yourself to fail. For every icon like Thwarp, whose triumphs will dwarf her failures and as a result make them seem a necessary part of the journey, there are those who will risk it all only to be seen as utter failures exercising poor judgement, their minor success lost in judgement. It is perceived to be more responsible to care of business, possibly to the detriment of your soul than it is to take care of your creative self to the detriment of your business and have faith rather than security that things will work out in the end. Because the financial rewards are so slight, there is almost definitely a sacrifice of some values that many people feel are sacrosanct. Not just the money, but the basic ability to care of yourself and your family. That's when all the naysayers comeout of the woodwork saying “You can't… you shoudn't… you have to…” It's hard not to let those people get you down and dictate your choices, but you can't isolate yourself from them either. Creative people have to be communicators and one can't do that alone. By the way, did you see Twyla Tharp… Read more »

401k_roth_ira

Oh!…that's great helpful, it's so right to me! Million thanks for the article,

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