Where’s your Pencil?
Where’s Your Pencil?In her book, The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life, Twyla Tharp offers some exercises that will help you develop a creative habit. One of her first exercises, “Where’s Your Pencil,” discusses the importance of having your most essential tool with you when you leave home.
Since reading this exercise, I decided that the notebook and pen combo is my essential tool as a writer. Last year I got into the habit of carrying a big tote bag whenever I went somewhere. The purpose was to get some writing done during unexpected pockets of time. The bag usually has a few notebooks and a handful of pens. (I go through pens like crazy!) There are some other things in the bag like a reference book or a magazine for inspiration.
I learned that I wrote more and I captured those fleeting thoughts when I had the bag with me. However, I don’t have any measurable results to see if it really has helped my creativity. If anything, I created more opportunities to write something down when I had the bag with me. There have been one or two instances when I wanted to write something down and didn’t have pen and paper. Very frustrating!
And maybe that is the real object for the exercise. It’s to train a person to get into a creative mode and record an idea whether it’s good or bad, usable or useless. I may not use all or any of the ideas, but the process makes me alert for anything that could be used in a story. I’m hunting for an idea rather than waiting for the idea to come to me.
I’m curious what others have as their “pencil.” I have a feeling they might be more high-tech. I imagine quilters use their smart phones to capture a color combination or business men use an iPad to record their thoughts when they’re trying to find a creative solution to a problem.
What’s your pencil?
Bio: Susanna Carr is a national bestselling romance author. Visit her blog at http://susannacarr.com/blog as she tries out other exercises and techniques to improve creativity.