A scrapbook of stuff I'm reading / looking at / listening to / thinking about...

Posts tagged "projects"

Aug 18, 2013

Twyla Tharp’s boxes

Whenever she starts a new project, Twyla Tharp gets out a banker’s box. She writes about her system in The Creative Habit:

Everyone has his or her own organizational system. Mine is a box, the kind you can buy at Office Depot for transferring files.

I start every dance with a box. I write the project name on the box, and as the piece progresses I fill it up with every item that went into the making of the dance. This means notebooks, news clippings, CDs, videotapes of me working alone in my studio, videos of the dancers rehearsing, books and photographs and pieces of art that may have inspired me.

The box documents active research on every project….

There are separate boxes for everything I’ve ever done. If you want a glimpse into how I think and work, you could do worse than to start with my boxes.

The box makes me feel organized, that I have my act together even when I don’t know where I’m going yet.

It also represents a commitment. The simple act of writing a project name on the box means I’ve started work.

The box makes me feel connected to a project. It is my soil. I feel this even when I’ve back-burnered a project: I may have put the box away on a shelf, but I know it’s there. The project name on the box in bold black lettering is a constant reminder that I had an idea once and may come back to it very soon.

Most important, though, the box means I never have to worry about forgetting. One of the biggest fears for a creative person is that some brilliant idea will get lost because you didn’t write it down and put it in a safe place. I don’t worry about that because I know where to find it. It’s all in the box….

They’re easy to buy, and they’re cheap….They’re one hundred percent functional; they do exactly what I want them to do: hold stuff. I can write on them to identify their contents… I can move them around… When one box fills up, I can easily unfold and construct another. And when I’m done with the box, I can ship it away out of sight, out of mind, so I can move on to the next project, the next box.

Easily acquired. Inexpensive. Perfectly functional. Portable. Identifiable. Disposable. Eternal enough.

Those are my criteria for the perfect storage system. And I’ve found the answer in a simple file box.

Read more in The Creative Habit

(idea via 43 Folders, text via)

Jun 12, 2013
I start a book and I want to make it perfect, want it to turn every color, want it to be the world. Ten pages in, I’ve already blown it, limited it, made it less, marred it. That’s very discouraging. I hate the book at that point. After a while I arrive at an accommodation: Well, it’s not the ideal, it’s not the perfect object I wanted to make, but maybe—if I go ahead and finish it anyway—I can get it right next time. Maybe I can have another chance.

Dec 27, 2012
The party’s definitely finished, but you’re sort of left to do the dishes.

Jan 07, 2012
Whatever it was that I felt was the weak link in my previous project gave me inspiration for the next one.
— Joni Mitchell in a 1979 interview with Cameron Crowe

Jul 29, 2011
I never thought I’d say this but…

A bunch of stuff people never thought they’d say. This site is going to pick up because now I’m scraping stuff off of Twitter. You can add your submission, here.

I never thought I’d say this but…

A bunch of stuff people never thought they’d say. This site is going to pick up because now I’m scraping stuff off of Twitter. You can add your submission, here.

Nov 12, 2010
Looking at a blank page of paper is pretty scary, but if you’ve got this repeatable project set out, you know what you’re supposed to do.

Oct 26, 2010
Ideas are sexy and fun until they become projects.
Scott Belsky, author of Making Ideas Happen (God, this is so true)

Mar 25, 2010
Go right from the inspiration — the vision — to actually making it. Don’t think it through. Don’t talk about it. Don’t plan it. Dive in and start making it happen.
Superbrothers, in "Less Talk More Rock", a wonderful (and very well-designed) post presented by Brandon Boyer
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