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Last week, I was at the Royal Festival Hall to see the great Stephen Sondheim promoting his new book, “Finishing the Hat”, the complete lyrics from 1954 – 1981.  In conversation with Jude Kelly, he set out his golden rules for lyric writing, which could be adapted to most creative forms: 
  • Content dictates form
  • Less is more
  • God is in the details
  • All in the service of Clarity, without which nothing else matters
Ms Kelly asked him about how to deal with creative blocks and he said that if faced with a blank sheet of paper, just write something, anything, even if it is just, “cat, cat, cat, cat, cat...” because this gets the thinking process started. 
Twyla Tharp, in her wonderful book, “The Creative Habit”, talks about when as a novice choreographer she didn’t know how to start a dance, so she just took a deep breath, stamped her foot on the spring wooden floor and shouted, “Begin”.  This led directly to her creating a dance, “The Fugue” which was performed in silence on an electronically amplified floor. 
The key is that when you feel blocked and don’t know what to do, what action you take isn’t the important thing, simply that you take action.  You never know where it might lead.

If this has struck a chord with you and you want to find out if coaching will support you into taking action, check out how we could work together and get in touch.

1 Comment to Begin!:

Comments RSS
Sarah Gilfillan on 01 November 2010 23:04
What great advice! I always find the most difficult bit is actually getting started - it usually works though, if I throw down any thoughts on paper in a random fashion, then it can start to take shape after's possible some "cats" may still be popping in to say hello (or should that be miaow?) now and again though!
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