Monday, December 3, 2012

"Creative Habit": #3 Your Creative DNA

In Chapter 3 of “Creative Habit: Learn it and Use it for Life”, Twyla, through many examples of creative past (Mozart, Jerome Robbins) hits home the idea that “each of us is hard-wired a certain way.  And that hard-wiring insinuates itself into our work.”  Basically, she is saying that each of us have natural inclinations that become a part of whatever we create.  Perhaps from a writer’s perspective this is your “author voice”. Twyla calls it her Creative DNA.    It’s what comes easy for us. 

She suggests that knowing your own personal DNA through some careful analysis for your work and what your impulses are will help you “see the story you’re trying to tell.”  This knowledge helps you determine 1) why you do the things you do--both productive and self-destructive, 2) where you are strong and where you are weak--which prevents a lot of false starts, and 3) how you see the world and function in it.
To help you get one step closer to understanding your creative DNA, Twyla has provided a questionnaire.  It forces us to "go back to our origins, our earliest memories, our first causes.  We change through life, bue we cannot deny our sources, and this test is one way to recall those roots." 
Knowing who you are, also tells you what you should not be doing, which can save you a lot of heartache and false starts if you catch it early on.
"Take the following questionnaire.  If even one answer tells you something new about yourself, you're one step closer to understanding your creative DNA.  There are no right or wrong answers here.  The exercise is intended for your eyes only, which means no cheating, no answers to impress other people.  It's supposed to be an honest self-appraisal of what matters to you.  Anything less is a distortion. Be instinctive.  Don't dawdle."

Your Creative Autobiography

1)       What is the first creative moment your remember?

2)      Was anyone there to witness or appreciate it?

3)      What is the best idea you’ve ever had?

4)      What make it great in your mind?

5)      What is the dumbest idea?

6)      What made it stupid?

7)      Can you connect the dots that lead you to this idea?

8)      What is your creative ambition?

9)      What are the obstacles to this ambition?

10)   What are the vital steps to achieving this ambition?

11)   How do you begin your day?

12)   What are your habits?  What patterns do you repeat?

13)   Describe your first successful creative act.

14)   Describe your second creative act.

15)   Compare them.

16)   What are your attitudes toward:  money, power, praise, rivals, work, play?

17)   Which artists do you admire most?

18)   Why are they your role models?

19)   What do you and your role models have in common?

20)   Does anyone in your life regularly inspire you?

21)   Who is your muse?

22)   Define muse.

23)   When confronted with superior intelligence or talent, how do you respond?

24)   When faced with stupidity, hostility, intransigence, laziness, or indifference in others, how do you respond?

25)   When faced with impending success or the threat of failure, how do you respond?

26)   When you work, do you love the process or the result?

27)   At what moments do you feel your reach exceeds your grasp?

28)   What is your idea creative activity?

29)   What is your greatest fear?

30)   What is the likelihood of either of the answers to the previous two questions happening?

31)   Which of your answers would you most like to change?

32)   What is your idea of mastery?

33)   What is your greatest dream?
Join us on Wednesday and Friday of this week as we continue the discussion of Creative DNA. 


  1. Good list, Marcie...I wish I could remember an answer to most of them. My past is getting foggy! Thanks for sharing this book with your readers...

  2. I love the questionnaire? So much fun!

  3. Loved the questions - thanks, Marcie!