McNiff opens the last section of the book on a call to understand that everything in life takes a practice. He encourages his reader to review presenting life challenges, and within a repetition practice, become aware of how new techniques helps one see what works and what does not. But what he found that gives the most satisfying results, is a commitment to a disciplined practice. The necessary ingredient in any practice is time. Time to mature as a creative. Creativity is a process. It is through a willingness to use time, learning “repeatedly," what works and what does not to strengthen the creative muscles.
In Chapter 20, McNiff again encourages his reader to review their environment with fresh eyes. Asking how one environment can be boring to some yet stimulating to another. He suggests the reader consider one’s environment as though they were a stranger in a new land, seeing it for the first time. He presents other reflective exercises in this chapter to strengthen the imagination muscle. McNiff’s intention is to shift the reader’s perspective in how they might “have always done things,” to a view of how the perspective as a stranger changes one’s daily routines. For example, if one creative approach was to draw, he suggests to possibly water color or paint. The focus is to keep changing to the stranger perspective, that seeing something for the first time assists with gaining a better sense of new materials. His hypothesis is that one does the same things over and over to find the familiarity and to possibility avoid potential conflict. Conflict is the agent of change, and useful in development of the creative consciousness. McNiff suggestion for artists to distance themselves from their artwork, as that habit produces more of the same. The author shares other prompts to expand the reader’s ability to see in new ways their creative growth.
There are reoccurring themes in one’s artwork. Repetition creates a focus to find variations and strengthens the creative muscles toward innovation. In chapter 21 McNiff takes the reader through various reflection methods to experiment with their creative expression, no matter whether it’s painting, song writing, or writing music. He states Picasso was not worried about the repetition within his own works. Yet McNiff cautions, new artists are concerned about “the task of inventing something completely new.” He expands this as it is one of the largest obstacles for a beginning creative, that is the assumption that "creativity always involves the invention of something new.” Creativity comes through the play and exploration of materials, elements, environments, emotions, etc. Much like a river, allowing it to flow - expression is like a river, through which a creative stream flows imagination. Let every river of creation return to the sea of imagination ...to that instinctive source of expression - PLAY.
I encourage you to buy a copy of Trust the Process for a better understanding of your own creative process. Whether you're a master artist or beginning artist, this is an excellent book.