Tharp’s next two chapters focus on building one’s skills and recognizing the ruts/grooves as part of the creative process. For some, building skill may begin earlier than for some. Others may require a stronger, more structured foundation of building skills. No matter the way, the skills are necessary to sustain a creative endeavor. With that, skill requires practice and a can-do attitude. All of any practice requires hard work, but also for it to become sustaining, it requires a purpose. The author offers a self-assessment of one’s skills to review how these may assist with building a creative practice. Her next exercise is 20 questions to assist with being in the present moment for any topic. Her last two exercises review how time has contributed to one building skills, to be aware of the time absorbers or distractions. She poses the question if there was one skill one would not have at their disposal, would they still be able to create, to review how these have an impact on one’s ability to do their work. The author defines a rut as the inability to begin, and a groove as one is moving forward without effort. One cannot make any transitions until they know what is needed, and being able to identify they are in a rut. She gives a working method of helping the reader identify what is not working, and being able to write or make a list of the assumptions they might have about what is not working. With each assumption she suggests to challenge them, and then act up on the challenge. In other words, do the verb. Take some action. Each day is a new day to practice reviewing what worked and what did not. She ends the chapter with an exercises devoted to “know when to stop tinkering” and turning the ruts into productive action.
I encourage you to buy a copy of The Creativity Habit for a better understanding of your own creative process. Whether you're a master artist or beginning artist, this is an excellent book.