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Trust the Process: An Artist's Guide to Letting Go
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Trust the Process: An Artist's Guide to Letting Go

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  760 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Whether in painting, poetry, performance, music, dance, or life, there is an intelligence working in every situation. This force is the primary carrier of creation.

If we trust it and follow its natural movement, it will astound us with its ability to find a way through problems--and even make creative use of our mistakes and failures.

There is a magic to this process that c
Paperback, 210 pages
Published March 31st 1998 by Shambhala
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3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  760 ratings  ·  27 reviews

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Feb 18, 2010 rated it liked it
The author writes about the creative process,how everyone has creativity within them, how to overcome creative blocks and ways to expand on creativity you already use.

It was a bit more philosophical than I am, but the underlying advice is good: Just do it. Do it every day, practice, practice, practice. And open yourself up to new experiences, new mediums, new ways of looking at things.

I ended up with 3 1/2 pages of notes..and of course I can't share them all with you, but here are a few:

pg 55 "
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
you might look at the title of this book and think "well, here is some real cheesy crystal healing self-help shizazzle," but MY FRIEND please give this book a chance, because actually trusting the process is some pretty deep business.

i read this book over one year and made a real recorded music album without totally freaking out and throwing it in the garbage so i'm gonna say that's a five-star book
Dec 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: art, non-fiction
This book was gifted to me years ago by an art therapist friend when I graduated from my studies, and author Shaun McNiff is renowned in the field of arts in medicine for being a voice. I realized, however, that by page 81 I started to fade...the book is a call to action, a useful book perhaps for someone just joining the field as it is basically 200+ pages of an answer to the question "Why should I do this?"

That is not to say the book is not meaningful, and there were parts that really touched
Mar 29, 2010 rated it did not like it
Oct 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Enjoyed it, but was disappointed in the lack of discussion of female artists. Only a few were name dropped, and usually next to a man's name.
Erik Akre
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who want to thoroughly enjoy making art
Shelves: artmaking
As a recommendation that is undeniable I will say, This book broke me out of a creative frustration that lasted, over-arching, for ten years or so. Since I picked up this book and began reading, in the period of one mere month (and this is no coincidence), my creative life has come into its fullest once again. I am a writer and a painter, and McNiff's simply-stated encouragement showed me directly (without saying directly) how to gently play and trust down the walls, and to find the time, that I ...more
Mar 11, 2008 marked it as to-read
Recommends it for: creative people going thru difficult times
I have not read this book yet, but it sounds really interesting. Here is the book summary: Whether in painting, poetry, performance, music, dance, or life, there is an intelligence working in every situation. This force is the primary carrier of creation. If we trust it and follow its natural movement, it will astound us with its ability to find a way through problems—and even make creative use of our mistakes and failures. There is a magic to this process that cannot be controlled by the ego. S ...more
Marcella Burnard
Jun 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I need to take this book in small bites. It is well written, but the concepts are wrapped and presented differently that the many other books on creativity I've worked with. Whether it's because Mr. McNiff's approach is deeply steeped in psychology - he mentions working in art therapy settings - or whether it's the academic turn of phrase, I had getting into the book for the first chapter or so, but then I began marking pages with passages that applied to my struggles with writing my second book ...more
Suzi Baum
Jan 18, 2012 is currently reading it
This book makes me want to meet the author, Shaun. We live in the same state- so maybe I will! I am so enjoying it. I wonder if Shaun McNiff knows Jan Phillips? They would be a great set of teachers together. xo S
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I consider this a hands-on spiritual manual. The encouragement of physical creative expression applies to all areas of life.
"Frustration, dissatisfaction and even a sense of desperation may help you access an eloquence you never new existed."
Practical inspiration!
Nov 24, 2007 rated it liked it
Another book to help get those creative juices flowing.
Jul 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art, non-fiction
one of my top favorites, also one of those special books i give to friends. even after reading it, i find myself referring to it for encouragement often.
Sep 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
Really, not a well or helpfully written book.
Feb 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The name says it all...great book about letting go and being free.
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I'm obsessed with Sam Hinkie and the Philadelphia 76ers, so I gravitated toward this as sort of a goof, but it's a really wonderful way to think about work, art, and performance--in the broadest terms possible--and find joy and meaning in what you're doing. There's nothing especially mind-blowing in this, but McNiff expresses familiar ideas in a unique and interesting way.
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a must read for anyone trying to find his or her creative voice.
T.L. Merrybard
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Been some years since I read this book. I'm surprised how much of it I had internalised, to the point where I'd forgotten where I got it from, but it influences my work every day in writing, art and music. There was even more to get out of it on the reread too. Thanks Shaun!
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Reading this book was a bit like meeting a really cool new friend for the first time at their going away party. I enjoyed it well enough, but there was a certain amount of disengagement from it that I felt because the timing just isn't right. I can think of many dark nights of the soul where McNiff's gentle but unshakable belief in our human capacity to create would have been the right thing, and I'm certain there will be more of those in the future.

And let me take a moment to admire how good t
Kate Arms
Mar 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
The perfect book on artistic process for a multi-media, intellectual, kinesthetic like myself. There is a great emphasis on engaging with artistic processes with the abandon of a child and the skill of a practiced adult, which results in a process that is connected to deeply intuitive sources with an awareness that creating a quality result is part of honouring that impulse

McNiff is a dancer, actor, and painter, and he talks about how those various arts interact in his life.

The writing style its
Aleksandr Voinov
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was ok
Edit: Adjusted the rating to 2.5 stars.

Nothing fascinates me more than the creative process (duh), but after reading about 60 pages of this, I'm finding the useful bits could have fitted on one page, so my information-processing brain capacity was starting to check my email all the time. The voice is a very zen-like drone that almost put me to sleep a few times.

There's good stuff in there, but, so far, I'm thinking that this book would have been ten times better if the editor hadn't spared the h
Dec 10, 2016 rated it did not like it
This book is about three times as long as it should be. It does have some good ideas, but the amount of repeated information/fluff made this a complete snore. In fact, I nodded off reading it more than once.
Michael Anderson
Jan 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Nice little book on being creative. Nothing really new or earth shattering, but well written. As another reviewer noted, work with the abandon of a child and the skills of an adult. It's the first part that's a bitch.
Jul 27, 2013 rated it did not like it
Not for me.
Erika Edwards
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Great book. A little on the stuffy side, but I like that about it. I have written a full review on my blog about the creative process here...
Farhat Pasha
Dec 15, 2014 rated it did not like it
art is the thrill of loading life on a canvas or wood or stone and vow he knew it
Tom Britz
Apr 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Though this book has many good things in it, they are said in a dry academic tone. I much prefer to be engaged and maybe entertained a bit, instead of reading dry unemotional information.
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May 07, 2015
Jorma Lehtinen
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Apr 06, 2014
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“Creativity cannot flourish and reach its deepest potential without the participation of its demons as well as its angels.” 7 likes
“A person’s license to create is irrevocable, and it opens to every corner of daily life. But it is always hard to see that doubt, fear, and indirectness are eternal aspects of the creative path.” 3 likes
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