Stuck, with the Impulse to Create: 25 Creativity Quotes to Inspire and Remind

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We’re all creatives.

I’ve been thinking of this recently – even more than usual – given that we’re all in quarantine due to the pandemic with more time on our hands – or at least a different kind of time on our hands. Our routines and schedules have been upended.

This is the perfect scenario for the flow of creativity.

I’ve heard from several people recently about how the impulse to create has swelled up inside them, but they’re feeling stuck. As I wrote in a post in February, before COVID-19 changed our lives, inspiration is a myth. (I also think writer’s block – or any creative block – is a myth.)

I get that people feel blocked, but I think part of the problem with the concept of the myth is that it’s based on misconceptions about what creativity is and what it looks like.

Below, I offer some quotes on creativity. I hope they shift or shake up any misconceptions you have about what it means to be creative.

So you can create.

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.”

Steve Jobs


“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.”

Maya Angelou


“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.”

Kurt Vonnegut


“Creativity is intelligence having fun.”

Albert Einstein


“Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye.”

Dorothy Parker



“Creativity involves breaking out of expected patterns in order to look at things in a different way.”

Edward de Bono


“Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.”

Pablo Picasso


“The creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything.”

Virginia Woolf


“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination.”

Jim Jarmusch


“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
Sylvia Plath


“If you hear a voice within you say, ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.”

Vincent Van Gogh


“To speak of creativity is to speak of profound intimacy. It is also to speak of our connecting to the Divine in us and of our bringing the Divine back to the community.”

Matthew Fox


“In the end, there is no ideal condition for creativity. What works for one person is useless for another. The only criterion is this: Make it easy on yourself. Find a working environment where the prospect of wrestling with your muse doesn’t scare you, doesn’t shut you down. It should make you want to be there, and once you find it, stick with it.”

Twyla Tharp


“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.”

Salvador Dali


“Creativity is an energy. It’s a precious energy, and it’s something to be protected.”

Ava DuVernay


“Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.”

Leo Burnett


“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.”

Jack London


“Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas”

Donatella Versace


“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.”

Ray Bradbury

“Creativity is a way of living life, no matter our vocation or how we earn our living. Creativity is not limited to the arts, or having some kind of important career.”

Madeleine L’Engle


“Creativity is a drug I cannot live without.”

Cecil B. DeMille


“I see your life as already artful, just waiting and ready for you to make it art.”

Toni Morrison


“Creativity takes courage.”
Henri Matisse


“To be creative means to be in love with life.”



“The artist is the only one who knows that the world is a subjective creation, that there is a choice to be made, a selection of elements.”

Anais Nin



Anais Nin: On writing and being…

On Writing

To write is to descend, to excavate, to go underground.

I am in a beautiful prison from which I can only escape by writing.

The final lesson a writer learns is that everything can nourish the writer. The dictionary, a new word, a voyage, an encounter, a talk on the street, a book, a phrase learned.

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.

My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.

It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.

If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.

We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.

Solitude may rust your words.


On being

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

Good things happen to those who hustle.

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow.

The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.

Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.

Ordinary life does not interest me. I seek only the high moments. I am in accord with the surrealists, searching for the marvelous.

Shame is the lie someone told you about yourself.

When one is pretending the entire body revolts.

Don’t let one cloud obliterate the whole sky.

Only in the fever of creation could she recreate her own lost life.

Living never wore one out so much as the effort not to live.

There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another, unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another.