Welcome! There are more than 900 Inspirational Quotes For Writers, Artists and Other Creative Leaders on this site.
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Albert Camus

"In the depth of winter I finally learned that there was in me an invincible summer."

French Algerian Novelist
1913 - 1960

Inside each of us is more strength than we realize.  We are stronger than we think and often it isn't until the winter of our lives that we realize how strong and capable we were.  You can do more than you think you can.  You can achieve more — paint more, write more and dance more.  And you can bear more pain and suffering than you think you can.  Don't forget to call on this strength when you need it.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mother Teresa

"We can do no great things — only small things with great love."

1910 - 1997

Each painting we paint, each poem we write and each story we tell is an act of love.  Don't try to do great things.  Try to create small things with great love and you will accomplish great things.  It is important to love what you do and to feel that it matters — to know that you make a difference each day you paint or write.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Jackson Pollack

"Every good artist paints what he is."

American Artist
1912 - 1956

Painters and writers are attracted to the subjects they are supposed to paint and write about.  Are there certain themes that run through your work?  Do you paint the same type of picture over and over?  I paint, draw and sculpt lots of masks and it does not matter what medium I  am working in.  In my poetry you will find the themes of God, death and sex.  Pretty boring, right.  Every writer talks about God, death and sex, but what makes us unique is our approach to the subject.  I have never met a writer who talks about God in the way that I do.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Han Suyin

"There is nothing stronger in the world than gentleness."

Chinese novelist
1917 -

Are you gentle in your relationships with others or do you run over people with a Mack truck?  The myth about creative leaders is that they are temperamental and self-centered.  They abuse themselves and others.  I think true strength comes in being gentle with others and in being gentle with ourselves.  As artists and writers, we can be most abusive with ourselves.  Our art never lives up to our expectations.  The product is never as good as we saw it in our mind's eye.  We should learn to accept the gift that we have been given and not compare our work to that of other people.  We are not them.  We are each unique in the gift that we have been given.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die,
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

American Poet/Novelist
1902 - 1967

Are you flying high or do you have a broken wing?  Have your dreams died and lost their attraction?  Then maybe it is time to find a new dream — a new desire to give life hope.  Dreams do change as we age.  What was once important is now less important and something new has to take its place.  Art is a new dream for me in the last ten years.  Writing is a dream that has now held me in its grip for over forty years.  Here is a piece on dreams I wrote when I turned forty.

"If I woke up one morning and realized that all I ever was going to be was a business man, I'd probably die.  All my dreams would be shattered.  Early in life I had many dreams.  I dreamed of being a great basketball star.  I dreamed of being a preacher.  I dreamed of saving the world from war and racism.  And I dreamed of being a great poet.  Today, I dream only of writing."  (From an essay: The Writing Years: A Look Back)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jonathan Winters

"I couldn't wait for success . . . so I went ahead without it."

American Comedian/Actor/Artist
1925 - 

Ah, this statement hits home.  If you spend your life waiting for success, it may never come.  Keep doing what you need to do.  If that is to paint, then paint.  If that is to write, then write.  If that is to sing and dance, then sing and dance.  The key is not to wait on success because when it comes you may not recognize.  It may be disguised in the love of a soul mate or in the gift of friends.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Vincent van Gogh

"What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?"

Dutch Artist
1853 - 1890

What stories do you tell yourself about fear and courage?  We all have times when we are afraid and times when we have the courage to conquer our fears.  Being afraid does not mean we do not have courage.  Failing to act because we are afraid sometimes is in our best interest.      Taking action when we are afraid is sometimes foolish.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Morihei Ueshiba

"Contemplate the workings of this world . . . . Study how water flows in a valley stream, smoothly and freely. . . . Everything — even mountains, rivers, plants and trees — should be your teacher."

Founder of Aikido
Japanese Author
1883 - 1969

Friday, October 22, 2010

Robert Henri

"The real artist's work is a surprise to himself."

American Artist
1865 - 1929

Are you surprised by some of the things that you write or paint?  Or do you feel like you are in a rut?  As artists and writers we need be willing and open to change.  We need to surprise ourselves by what flows from our pens.  Sometimes it is too easy to paint the same thing over and over.  Or to write the same prose again and again.  Picasso was an artist who reinvented his art again and again.  He never clung to one style or technique.  Some novelists are the same way.  No two novels are the same.  Where as, genre writers tend to create the same person, the same story over and over.  Once they have achieved success they stop growing and changing.  Ask yourself this question from time to time: Am I surprised by what I create?  

Thursday, October 21, 2010

William James

"Be not afraid of life.  Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact."

American Writer/Philosopher
1842 - 1910

Every person is unique.  There has never been a person just like you and there will never be a person just like you.  The life you lead is yours.  Nobody can lead the same life and do the same things, so that makes you special.  

Do not judge yourself by how much money you make or how much power you have or the creative work you produce.  Your success lies in the lives of the people you have touched.  And if that is only one person, then you are a success.  All of us in some way will touch the lives of our parents and our siblings.  So from the moment we are conceived, each of us is successful.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dag Hammarskjold

"What is one to do on a bleak day but drift for a while through the streets — drift with the stream."

Swedish Diplomat/Author
1905 - 1961

Drifting is an art that many of us have never learned.  In our fast pace world where we seek to climb the ladder of success and produce more and more artistic work, we never stop and rest.  Even our vacations are full of doing.  We joke about going back to work in order to rest from our vacation.

In farming, there is a concept of letting the field lay fallow for a year — not to plant any crops.  The soil needs a break in order to replenish itself.  And the same is true of artists and writers.  We must learn to rest — to drift without direction or purpose, to lay fallow in order to replenish and restore our souls.  We must learn to enjoy a warm autumn afternoon simply for the sake of enjoying.  

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Mark DiSuvero

"To achieve poetry in a piece of sculpture, one must know how to dream, how to draw the dreams, and how to see the interwebbed, interdependent dance of this beautifully colored energy field that we too bluntly call 'life' or 'world.'"

American Sculptor
1933 - 

Each moment of our lives is a dream.  Let's dance with the energy of the world and see the bright colors vibrating around our faces.  When will we wake from this world of possibilities and take measure of what has happened?  When will we become one with the energy?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Paulo Coelho

"When you find your path, you must not be afraid.  You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes. Disappointment, defeat, and despair are the tools God uses to show us the way."

Brazilian Novelist
1947 - 

I remember when I was first writing I would ask the question that many people who first find the creative path ask:  Do I have talent?  And I hoped that some wise teacher would say that I was a talented writer and that I should devote myself to writing.  Now, having trod this path for years, I know that no one can affirm or deny my talent.  It is what it is.  We all have creative talent.  We can either put it to good use or squander it.

But there is a question within the question.  When we ask do we have talent, the hidden question is:  Will I be rich and famous?  And the answer for many of us on the creative path is no.  Most creative leaders will work in obscurity and receive only a pittance for their labors.  If money and fame is your desire, there are easier paths to walk.  To walk the creative path is do it because you love it.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Georgia O'Keefe

"Come quickly.  You mustn't miss the dawn.  It will never be just like this again."

American Artist
1887 - 1986

How much do we miss because we don't take the time to see it?  How many sunrises or sunsets have you spent time just enjoying the beauty?  Or are you like me — running from place to place, not spending time enjoying the beauty of nature?  I have lived through over 22,000 sunrises and 22,000 sunsets.  I would be lucky if I saw 200 of them.  I could probably count on one hand those I remember.  How much we miss because we are busy elsewhere!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Helen Keller

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched.  They must be felt with the heart."

American Author/Speaker
1880 - 1968

What is it that cannot be seen or touched?  Love?  Friendship?  Beauty rests in the heart.  We spend a lot of money and time seeking physical beauty, painting physical beauty and writing poems about physical beauty, but true beauty can only be found in the hearts of those we love.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Theodore Roethke

"May my silences become more accurate."

American Poet
1908 - 1963

Many of us are afraid of silence.  We have a need to fill the the air waves with noise — television, radio, music.  And for those living in cities there are the sounds of cars, trucks, sirens, airplanes and neighbors fighting.  I enjoy external silence because it allows me to think, but I rarely experience internal silence.  My thoughts are always bubbling to the surface, brandishing their weapons.  Can you hear the silence when you are painting?  Do you listen to the silences between the words that you utter?  When I teach people to speak in public, I talk to them about the importance of silence — of learning the pregnant pause, of giving your audience the time to catch up with your words.  Storytellers understand the power of silence.  We must learn to appreciate silence, to enjoy its many flavors.  Sometimes we can learn more from silence than all the words ever spoken or written.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

General Colin Powell

"There are no secrets to success.  It is the result of preparation, hard work, learning from failure."

American Author/Soldier
1937 - 

Some people look for the easy way, the next get rich scheme and the short-cuts to the top.  They don't exist for most of us.  If you want something bad enough, it takes preparation, hard work, learning from failure and persistence.  As artists and writers we understand this because we sometimes labor for years or even a lifetime with little or no success.  My words are simple:  keep writing, keep painting, keep living.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mayumi Oda

"Creativity is not a driving force.  It happens.  It creates itself and you have to be open."

Japanese Artist
1941 - 

When we become caught up in the day to day detail of living, we often forget about painting or writing.  I often suggest to people that they write or paint every day even when  they don't feel like it.  If you develop a habit of painting or writing every day, you will be ready when the spirit of creativity arrives and you will invite her into your soul.  You will awake from her visit astonished by the gift she gave you.  Be open every moment for a visit from your muse.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Paul Klee

"Color possesses me.  I don't have to pursue it.  It will possess me always.  I know it.  That is the meaning of this happy hour: color and I are one.  I am a painter."

Swiss Artist
1879 -1940

Writers paint with words.  Painters write with color.  Are you possessed by your art?  Are you driven to create?  Are you one with the words that you use to write your poems, your stories and your novels?  Do you go to sleep with colors dancing in your head?  Do you hear the voices of your characters?  Can you taste the lives of the people you paint?  

Monday, October 11, 2010

Marc Chagall

"In our life there is a single color, as on an artist's palette, which provides the meaning of life and art.  It is the color of love."

Russian Artist
1887 - 1985

We paint our lives with the color of love.  What color is love in your life?  Love is about relationships and the color of love changes with the people we love.  Parent-child love is certainly a different color then woman-man love.  What color is friend love?  Or sibling love?  How about pet love?  Can you paint a picture of love just using color and no people?

Do you love creating art?  Do you love writing?  What color is the love of creation?  Do you have a passion for what you create?  What color is passion?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Henri Matisse

"I don't paint things.  I only paint the difference between things."

French Artist
1869 - 1954

What attracts you?  What do you gravitate towards?  Do you paint children?  Dogs?  Landscapes?  Mountains?  What do you write about?  Crime?  Troubled families?  Other worlds?  Aliens?   God appears a lot in my writings.  Not intentionally on my part.  He just pops up.  When I doodle and draw, masks appear.  We are all attracted to certain things.  The deeper question is why are you attracted to what you paint and write about.  What motivates and inspires your art?  Only you can answer that question.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Wrestling With God

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Albert Camus

"Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower."

French Novelist
1913 - 1960

My wife and I were sitting on the back porch today enjoying the autumn morning.  Autumn is my favorite month.  If I had to rank the seasons from most favorite to least, here is my ranking:  Autumn, Spring, Winter, Summer.  What is your favorite season?  As artists, writers and creative leaders, we are affected by the seasons.  I studied and wrote exclusively haiku for seven years and the key to understanding haiku lies in the seasons.   Many of us have lost touch with the seasons.  We live in heated and air-conditioned buildings where the environment is controlled.  The further we get from the farms and the fields, the more we lose touch with the individual nature of each season.  I like winter because it cleans the cobwebs out of my brain.  I love spring because of the renewal and rebirth.  Summer with its heat overwhelms me.  My brain melts once the temperature gets above 75 degrees.  Autumn, though, brings me back to myself and I reflect on the importance of life.

This quote from Camus, the French novelist, caught me by surprise this morning.  The phrase, "Every leaf is a flower," makes me see the world anew and I find it to be true.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Edvard Munch

"Art is the opposite of nature.  A work of art can come only from the interior of man."

Norwegian Artist
1863 - 1944

Even in the most realistic work of art, nature has been altered and changed by the artist.  We as creative leaders alter the world, change it fit our perspective, our view of how things should be.  This is what makes every painter, novelist, poet and musician unique and different.  No two of us are alike.  Who we are changes what we create and what we create changes who we are.  We are not God.  We are different than God.  We are other.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Theodore Roosevelt

"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are."

American President
1858 - 1919

Some creative leaders always have excuses of why they can't paint, or write or dance.  "I will get to it when I have more . . . time or money or less responsibility."  You have to make time.  Most of us will never have enough money.  You need to do it now.  Don't wait until the time is right because it will never be.  Paint every day.  Write every day.  Even if it is only for 15 minutes.  DO IT.  Tomorrow will never come.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Paulo Coelho

"We must never stop dreaming.  Dreams provide nourishment for the soul, just as a meal does for the body."

Brazilian Novelist
1947 -

What are your dreams?  What would you like to do?  Where would you like to go?  What places would you like to visit?  I would love to visit China because of the history and the past civilizations.  I want to Japan because of my interest in haiku.  I want to visit Peru because of the Inca civilization.  I have traveled to 45 of the 50 states in the United States.  I have been fortunate to step foot on the soil of Jamaica, Canada and Mexico.  For me as a creative leader, visits to other places stir my imagination and allow me to see the world in new ways.  Again, I ask what are your dreams?  Are you feeding your soul?  Do your dreams give you nourishment?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Pablo Picasso

"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." 

 Pablo Picasso
Spanish Artist
1881 - 1973

The time we spend creating is like a splash of sunshine on a rainy day.  It helps to cleanse the soul and free the spirit.  I am most enthused when I am creating.  Have you ever wondered why humans have created art, literature, music and stories?  What is the value that creative works bring to the survival of the species?  Sure, you can argue that technological advances bring value to the survival of the species.  But a painting or a poem or a statue?  What value do they bring?  Or is there more to life than the survival of the species?

Who receives more pleasure and joy the person painting the picture or the person who looks at it?  The person who writes the novel or the person who reads it?  The person who composes the music or the person who listens to it?  Why do so many later in life turn to the creative arts?  After the child rearing is done?  The career has peaked?  

What is the value of poem?  A painting?  A song?  A story?

Monday, October 4, 2010

David Campbell

"Discipline is remembering what you want."

— David Campbell

Creative leaders sometimes struggle with discipline.  They procrastinate.  They know they should pick up the pen and write or pick up the paint brush and paint, but they find excuses.  This quote hits the nail on the head.  If you are procrastinating, remember what you want.  What is your dream?  What is it you want to accomplish?  Why are you here?  Focus on your goals and you will have the discipline to do what you need to do.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Isaac Bashevis Singer

"Two important things are to have a genuine interest in people and to be kind to them.  Kindness, I've discovered, is everything in life."

Polish Novelist
1902 - 1991

Are you curious about people?  Are you interested in their stories?  Novelists and storytellers need to have a strong interest in people.  To tell a great story, a novelist has to understand people and their motives.  I think the same is true of a portrait artist?  In order to paint someone, an artist needs to see inside the person.  An artist is painting more than the surface.  An artist must paint the heart and soul of a person.  So again, my question:  Do you seek people out and listen to their stories?

The second part of this statement is even more important — being kind to others.  The world is in need of a lot of kindness today.  Kindness must start one person at a time.  I must first be kind before I can expect others to be kind.  Am I kind to those around me?  To family, friends and strangers on the street?  How should I demonstrate my kindness?  How do I show my caring?  Can you be kind without loving the person?  What is the demonstrable difference between love, caring and kindness?  Or are they cut from the same cloth? 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

John F. Kennedy

"When power narrows the area of man' concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence."

American President/Writer
1917 - 1963

This is a fascinating quote from one of the most powerful and famous people in the 20th century.  The wielding of power narrows one's focus.  We usually think the reverse of people with power.  They can do anything they want.  But Kennedy is saying that power actually limits what you focus on — what you are engaged in.   Poetry, for Kennedy, served the purpose of broadening his focus and open up new worlds of understanding.  And I think art, music, and novels do that as well.  Our jobs tend to keep us focused on a narrow group of topics.  Reading books, listening to music and observing art can carry us out of ourselves to other worlds. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Tuli Kupperberg

"When patterns are broken, new worlds emerge."

American poet
1923 - 2010

Are you in rut doing the same thing over and over?  Do you need to break or change the pattern and see the world from a different angle?  Creative insight comes from breaking down the old way of seeing and looking with new eyes.  Climb a tree and see the world differently.  Stand on your head and change your perspective.  Turn that vase upside down and paint it in a new color.  Paint an onion on top of child's head.  Break your patterns and visualize the world anew.