Welcome! There are more than 900 Inspirational Quotes For Writers, Artists and Other Creative Leaders on this site.
Spend a few minutes exploring. And come back again and again for other inspirational quotes.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Anton Chekhov

"Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint on the broken glass."

Russian Writer
1860 -1904

Writing is in the sharing of details.  Even the smallest detail helps to create the story.  Writers are cautioned again and again not to tell, but to show.  If you tell, you are placing judgement on the story.  If you show, you are allowing the reader to make up his own mind.  And I think the same is true of painting.  The goal is not to show the moon hanging in the sky, but to see it reflected in the plants and trees.  Painting is about light and shadow.  You know the sun or moon is there even if you can't see it.  You see the light on the leaves.  Dig deep and reveal the details.  The story is build on the details.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Denis Waitley

"There are two primary choices in life:  to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them."

American Speaker/Writer
1933 - 

Do you accept your world as it is or are you willing to change it and make it better?  As creative leaders we have a choice —  to make things better or leave them as they are.  If you are unhappy with your life, then change it.  If you are not happy with your art, then change yourself.  Practice more.  Study more.  Create more.  Life is about choice.  Don't waste time blaming others.  Don't blame your parents.  Don't blame God.  Don't blame your education.  The choice is yours.  Choose to be a winner.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Leonardo da Vinci

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."

Italian Painter/Creative Leader
1452 - 1519

Sometimes we make the world too complicated.  We need to learn to simplify our lives, our work and our creative expressions.  What can you leave out of the painting that will make it stronger?  What can you leave out of your short story that will make it better and more meaningful to your readers?  What can you leave out of your poem that will make it more powerful?  Strive to achieve simplicity in all that you do.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Alfred North Whitehead

"No one who achieves success does so without acknowledging the help of others.  The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude."

English Mathematician/Philosopher
1861 - 1947

Who have been your mentors?  Who have helped you along the way?  I believe we must from time to time stop and acknowledge those who have assisted on our journey through life.  Most people start with their parents and move on to their teachers.  My parents gave me a start by paying for my college education.  I was the first in either my mother's or father's family to graduate from college.  So I have much to be thankful for.  And my teachers have been numerous, whether in the classroom or in books or in day-to-day living.  And don't forget your children and grandchildren.  They teach us parents so much.  They help us to return to the passion of our youth.  How about the person who hired you into your current job.  They saw something in you that others did not.  I could list hundreds of people who have touched my life from beggars whom I gave a handout to the Presidents of companies.  And don't forget your neighbors.  The person who mowed your yard when you were sick.  The minister who married you.  The banker who loaned you money.  We have so much to be thankful for.  Yet, how easily we forget and feel we have nothing.  It is time to develop an attitude of gratitude.  Give thanks today.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Lucille Ball

"One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn't pay to get discouraged.  Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself."

— Lucille Ball
American Actress
1911 - 1989

It is very easy for creative leaders to become discouraged and depressed when their ideas don't work out.  Yet what good does it do to wallow in self-pity and discouragement?  We become less productive and might even stop creating all together.  The challenge is to find ways to keep our chin up and to keep moving forward.  Having spent the first 35 years of my life as a pessimist, I know it takes work to become an optimist.  And it is easy to backslide.  Being down on ourselves does us no good.  We need to keep the faith.  We need to believe in ourselves.

Here's part one of a documentary of Lucille Ball's life.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ralph Ellison

"It takes a deep commitment to change and an even deeper commitment to grow."

American Novelist
1914 - 1994

Change and growth require commitment.  People dream of changing their lives but usually they lack the deep commitment to do so.  Change takes hard work and follow through.  Nothing changes overnight.  Many in the American society expect instant change.  Not happy with your body weight, take a pill or have surgery.  Not happy with your body, have plastic surgery.  Change takes commitment and patience.  It is better to lose weight slowly than quickly.  Becoming a writer doesn't happen overnight.  It takes years.  Actors often are labeled an overnight success — a success which took ten or fifteen years.  Harrison Ford, the actor, spent 15 years in Hollywood before he got the break in Star Wars that made him famous.  Creative expression is a lifetime commitment.  Don't give up.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bernice Johnson Reagon

"Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are."

American Singer/Composer
1942 - 

We all face challenges in life.  How we handle these challenges helps to form our character and our soul.  Sometimes these challenges will knock us off our feet and leave us lying face down in the mud.  We must find the strength to climb to our feet and regain our courage.  Only in distress do we learn who we really are.  What challenges are you facing today?  Have the challenges knocked you down?  Have you picked yourself back up?  What are you learning about yourself?  

Here is Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon performing Old Ship of Zion.  You have to hear this.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

E. B. White

"Your whole duty as a writer is to please and satisfy yourself, and the true writer always plays to an audience of one."

American Writer
1899 - 1985

People today are often told to target their audience and write what their audience wants to read.  The same applies to artists and other creative leaders.  Young singers on American Idol are encouraged to know the audience their music most appeals to.  And there is some truth in this philosophy.  You can find success writing, singing and painting for a particular audience, both financially and personally.  And as creative leaders we do want success.  

But great writers and artists create for themselves and wait for their audience to find them.  Because if you are not satisfied by what you create, you will ultimately disappoint yourself.  You will feel that you betrayed your gift to secure the almighty dollar.  Your job is to satisfy that deep need within yourself to create what you choose to create.  

I have written poetry for over 35 years with little commercial success.  Yet I have written what I wanted and needed to write.  And maybe some day long after I am dead, my writing will find an audience.  And maybe it won't, but at least I have been true to myself.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Isak Dinesen

"These difficult times have helped me to realize how infinitely rich and beautiful life is.  And that so many things one worries about are of no importance whatsoever."

Danish Writer
1885 - 1962

Sometimes we let the difficulties of living block our realizations of how beautiful life actually is.  Even in the worst of times, there are positive things happening.  The sun does come up every day, even when all we see are clouds.  Many of our worries never come to pass, yet we allow ourselves to spend thousands of hours imagining what could happen.  Most things that we worry about don't happen and when they actually occur, there was nothing we could have done to prevent them from happening.  So stop worrying and start enjoying the beautiful life that is in your hands.  Besides, what is the worst that could happen — we might die.  Then our worries will be over.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gwendolyn Brooks

"I felt that I had to write.  Even if I had never published, I knew that I would go on writing, enjoying it and experiencing the challenge."

American Poet
1917 - 2000

Creative individuals must create.  Whether you write, paint, draw, sing or dance, your soul demands that you create.  If you don't, a part of you will die.  Unfortunately, our society says if don't publish and sell your work you are not successful.  This is far from the the true.  Success exists in the process of creation, not in publication or performance.  Don't give up because no one has bought your paintings or that you can't make a living from your writing.  It's okay to take a job to pay the bills and then spend those spare moments creating.  Creative work is what our spirits need and demand.  Don't deny your spirit.

Here are five poems by Gwendolyn Brooks.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Rollo May

"Creativity arises out of tension between spontaneity and limitations, the latter forcing the spontaneity into various forms which are essential to the work of art or poem."

Rollo May
American Author/Psychologist
1909 - 1994

I spent seven years writing and studying haiku.  The 5-7-5 three-line form is seen by some as very limiting.  Yet, there is freedom and spontaneity within the limits of the form.  Do you want to challenge yourself? Then impose some limits on what you create.  After I moved on from haiku, I created my own 7-line and 20-line poems.  I limited how much I could say by the number of lines.  Online you can find the six word story.  The challenge is to tell your story in six words.  Another blog publishes fiction that is 25 words long, composed of 5 sentences with each sentence being 5 words long.  It is called 5 X 5 fiction.  The same can be done with painting.  There are artists who commit to painting a painting every day.  That is a major limitation.  Here is a link to Angela's blog where she posts a new painting every day.  What limitations are you challenging yourself with?  Remember limitations can increase the creativity.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Jasper Johns

"As one gets older one sees many more paths that could be taken.  Artists sense within their own work that kind of swelling of possibilities, which may seem a freedom or a confusion."

American Artist
1930 -

Fool's House
When I begin to write a short story, I see many paths for the story to take and I have to make choices.  The excitement comes in the choosing.  Sometimes the path ends and I have to retreat and find another path.  Sometimes the path branches and again I have to choose which direction to go.  The same is true when I start a painting.  So many paths.  So many possibilities.  And the same is true of life.  So many paths.  So many choices.  Some become paralyzed by having too many choices.  After I graduated from college, I was paralyzed because I did not know what to do with my life.  Too many choices.  Or in my mind, too few choices.  Once I made a choice, the path began to take shape and I followed it where I needed to go.  And I arrived where I was supposed to be.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Anna Quindlen

"The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself."

American Author
1953 -

Like many people, I have for much of my life tried to be perfect.  The perfect student.  The perfect son.  The perfect employee.  The perfect husband.  The perfect writer.  The perfect father.  The perfect speaker.  It took me years to understand that I would never be perfect.  That my character contained flaws, many of which I could not see or understand.  Perfection is impossible.  I can never be perfect in the eyes of others.  I can only be me with my unique strengths and weaknesses.  I have come to the point where I don't have to spell every word correctly.  I don't have a panic attack when I send out an email with mistakes.   I don't worry when I slur my words when I speak.  

How about you?  Have you kicked the perfection habit?  Or do you beat yourself up every time you make a mistake?  The next time you screwup give yourself a pat on the back.  Celebrate the fact that you are human.  Treat yourself to a massage.  And most of all, forgive yourself.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Raymond Chandler

"Technique alone is never enough.  You have to have passion.  Technique alone is just an embroidered pot holder."

American Novelist
1888 - 1959

Are you passionate about you create?  Are you passionate about your subject matter?  Are you passionate about your medium?  Technique without passion is cold and empty and rarely touches the hearts of people.  Passion without technique still has the power to bring people to tears.  Passion with technique is great art.  Have you perfected your technique?  Have you encouraged and cultivated your passion?  What are you passionate about?  What keeps you awake at night?  What fills your spirit with love?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Rosanne Cash

"Reading inspirational and motivational quotes daily is like taking my vitamins."

American Singer/Songwriter/Author
1955 - 

You and I live in a very negative world.  Just listen to the news on TV, read the daily newspaper and listen to the people around you.  If we want to remain positive amidst this negativity, we need to give ourselves daily doses of motivation.  We need to daily feed our minds and our hearts with inspirational words.  We feed ourselves food daily because we are hungry.  We take baths regularly because we become dirty.  The same is true for our spirit.  We are in charge of what enters our minds, our hearts and our souls.

The reason this blog is called Daily Inspiration is because each of us needs to feed positive energy into our spirit.  So how can you use the the positive quotes I share with you everyday?  Here are some ways to daily feed your soul.
  1. Memorize each quote and repeat it to yourself throughout the day.
  2. Write the quote down and reread it throughout the day.
  3. Share the quote with others and tell them what it means to you.  
  4. Meditate on the meaning of the quote for 10 - 15 minutes.
  5. Keep a journal and write down what the quote means to you and how you will apply it to your life.
Here is Rosanne singing The Wheel.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Natalie Goldberg

"Some people write for fifteen years with no success and then decide to quit.  Don't look for success and don't quit.  If you want writing, write under all circumstances.  Success will or will not come, in this lifetime or the next.  Success is none of our business.  It comes from the outside.  Our job is to write, to not look up from our notebook and wonder how much money Norman Mailer earns."

— Natalie Goldberg
American Writer
1948 -

The creative arts are not about fame and fortune.  They are about creating.  If success is what you seek then you ought to pursue another profession.  For every actor who becomes rich, famous and invited to the Oscars, there are thousands who act in small community plays for the love of it.  For every writer who reaches the best sellers list, there are thousands who toil daily with neither recognition nor financial rewards, simply for the love of writing.  For every musician whose songs top the music charts, there are millions who sing at church or in the shower.  Our work is to create, not to become rich and famous.  Are you focused on creating or are you daydreaming about being rich and famous?

Here is Natalie Goldberg:

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Aung San Suu Kyi

"If you're feeling helpless, help someone."

Burmese Author/Political Activist
1945 -

Have you ever felt helpless?  That there was nothing you could do?  It is easy to get discouraged and want to quit — to feel that what one does doesn't matter.  Yet we must pick ourselves up and keep going.  There is always hope.  When you are down, find someone to help.  One of the great paradoxes is that when we help others we help ourselves.  By giving of ourselves to others we are giving to ourselves.  We all need to believe in something beyond ourselves.  For some of us, our artistic creations are what we believe in.  We find hope and strength in our creativity.  For others, their strength and hope comes from helping those less fortunate.  You are never helpless, if you can help someone else.

Here is Morley, a singer and songwriter, who was so inspired by this quote that she turned it into a song.  Listen to the words and watch the images.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Portrait of Michelangelo
by Jacopino del Conte
"I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free."

Italian Artist
1475 -1564


Creative leaders see the world differently than others.  They see things that others do not see.  Do you see the angel in the marble?  Have you set him free?  Don't be afraid of what you see.  Don't worry that you may be crazy.  What you see makes you very special.  Trust yourself.  You won't lead yourself down the wrong path.  Believe in the angels locked in stone.  Believe that you can free the angels.  Believe that the world will be a better place because of what you created.  Believe in your talent.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Marian Wright Edelman

"Failure is just another way to learn how to do something right."

American Activist
1939 - 

Too often we believe failure is something bad.  We have been conditioned by our parents, our schools and society to believe that failure is a negative.  We need to change our perspective of what failure means.  A failure is an opportunity to try again — to start over, to have another chance.  A failure is not the end of the road unless we give up.  Failure is a great teacher.  We learn about ourselves and others.  Sometimes we learn more in failure than we do through success.  So the next time you receive a rejection slip, view it as an opportunity to learn and grow.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Aimee Bender

"It seems the best work I do is when I am really allowing the unconscious to rule the page and then later I can go back and hack around and make sense of things."

American Novelist
1969 -

The unconscious mind is a powerful tool for the creative leader.  The unconscious is able to make tremendous leaps and build connections between very different images and words.  Encourage yourself to listen to your unconscious.  Cultivate your unconscious.  Explore your unconscious.  Dance with your unconscious.  Leap into the unknown.  Connect with that which you don't know.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Chinua Achebe

"Art is man's constant effort to create for himself a different order of reality from that which is given to him."

Nigerian Novelist/Poet
1930 -

Through our painting and writing we have an opportunity to recreate the world as we want it to be.  We have the ability and the opportunity to alter reality.  The world into which we are born can be changed.  We can change our story by retelling it in new ways.  Have you changed your story?  Have you altered the reality in which you live?  Or are you caught up in facts as reality?  The more you can alter and change reality, the better artist you will become.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Maya Angelou

"You can't use up creativity.  The more you use, the more you have."

American Poet/Writer
1928 - 

Creativity is a gift that we all possess.  If you have ever watched a small child play, you know this is true.  Children before they attend school have such powerful imaginations, yet through the many years of schooling much of this imagination is lost as the children are forced to conform to the world of adulthood.  Only the strongest hold onto their imagination and continue to think in ways that upset the mainstream.  The more we use our imagination the stronger it grows.  If we don't use our imagination, it withers and disappears.  Are you encouraging your imagination and that of the people around you?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Robert Henri

"There is no art without contemplation."

American Painter
1865 - 1929

Do you take the time to contemplate your work?  Sometimes we need to step back and process our work.  We need to let it sit for a few days or weeks or even months.  Often when we come back to the work, it is with renewed energy and ideas.  We quickly solve problems that before were obstacles.  Take a day off from time to time to give the creative juices some rest.  To paraphrase an old saying:  "All work and no play, makes Jack a dull artist." 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

"Great art stretches the taste, it doesn't follow tastes."

American Businessman/Inventor
1955 - 2011

If you want to achieve greatness, don't follow the pack.  Don't go where others are going.  Choose the path least traveled or create a new path.  Create the world as you want it to be.  Steve Jobs was a visionary.  He took a path that few others could see.  The role of creative leaders is to lead the way to new worlds and new opportunities.  Great artists have a vision of where they want to go and what they want to achieve.  What is your vision?  What path are you on?  Are you leading the way or are you following the pack?

(Quote Source:  Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

J. K. Rowling

"It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities."

British Novelist
1965 - 

The choices we make help determine the person we become and what we accomplish.  Did you choose to write today or to watch TV?  Did you choose to help a stranger or did you buy something for yourself?  We make choices every minute of every day.  Did you choose to brush your teeth or comb your hair?  And these decisions impact our lives.  Some decisions have an impact immediately and others take years to materialize.  When I was in my 20's and 30's I played volleyball.  I was known for diving without knee pads on asphalt and hardwood floors to save a ball.  I felt very little pain at the time.  Now 30 years later those dives have come back to haunt my knees and me.  What choices are you making to day that will impact you tomorrow.  Again, I ask:  did you write or paint today?  Or did you go to a movie?  The choices we make tell us who we are, not whom we want to be.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Boris Pasternak

"I don't like people who have never fallen or stumbled.  Their virtue is lifeless and it isn't of much value.  Life hasn't revealed its beauty to them."

Russian Poet/Novelist
1890 - 1960

We all make mistakes.  We stumble and fall.  None of us are perfect no matter how much we try not to mess up.  And from one perspective life would be boring if everyone was perfect.  Think about what the world would be like if no one lied, had affairs or committed murder.  What would writers write about?  Even the best of us have skeletons in our closets.  And it is our failures that make us artists, writers and musicians.  We have a need to communicate these failures to the world.  How have your failures influenced and shaped your art?  How have your mistakes colored the life you live?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Gunther Grass

"Even bad books are books, and therefore sacred."

German Novelist
1927 - 

Let me expand this quote to say that even bad art is sacred.  I believe the creative process is a sacred act.  I think we have too many critics who are quick to criticize.  If someone has the stamina to write a novel, the person is a success.  It's like running a marathon.  Just finishing is success.  If a person has the courage to paint a picture, the person is successful.  If I ask 10 different people what they think about a painting, a novel, a poem or a song, I would probably get 10 different opinions ranging from terrible to great.  We try to make arts competitive by ranking them in terms of quality.  The arts should not be competitive.  Respect the creator.  Honor the creator.  Respect the creative process.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Vaclav Havel

"Vision is not enough — it must be combined with venture.  It is not enough to stare up the stairs, we must step up the stairs."

Czech Playwright/Poet/Politician
1936 - 2011

Over the years I have met people who wanted to write a book.  They dreamed of being successful writers, but they never put pen to paper.  Having a vision of what you want to accomplish is very important to success, but vision without action is disaster.  Don't desire to be a write.  Write and someday you will be a writer.  Don't desire to be an artist.  Paint and someday you will be a artist.  Dreaming about what you desire is of no value unless you act upon your desire.

Vaclav Havel was a rare writer who had a vision and took action.  Not only did Havel put his vision into writing, he also took action and became the ninth and last President of Czechoslovakia and the first President of the Czech Republic.  

Don't just dream of success, but take action and climb the stairs one step at a time and you will reach the top.

Here is a news report and tribute to Vaclav Havel.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Wanda Koop

"There's an assumption that because I'm an artist, I've got all the time in the world."

— Wanda Koop
Canadian Painter
1951 - 

If people know you are an artist, writer or musician, they don't think you work.  They assume they can stop by anytime and you will drop what ever you are doing so you can entertain them.    They believe you should have no problem serving on various committees because you have time on your hands.  What they don't understand is that creative work is also mental work.  Even if you are not physically working, you mind is working overtime.  As creative leaders we need to learn to say no.  Don't allow others to steal time away from your work.  Stand strong and firm even if they beg.

Here is an interview with Wanda Koop.