Welcome! There are more than 900 Inspirational Quotes For Writers, Artists and Other Creative Leaders on this site.
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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Eleanor Roosevelt

Roosevelt speaking
at the United Nations
July 1947
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."

American Speaker, Author
1884 - 1962

Do you believe in your dreams?  Do you believe in the opportunities that can and will come into your life?  Each of us makes our own future by believing in our dreams.  When we give up on our dreams, we die a slow waking death.  Never give up on your dreams.  What you believe in you can achieve.  What you doubt will be cast aside and forgotten.  The dreams that you have been given are yours to achieve.  Nothing is impossible if you believe.

Friday, June 29, 2012


"Adversity reveals genius, prosperity conceals it."

Roman Poet
65 BC - 27 BC

It is only in times of adversity that true genius is revealed.  The best rise to the top.  But in times of prosperity many are pulled along by the few.  Learn to appreciate adversity because it reveals your strengths.  When times are good, don't rest on your laurels.  Remain hungry.  Remain creative.  Live on the cutting edge.

Some creative leaders slow down when they become successful.  They become satisfied and don't feel the need to work so hard.  Success often destroys the creative impulse.  Stay hungry.  

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rabindranath Tagore

"I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument while the song I came to sing remains unsung."

Bengali Poet, Novelist, Musician, Painter, Playwright
1861 - 1941

Sometimes creative leaders are so focused on perfection that they forget to sing.  They spend so many hours practicing and preparing that they never produce.  We are never going to be perfect so we need to let go of our creations and allow them to find their way into the world.

Are you singing your song or are you stringing your instrument?  The time has come to sing and let go of your fear of failure.  Let your child grow up.  Let the world experience your creative expression. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Charles Kingsley

"All we need to make us really happy is something to be enthusiastic about."

English Priest / Novelist
1819 - 1875

What are you excited about?  What wakes you up early in the morning?  What are you eager to do?  We all need something that excites us — something that inspires us to get out of bed.  Happiness comes from being involved and being active.  Inactivity leads to boredom and depression.  Find something you are passionate about and do it.  Become engaged in life.  Be passionate!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Zig Ziglar

"In your hands you hold the seeds of failure or the potential for greatness.... The choice is yours."

American Speaker / Author
1926 - 

Life is about the choices we make.  And in our hands are the seeds of our failure as well as the seeds of our success.  Which seeds have you chosen to plant today?  Have you chosen to do the things that will bring out your greatness and help you reach your potential?  Or have you chosen to follow a path that leads to destruction.  Do you read books that bring you insights and wisdom?  Do you associate with friends who encourage you?  Do you feed your mind as well as your body?  Do you love yourself and give thanks for what you have been given?  Whom have you helped?  What lives have you touched?  Do you give more to others than you get?  The choices we make today will create the lives we live tomorrow.

Here is Zig with the story of how your attitude makes all the difference.  The choice is yours.

Monday, June 25, 2012

David Handler

"A writer like me is sort of like a sponge; you just soak up everything around you."

— David Handler
American Novelist
1952 -

Every creative person should be a sponge soaking up the world around them.  Information is fodder for the creative muse.  Information keeps us alive and ticking.  Information inspires us.  What new ideas have you encountered today?  What new pieces of seemingly useless information have you added to your memory?  What questions have you raised that you do not know the answers to?  

Brain Exercise:  Take a moment and write down ten questions you wish you knew the answers to.  Then for the next ten days make up an answer to one of the questions and write your answer down.

Here is David Handler talking about writing.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Kurt Vonnegut

"Write to please just one person.  If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia."

— Kurt Vonnegut
American Novelist
1922 - 2007

Whom do you create for?  Yourself?  Your relatives?  The masses?  Write for yourself.  Write to please yourself?  Paint for yourself?  If you paint what others want, you will lose yourself in the dust.  Scribble for yourself.  You are the only one you have to please.  Not your parents.  Not your spouse.  Not your editor?  Not the general public.  Just yourself. 

Here are Vonnegut's eight tips on how to write a good short story.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Louise Nevelson

"True strength is delicate."

American Sculptor
1899 - 1988

Strength comes from gentleness, not from overused muscle.  True strength often appears weak to the uninitiated.  Bullying is not strength.  Overpowering is not strength.  Standing firm in the face of danger is strength.  Strength is like water wearing away the stone.  The stone is not stronger than the water.  Yet, many would say the stone is strong.  The water is strong by appearing weak.  Is your art like water or like stone?  Does it have true strength or it only appear strong?  Embrace your inner strength.  Believe in the power of your spirit to conquer the obstacles in your path like water conquers rock.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Philip Guston

"I come into the studio very fearfully.  I creep in to see what happened the night before.  And the feeling is one of, 'My God, did I do that?'"

Canadian Artist
1913 - 1980

Does your creative work surprise you?  Have you set a poem or story aside and came back a month or two later and were surprised by what you read?  Have you painted a picture and were pleasantly surprised the next day by what you had created?  Often times we are not aware of what we are creating while we are in the process of the creation.  It is only later that we discover the beauty of what we created.  And that is the joy of creation -- discovering something new.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Mary Frank

"There are times when I can't work, can't do anything.  I can't concentrate, I get scattered, feel I'm dying . . . ."

English Artist
1933 -

Being a creative leader is very challenging and many times we work against ourselves.  Our minds find excuses why we can't work.   What we don't realize is that this down time is actually good for us because it helps us create.  We need the down time even if we feel guilty about it.  For a five year period after I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, I was very productive, often writing two poems a day or more.  The last two years I have seen my productivity dwindle.  There are days now where I don't write a single poem, but that is okay because my mind and heart need to replenish themselves.  Sure, sometimes I feel guilty, but I know one day I will return to work.  I have had years where I have written 700 - 800 poems and other years where I write 40 - 50.  Am I being lazy?  No, I am recharging my creative batteries.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Francis Picabia

"Between my head and my hand, there is always the face of death."

French Painter / Poet
1879 - 1953

Is death a part of your life?  We live in a time when we have put distance between us and death.  In other times and places, death was a part of living and in some cultures it still is.  The family would bathe the body and prepare it for burial.

As artists and creative leaders, we should understand how fragile life is and know that we face death on a daily basis.  Are you ready when death comes knocking on your door?  Are you prepared for the next step?  Do you know what is on the other side of the door?  Have you explored death in your creative work?  Have you seen death close up?


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Pablo Picasso

"Success is dangerous.  One begins to copy oneself, and to copy oneself is more dangerous than to copy others.  It leads to sterility."

— Pablo Picasso
Spanish Artist
1881 - 1973

When a creative leader becomes successful, it is easy to fall into the success trap.  Your audience wants you to sing the same songs, paint the same pictures or write the same stories.  And you may be afraid they won't appreciate the new you and your new work.  So you don't try to ideas.  Or you try something new and your audience rejects you.  You need to be constantly reinventing yourself and your art.  Picasso was know for reinventing himself.  He never stayed with one art form or one artistic technique.  He was always seeking the new.  He did not let success define him.  He defined success.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Francis Bacon

"I want a very ordered image, but I want it to come about by chance."

— Francis Bacon
British Artist
1909 - 1992

Life is a paradox.  We want order but desire chaos.  We like the world to be logical but seek  the thrill of the unexpected and the unexplained.  We are not satisfied with what we have and desire more.  We are not happy with who we are and desire to be someone else.

Are your work habits chaotic or orderly?  Are your creative works orderly or chaotic?  Are you living a chaotic life or an orderly one?  Is the order imposed from within or without?  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Lewis Carroll

"Stories are "love gifts."

English Author
1832 - 1898

Today, in the United States, we celebrate Father's Day.  What better gift to give a father than the gift of story.  Story touches the heart in way that most gifts cannot.  Maybe you could tell your father a funny story about something that happened to you.  Or maybe you should tell a story that communicates how important your father is to you.

My father was always working to provide for his family.  First, he was a farmer, raising champion hogs to sell at market.  When he could no longer support his family through farming, we moved to town and he build houses for people in the community.  Yet, my father would take time out of his busy schedule to attend all my basketball games from junior high through high school.  Even my freshman year, he would show up to the freshmen games even when other parents and students did not attend.  I will always remember him sitting in the bleachers.

When my father was in high school back in the early 1940's, he played basketball and was the captain of his team his senior year.  My father passed away in July of 1990, almost 22 years ago.  But his memory lives on in the stories I tell.  What stories of your dad are you telling today?

And if you are a father, do what Lewis Carroll is doing in this picture.  Treat yourself to a long nap.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Meredith Monk

"At a certain point, you have to go to the edge of the cliff and jump — put your ideas into a form, share that form with others."

American Composer
1942 -

Artistic folks are often perfectionists who are slow to let their work out into the larger world.  We need to learn to take a leap of faith — to believe enough in our work to let others experience it.  Sure, the work will find critics and those who don't understand and maybe even controversy, but that is okay.  The work must see the light of day.  So take the leap and jump off the cliff.  Share your work with others.

Here is Meredith Monk performing Lost Wind.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Peter S. Beagle

"There are no happy endings, because nothing ends."

American Novelist
1939 - 

In life nothing ends.  Endings only occur in stories.  Life is ongoing, changing and reoccurring.  What once was is now again.  Memory keeps the story moving, growing, but never ending.  We rewrite our stories every day, finding new ways to end them, but never ending them.  

What stories in your life are you retelling, re-imagining, recreating, reinventing, but never ending?  What once was, now is again.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Paula Abdul

"You end up becoming who you are by jumping into that circle of fear — that's how it's done."

American Singer/Dancer
1962 -

Have you embraced your fears or do your fears control your every move?  It is by facing our fears that we become who we are meant to be.  Holding our feet to the fire makes us stronger and wiser.  Step into that circle.  Look fear in the eye and demand that he set you free.  You are stronger than your fears.

Here is Paula singing and dancing.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Akbar Padamsee

"The conscious mind is like a monkey bitten by a scorpion.  It is never still.  As a result most of our unconscious feelings escape us.  An artist needs to be in silence."

Indian Artist
1928 - 

The conscious mind often is a hinderance to creativity.  It is restless and never sits still, flitting from one thought to another.  And as a result we are not in touch with that deep source of creativity within our souls.  Silence is the key to unlocking our creative muse.  We must let go of the conscious mind and travel to the heart of who we are.  We must find ourselves within the silence.  

Here is a video of Padamsee painting and discussing how he paints.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Leontyne Price

"I am here and you will know that I am the best and you will hear me."

American Soprano
1927 -

Self-confidence is a key trait of creative leaders.  We need to believe in ourselves and the work we do.  We need to be confident that we will be successful.  But we also need to be humble.  Self-confidence is a great characteristic to have, but if one is not careful the self-confidence can turn into arrogance.  Self-confidence coupled with humility makes for a better leader.  Many times if one digs deep enough one finds that the arrogant person actually lacks self-confidence.  He covers up the lack of confidence by acting tough.  If one is truly self-confident in one's ability and skills, one has no need to be arrogant.  One is instead humbled by the gift he has been given.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Harley King

"May your journey through life be vibrant and full of colorful rainbows."

— Harley King
American Poet & Speaker
1949 -

Do you live in a black and white world?  Does everything in your life have a place and time?  Are you striving to be perfect?  Then it is time that you add a splash of color to your world.  Color brightens the heart and lightens the load.  Dance on the rainbow of love.  Sing songs of purple and violet and pink.  Drink from the fountain of red and blue and green.  Be the yellow smile on the faces of your friends.

Here is a recent poem.


I paint
the face
of God
on the back
of my lover.
Can we find
our way home
or will
we wander
the streets
of heaven forever?
She laughs
at the sound
my heart makes
when it cries.
God paints 
my face
with a silk brush.
I embrace
the darkness.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Ray Bradbury

"Don't think.  Thinking is the enemy of creativity.  It's self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy.  You cannot try to do things.  You simply must do things."

American Novelist
1920 - 2012

Thinking too much often gets in the way of our success.  We spend too much time thinking, planning and thinking some more.  Analysis often causes paralysis.  Get out of your head and find the way to your heart.  Look with wonder on the world you inhabit and learn new things. In the worlds of that immortal ad, just do it.

Do you find yourself using the word, "try"?  I'll try to write today?  I'll try to paint this week.  I'll try to practice.  Get rid of the word, "try."  Most people when they use the word, "try", mean that they are not going to do it.  Simply commit and say that you are going to write 500 words today or that you are going to paint 2 pictures this week.  Just do it.

Here is a link to a few Ray Bradbury stories. Don't think.  Read and enjoy. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

e. e. cummings

"I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing than to teach ten thousand stars how not to dance."

American Poet, Painter
1894 - 1962

Ask any teacher and they will tell you, if they are being honest with themselves: that it is easier to learn something yourself, then to teach someone else how to do something.  It is easier to write a novel then to teach someone else how to write a novel.  It is easier to paint a picture than teaching someone to paint.  So never badmouth a teacher.  They deserve respect.  What they do is special.  And the good ones have been given a gift that most of us will never have.  As another school year is coming to a close, celebrate the teachers in your life.  Celebrate those who fostered your creativity and talent.  Give thanks for those who inspired you and mentored you.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Susan Ertz

"Millions of persons long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy afternoon."

British Novelist
1894 - 1985

Do you ever find yourself bored?  I did when I was young, but rarely am I bored today.  Even when I am in a boring meeting, I find something to keep me entertained even if it is only my own thoughts.  If you are bored, the problem is not where you live and work.  You are the problem.  You are not happy with yourself.  You are bored with who you perceive yourself to be.  Learn to love yourself.  Happiness is an inside job.

Most of us want to live longer because we don't want to die.  We don't know what happens after death and that makes us afraid.  Even people who have a strong religious faith don't know for sure what will happen.  If we knew what happened after death, we would either fear it more or take our lives so that we can get there sooner.  Fortunately, we don't know and we must live with the uncertainty.

For those of us who create works of art, whether it is poetry, novels, paintings or music, we have a shot at immortality.  Maybe our works will last beyond us.  You have probably read that Ray Bradbury died at 91.  In an article in the USA Today (June 7, 2012), David Cohen quotes Terry Pace, a collaborator with Bradbury, as saying: "He (Bradbury) knew that through his works he'd somehow live forever."

In the words of another mythical figure:  "Live long and prosper."

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Harold Pinter

"Whatever the next thing is I write, it's got to be even more naked than the last."

English Playwright
1930 - 2008

How vulnerable are you in your writing?  Can people discover who you are through your art?  How naked are you?  Do you open yourself up and share?  Or are you hidden and unknowable?  Creativity demands that we be true to ourselves.  That we share ourselves with others.  That we make ourselves vulnerable to the biting criticism of critics.  That we give and give and expect nothing in return.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wilson Mizner

"I respect faith but doubt is what gets you an education."

American Playwright
1876 - 1933

I am a doubting Thomas.  Faith does not come easy for me.  I question almost everything.  Yet I feel my doubts have made a better and stronger person.  Others might not agree, but then they can not look inside my heart.  As creative leaders, I believe it is part of our role in society to question and not to take everything at face value.  I think that the more we are able to question the better our art will be.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Eugene Ionesco

"I am writing the memoirs of a man who has lost his memory."

Romanian/French Playwright
1909 - 1994

If you had no memory, what would your life be like?  Memory is a crucial part of who we are as human beings.  Without memory we probably would not have writing or painting.  Memory helps us create both the past and the future.  Without memory we would not have stories or even history.  Yet for some of us as we grow old our memories begin to fade.  First, we lose that important short-term memory.  Even a trip from the bedroom to the kitchen is full of doubt and question.  The the long-term memory develops holes.  We lose a part of who we were.  Cherish your memories.  Put them down on paper.  Incorporate them into your paintings.  We need our memories in order to function.  We need our memories in order to create.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Richard B. Sheridan

"Won't you come into the garden?  I would like my roses to see you."

Irish Poet, Playwright
1751 - 1816

I have spent the weekend helping my wife transform our yard into several gardens.  This is not a normal pastime for us.  What gardens we have our daughter created a few years ago.  We have a large yard (.9 acre) with lots of trees.  I would prefer to live in the woods with no grass.  We almost bought a house in the woods in Indiana 27 years ago but it was too small.  We want gardens that require very little maintenance. 

As artists and creative leaders we are all in a sense gardeners.  We plant the seeds of our hopes and dreams in our writings and paintings.  We are tilling the soil of our hearts, looking for answers to our questions.  We must pull the weeds out of our writing and our painting.  We must fertilize the creative soil.  And when we are done, we can share the beauty of our creation with others.  So this week, be sure to tend the gardens of your creation.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Soren Kierkegaard

"Life must be lived forwards, but can only be understood backwards."

Danish Writer, Philosopher
1813 - 1855

Do you understand who you are and from where you have come?  Only in looking back at our lives can we begin to have inkling of who we are as we begin to connect the dots in our lives — as we begin to tell the stories of what has happened to us.  Some of the dots in my life begin with my loud voice.  As a child, I was asked to participate in church programs because I had a booming voice.  When I was a sophomore in high school I decided to become a preacher.  I have spent the last 25 years of my life as a motivational speaker.  Three dots that when I look back at my life begin to tell the story of who I was and who I became.  And there are other dots that connect me to my father and the father that I became.  And dots that point to my perception of myself as an outsider, an underdog.  What are the dots in your life that you are beginning to connect and therefore to understand?  What are the stories you are telling yourself but nobody else?  What are the stories that you are sharing with the world?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Ernst Bacon

"A teacher's hardest lesson is to limit his explanation to the minimum."

— Ernst Bacon
American Composer, Pianist, Conductor
1898 - 1990

Sometimes less is more.  For creative leaders this is a valuable lesson.  Writers often put too much into their works.  Sometimes what is not said is more important than what is said.  Too much explanation can destroy the novel.  We need to learn to leave out the kitchen sink.  The same is true for painters.  What is left out of the picture is more important sometimes than what is included.  Photographers understand this.  What can we take away from this photo to make it even stronger?  Remember less is more.  What sentences or paragraphs can be left out of the story?

Here is a short piano piece by Ernst Bacon.