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.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Brianna King

What the world needs now is more imagination and creativity.  Every day we face problems and challenges in our personal as well as our professional lives.  Too often we continue to respond to these problems in the same way that we have always responded.  We keep doing what we have always done and keep getting the same result.  Instead, we should be searching for new ways of solving the problems.

What challenges do you face as a creative leader?  What obstacles stand in your way of achieving the success you dream about?  Are you so focused on the problems that you fail to see the opportunities around the corner?  Shift your focus to the possibilities.  Choose a new path into the future.  Imagine a better world.

Albert Einstein once said, "Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”  

What are you doing to expand your imagination — to open the doors of creative thinking? What are you doing to escape of the black hole of negative thinking?  Here are five ways to increase your imaginative thinking.
  1. Develop an attitude of curiosity.  Be curious about everything.  Look for connections that others do not see.
  2. Question and challenge accepted beliefs, assumptions and practices.  Just because you have always done it a certain way does not mean you should continue to do it that way.
  3. Explore the world.  Travel to places you have never been.  Read books in fields of learning that you normally don't read.  Engage people outside your field of expertise in conversations and learn from them.
  4. Conduct daily doodling practice.  Doodle for 5 - 10 minutes.  Doodling helps to relax your mind and start your creative juices flowing.  Drawing can free your mind of entrenched ways of seeing. Create new ways of seeing by doodling.  Focus your attention on the doodling.  Don't worry about being artistic.
  5. Conduct daily writing practice.  Write everyday for 10 minutes.  Don't worry about grammar, spelling or punctuation.  Start with the phrase, "In the future, I".  Keep writing for the full 10 minutes.  When you run out of things to write, start again with the phrase, "In the future, I".
Remember that your imagination and creativity will help you solve most of your problems and help you build a better world.  Begin now to cultivate your imagination.  

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Harley's Book Review — Words Under the Words

Words Under the Words

by Naomi Shihad Nye

With this book, Naomi Shihab Nye has become one of my favorite contemporary poets. The book is filled with phenomenal lines and images. In my first reading of the 104 poems, I marked 30 poems that I wanted to read again. 

Here are the beautiful opening three lines of Biography of an Armenian Schoolgirl.

"I have lived in the room of stone where voices become
bones buried under us long ago. Where you could dig
for centuries uncovering the same sweet dust."

In the poem, At Otto's Place, Naomi writes:

"Could I live like this? I ask myself
and I know, somehow, I must.
More and more my life is peeling paint,
straight horizons.
More and more my name dissolves in the air,
salt, something invisible I taste,
and forget."

I love the phrase, "my life is peeling paint." What a powerful image!

In the poem, The House in the Heart, Nye writes:

"This body we thought so important,
it's a porch, that's all.
I know this, but I don't know
what to do about it."

Our bodies are a resting place — a place from which we look out at the world. We know many things but knowledge alone is not enough. We need to learn what to do to change things. Nye packs so much into these four lines.

In the poem, Jerusalem, Nye writes:

"To live without roads seemed one way
not to get lost. To make maps
of stone and grass, to rub stars together
and find a spark."

It is only because we have roads that we get lost. If we did not have roads to follow, we would not lose our way. So often we get so focused on where we want to go that we forget where we are. Maybe our goals and dreams are not as important as we think.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves to read poetry as well as anyone who loves words.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Harley King

Memories are the stories that we tell ourselves and others to remind us of the experiences in our lives.  Rarely are these stories entirely true.  The stories have been altered by time and our ability to forget.  We have the ability to change our stories and yet believe them to be true.  

Cherish your ability to forget what has happened to you because it helps you live a productive and happy life.  If we remembered every detail of our lives, we would suffer from boredom.  Be wary of the negative stories you tell yourself because some portion of each story we tell is false.  You have recreated the experience to fit your beliefs.  Don't live in a past that causes you pain and heartache.  

Celebrate your ability to recreate your experiences into stories that shape who you want to be, not who you are.  Our creative spirits provide us with a rich tapestry of memory.  We change our stories to give us hope.  Memory is a creative gift.  Alter your story to honor your life.

May your memories grow in proportion to the richness of your creative spirit.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Harley King

Life's journey is full of experiences from which we can and should learn wisdom. Sometimes these experiences will knock us to the ground and force us to reconsider our beliefs and values. Sometimes we will have to learn the lesson multiple times before we gain the wisdom to move on to better opportunities and new lessons.  Sometimes we fail to gain the wisdom and will repeat the same mistakes again and again.

Wisdom comes not from simply living in the moment, but from deep reflection and introspection.  Wisdom comes from questioning what we do and analyzing why we behave in the manner in which we do.  Life gives us many opportunities to grow in wisdom and understanding.  Each life lesson teaches us to become better individuals and to open our hearts to the wisdom that is given.

Sometimes the lessons that life throws our way will force us to lose our faith and push us toward giving up.  We become discouraged and depressed.  We enter a world of darkness and unhappiness.  We must keep to the path and not lose sight of the goal.  We must not let the pessimism of others defeat us.  We must keep going despite how we feel.  Keep in mind that on cloudy days the sun still shines.  We must learn to fly above the clouds and experience the joy of the sun's rays.

May you seek the wisdom that comes from experience and the faith that restores the heart.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Henri Nouwen

"Solitude is the furnace of transformation."

 Henri Nouwen
Dutch Priest / Writer
1932 - 1996

In my mind, solitude and silence are very closely linked.  Silence means to be without sound. Yet, unless we are deaf, we rarely will be able to find silence in this world.  Even in the forest late at night, one will hear sound.  What we can do is limit the types of sound we hear.  I can remove urban sounds by traveling to the country.  I can turn off the radio or the television.  I can choose what sounds I want to hear. 

Solitude, on the other hand, is the state of being alone and without human contact.  There still will be noise and sound.  We can be alone in our own homes, during a walk through a park, or driving a automobile, but sound will also be there, including the sound of our own thoughts.

As creative leaders, we must learn to manage, encourage and harness both silence and solitude if we are going to be successful.  When I write, I try to limit the sounds that I hear. I don't play music as some do.  I don't listen to TV.  I have learned to write in public and to block out the white noise.  I also need solitude, particularly from loved ones.  It is very hard for me to write with my wife in the same room.  I can write in a mall because I have more space.

Creative Practice
Evaluate the role silence and solitude play in your life.  Look for ways to add more solitude.    Learn to cut out some of the noise that follows you.  Add 15 minutes more of solitude to your life.

The Return of the Prodigal Son
Write a poem about silence or solitude. Paint a picture of solitude or silence. Evoke the sound of solitude in your music.

Henri Nouwen was born in Nijkerk, Netherlands.  He was the oldest of four children born to Laurent and Maria Nouwen.  
Henri Nouwen was ordained as a priest in 1957 and completed a degree in psychology in 1963.  He came to the United States in 1964 and taught at Notre Dame, Yale and Harvard.  He wrote 40 books on spirituality.  His most famous book is The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Meditation on Fathers, Brothers and Sons which was published in 1992.  He wrote the book in response to the painting, the Return of the Prodigal Son by Rembrandt.  He traveled to Russia to observe the painting at the Hermitage Museum.

Here is a video about Henri Nouwen.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Ben Stein

"The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want."

 Ben Stein
American Actor, Writer, Lawyer
1944 -

When I came out of college in 1971, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had some vague idea about wanting to be a writer, but I had no idea on how to go about it. Remember this long before the personal computer let alone the internet. I was typing my work on a Royal typewriter. 

The only way to find jobs was through the newspaper and there were not many jobs for want-to-be writers in central Illinois, farm country. It took me four years to find a job writing and then it was an accident. I applied for for a job as a speech writer but I heard nothing. I found out later they hired a novelist with one published novel under his belt. He spent most of this time while employed working on his second novel. Three months after I applied, I received a call from a nursing home company about a job as a writer of policy and procedures manuals. I interviewed and was hired. 

I thought I would work for a year and move on to writing somewhere else. Thirty-nine years later I still work in the nursing home industry and write in my spare time. Sometimes when we don't know where we want to go, life will decide for us. And often the decision is the correct one.

If you know what it is you want to do with your life, that is great. If you don't know, don't worry. The river of life will take you where you need to go. 

Research shows that only about 2% of Americans write goals — only 2% know what they want to do with their lives.  I was 35 years old when I first heard about the importance of goal-setting in achieving one's dreams. In college I had dreamed of being a writer but at 35 was far from my dream. I had only written about 200 poems in 15 years. I set a goal to write a poem a day for a year. That year I wrote over 400 poems.

If you want to achieve your dreams, you need to turn them into goals. Goals are dreams with deadlines.

Ben Stein was born in Washington, D.C.  He was the sone of Mildred and Herbert Stein.  His father was a writer, presidential advisor and economist.  He graduated from Columbia University with a degree in economics and Yale with a law degree.  His legal career began as poverty lawyer and eventually became a trial lawyer.

Ben Stein in
Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Stein served as a speechwriter and lawyer for President Nixon and President Ford.  Time magazine speculated in 1976 that Stein might have been Deep Throat, probably in part because Stein had been a high school classmate of Bob Woodward.  Stein has repeatedly denied the accusation.  

Stein began his film career at the age of 42 as an economics teacher in the 1986 movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off.  He has also appeared in Seinfeld, The Mask, MacGyver, Married With Children, and Ghostbusters.  He has also written for the television industry.  

Stein has written 28 books, 7 fiction and 21 non-fiction.  His first novel, On The Brink, was co-written with his father and published in 1978.  His most recent book, How To Really Ruin Your Financial Life and Portfolio, was published in 2012.

Here is Ben Stein in the movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off.