42 unfussy quotes on creativity to break you out of a funk

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You know it when it happens. You’re plugging along in your work, and it all feels so — beige.

Perhaps it’s even feeling uninspired and kind of blah. You might call it a creative funk. Whatever you call it, you just wish it would end and you can get back to work.

Sometimes all you need to get going with your creativity when you're eyeballs deep in a creative funk is to read a simple phrase, a line in a great book, or hear something when you're out and about that gets you back into your groove and into creation mode again.

This is a roundup of the top quotes on creativity that I use to keep myself and my clients creating. I also polled the generous and super big-brained Write Like a MOFO community members for their faves.


Here are 42 inspiring quotes on creativity:

  1. “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Albert Einstein

  2. “The creative process is a process of surrender, not control.” ― Julia Cameron

  3. "The creative adult is the child who survived." ―Ursula Leguin

  4. "Creativity doesn't wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones." ―Bruce Garrabrandt

  5. "You can't use up creativity. The more you use the more you have." ― Maya Angelou

  6. “One day you will wake up and there won't be any more time to do the things you've always wanted. Do it now.” Paulo Coelho

  7. “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.” Henry Ford

  8. “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.” Napoleon Hill

  9. “Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done.” - Austin Kleon ― Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

  10. “There is no such thing as a new idea. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope.” Mark Twain

  11. “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” Pablo Picasso

  12. “The most talented, thought-provoking, game-changing people are never normal.” Richard Branson

  13. “Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.” Jack Kerouac

  14. “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” Brené Brown

  15. “What keeps life fascinating is the constant creativity of the soul.” Deepak Chopra ― Life After Death: The Burden of Proof

  16. “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

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

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

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

  20. “Create something today even if it sucks.” ―Unknown

  21. “You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” Oscar Wilde

  22. Creativity is not a competition.” Unknown

  23. “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try.” Dr. Seuss

  24. “Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that’s easy. What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” ― Charles Mingus

  25. “Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas.” ― Donatella Versace

  26. “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, the just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.” Steve Jobs

  27. ”Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.” ― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles

  28. “Don’t think about making art, just get it done.  Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” Andy Warhol

  29. “Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”  ― Walt Disney

  30. “We are not on this earth to accumulate victories, things, and experiences, but to be whittled and sandpapered until what’s left is who we truly are.” Arianna Huffington

  31. “Have no fear of perfection, you will never reach it.” Salvador Dali

  32. “It’s better to fail in originality than succeed in imitation.” Herman Melville

  33. “No artist is ahead of his time. He is his time, it’s just that others are behind the times.” ― Martha Graham

  34. “I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.” Rita Mae Brown

  35. “Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.” Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

  36. “You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.” Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

  37. “If you’re alive, you’re a creative person.” Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

  38. “Creativity is contagious, pass it on.” ― Albert Einstein

  39. “Writing is like breathing, it's possible to learn to do it well, but the point is to do it no matter what.” ― Julia Cameron, The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation Into the Writing Life

  40. “Creativity requires faith. Faith requires that we relinquish control.” ― Julia Cameron

  41. “Serious art is born from serious play.” ― Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way

  42. “Don’t worry about how much coffee or wine you’re drinking.” ― Me! Jacqueline Fisch on the Marketing Personalities podcast

While gathering these favorite quotes on creativity, I could have continued down the rabbit hole for days. And naturally, I’ve barely scratched the surface.

What I hope this list of my favorite quotes does for you today is inspires you to close this window, and go make something. It can be small and it can suck. The only point is to keep on making.

If you’re still looking for some more creative inspiration, you might like these too:

Getting business owners unstuck is what we do every day inside the Write Like a MOFO Community.

Oh, and there are some affiliate links in here. That means if you click on something and it takes you to Amazon and you buy it, I’ll earn a few pennies to add to my latte fund.