68 Inspiring Creativity Quotes To Spark Fresh Thinking

Are you looking for some inspiring creativity quotes? If so, you're in the right place.

Writing apps are nice, but we all need a little inspiration sometimes.

To be creative describes combining old and new ideas in ways people don't expect. It's less about originality than it is about interpreting what went before you.

When you're stuck or feeling creatively drained, the best place to look is often in the writings of creative people you admire.

I've gathered some great quotes about creativity that inspire other writers and me.

1. Maya Angelou

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”

Maya Angelou
Mary Angelou creativity quote

Creativity is contagious. As this quote shows, the more time you spend writing and working on your ideas, the more you'll have. In other words, don't worry about the well running dry of ideas.

2. Arthur Ashe

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

Arthur Ashe
Arthur Ashe creativity quote

3. Saul Bellow

“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”

Saul Bellow
Saul Bellow creativity quote

4. Paulo Coelho

“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
Paulo Coelho quote

5. Anthony J. D'Angelo

“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow.”

Anthony J. D'Angelo
D\'Angelo Quote

6. Emily Dickinson

“I dwell in possibility.”

Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson quote

7. Albert Einstein

“Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act.”

Albert Einstein

I particularly like this creativity quote as Einstein had a brilliant scientific mind. But he still understood the creative process and often completed thought experiments to solve complex problems, akin to visualizing your work.

I also like his other quote, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.”

Albert Einstein quote

8. Henry Ford

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

Henry Ford
Henry Ford quote

9. Robert Frost

“The best way out is always through.”

Robert Frost

This quote shows, if you have a conflict of ideas, that's normal. Keep going; keep pressing forward with your work.

Robert Frost quote

10. Napoleon Hill

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

Napoleon Hill
Napoleon Hill creativity quote

11. Steve Jobs

“Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.”

Steve Jobs

This is one of my favorite creativity quotes! It's instructive for overcoming problems like self-doubt. Basically, it's better to learn from a public failure than to try and perfect a masterpiece in private. Don't let a fear of perfection hold you back.

Steve Jobs quote

12. Tom Wolfe

“Put your good where it will do the most.”

Tom Wolfe
Tom Wolfe quote

13. Oscar Wilde

“Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.”

Oscar Wilde

In other words, stop waiting for the perfect moment to write, draw, or paint. Don't let a fear of perfectionism hold you back either. Have fun with it.

Oscar Wilde quote

14. David Foster Wallace

“The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you.”

David Foster Wallace

This is a particularly popular creativity quote on social media, and for a good reason. Readers enjoy creative people who are honest and don't hold themselves back.

David Foster Wallace quote

15. Mark Twain

“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
Mark Twain quote

16. John Steinbeck

“Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”

John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck quote

17. Gertrude Stein

“One must dare to be happy. “

Gertrude Stein

As creativity quotes go, this one reveals the secret of many great creative people. They spend as much time on their personal life as their work. It's impossible to create if another part of your life is on fire.

Gertrude Stein quote

18. Aaron Sorkin

“The world doesn't care how many times you fall down, as long as it's one fewer than the number of times you get back up.”

Aaron Sorkin
Aaron Sorkin quote

19. Arthur Schopenhauer

“Talent hits a target no one else can hit. Genius hits a target no one else can see.”

Arthur Schopenhauer
Schopenhauer quote

20. George Saunders

“What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.”

George Saunders

As creativity quotes go, Saunders shows that small thing's matter. Perhaps you can help a reader or fan of your work in some unexpected way?

George Saunders quote

21. Anna Quindlen

“You cannot be really first rate at your work if your work is all you are.”

Anna Quindlen

Sometimes we're our own worst enemy. Unless you like burnout, it makes good sense to cultivate interests and pursuits outside of creative work.

Anna Quindlen quote

22. Pablo Picasso

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

Pablo Picasso

Along with Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso is one of my favorite creative people. I had the pleasure of seeing some of his paintings while holidaying in Barcelona. His commitment to lifelong creative projects is inspiring. I bought a magnet with this quote and stuck it on my wall in my office.

Pable Picasso quote

23. Anaïs Nin

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

Anaïs Nin

As this quote shows, living a creative life is often deeply personal and interpreted through our own experiences and viewpoint of the world. There is no such thing as a single correct viewpoint of the world.

Anais Nin quote

24. Charles Mingus

“Making the simple complicated is commonplace. Making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity.”

Charles Mingus
Charles Mingus quote

25. John Maynard Keynes

“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.”

John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes quote

26. Pablo Picasso − Pablo Picasso: Metamorphoses of the Human Form: Graphic Works, 1895-1972

“Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not. ”

Pablo Picasso
Pablo Picasso quote

27. Sylvia Plath 

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

Sylvia Plath
Sylvia Plath quote

28. Derek Landy − Skulduggery Pleasant

“Doors are for people with no imagination.”

Derek Landy
Derek Landy quote

29. Jacob Bronowski 

“It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it.”

Jacob Bronowski
Jacob Bronowski − The Ascent of Man

30. John Steinbeck 

“Our species is the only creative species, and it has only one creative instrument, the individual mind and spirit of man. Nothing was ever created by two men. There are no good collaborations, whether in music, in art, in poetry, in mathematics, in philosophy. Once the miracle of creation has taken place, the group can build and extend it, but the group never invents anything. The preciousness lies in the lonely mind of a man.”

John Steinbeck
John Steinbeck − East of Eden

31. Austin Kleon 

“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
Austin Kleon − Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

32. Madeleine L'Engle 

“But unless we are creators we are not fully alive. What do I mean by creators? Not only artists, whose acts of creation are the obvious ones of working with paint of clay or words. Creativity is a way of living life, no matter our vocation or how we earn our living. Creativity is not limited to the arts, or having some kind of important career.”

Madeleine L'Engle
Madeleine L'Engle − Walking on Water

33. Ray Bradbury 

“That's the great secret of creativity. You treat ideas like cats: you make them follow you.”

Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury − Zen in the Art of Writing

34. Deepak Chopra 

“What keeps life fascinating is the constant creativity of the soul.”

Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra − Life After Death: The Burden of Proof

35. Chuck Palahniuk 

“Anymore, no one's mind is their own.”

Chuck Palahniuk
Chuck Palahniuk − Lullaby

36. Freeman Dyson

“We must be careful not to discourage our twelve-year-olds by making them waste the best years of their lives preparing for examinations.”

Freeman Dyson
Freeman Dyson − Infinite in All Directions

37. G.K. Chesterton 

“The criminal is the creative artist; the detective only the critic.”

G.K. Chesterton
G.K. Chesterton − The Blue Cross: A Father Brown Mystery

38. Julio Cortázar 

“All profound distraction opens certain doors. You have to allow yourself to be distracted when you are unable to concentrate.”

Julio Cortázar
Julio Cortázar − Around the Day in Eighty Worlds

39. Jim Butcher 

“I've always felt that the best whips and chains are in the mind. With a little creativity, the physical ones are hardly necessary.”

Jim Butcher

This quote shows that creative people sometimes use their inner demons, worries, and fears to inform their work. A creative mind is sometimes a troubling place!

Jim Butcher − Blood Rites

40. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam 

“When learning is purposeful, creativity blossoms. When creativity blossoms, thinking emanates. When thinking emanates, knowledge is fully lit. When knowledge is lit, economy flourishes.”

A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam − Indomitable Spirit

41. Arthur Koestler 

“Creative activity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.”

Arthur Koestler
Arthur Koestler − Drinkers of Infinity: Essays 1955-1967

42. Scarlett Thomas 

“Routine kills creative thought.”

Scarlett Thomas

Creative people must find a balance between having solitude to work on their ideas and seeking new experiences to inform them. Finding that balance is a learning process.

Scarlett Thomas − PopCo

43. Charles Baudelaire 

“Genius is no more than childhood recaptured at will, childhood equipped now with man's physical means to express itself, and with the analytical mind that enables it to bring order into the sum of experience, involuntarily amassed.”

Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire − The Painter Of Modern Life And Other Essays

44. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 

“If a composer suffers from loss of sleep and his sleeplessness induces him to turn out masterpieces, what a profitable loss it is!”

Antoine De Saint-Exupéry
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry − Night Flight

45. Haruki Murakami 

“Artists are those who can evade the verbose.”

Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami quote

46. Pablo Picasso

The chief enemy of creativity is good sense

Pablo Picasso
The chief enemy of creativity is good sense

47. Joan Miro

The works must be confused with fire in the soul but executed with clinical coolness

Joan Miro
"The works must be confused with fire in the soul but executed with clinical coolness"

48. Richard Branson

The most talented, thought-provoking, game-changing people are never normal

Richard Branson

As inspirational quotes go, this is a good one, particularly considering that Branson has set up over 40 virgin companies.

49. Larry Page

If you’re not doing some things that are crazy, then you’re doing the wrong things

Larry Page

50. Criss Jami

Create with the heart; build with the mind

Criss Jami
"Create with the heart; build with the mind"

51. Neil Gaiman

Fiction is the lie that tells the truth.

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman was quoting Albert Camus here, demonstrating that the creative process involves learning from your peers.

Neil Gaiman creativity quote

52. Edward DeBono

“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.”

Edward DeBono
Edward DeBono

53. Brené Brown

“The only unique contribution that we will ever make in this world will be born of our creativity.”

Brené Brown
Brenė Brown

54. Osho

“Creativity is the greatest rebellion in existence.”


55. Mary Lou Cook

“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes and having fun”

Mary Lou Cook
Mary Lou Cooke

56. Dr. Seuss

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!

Dr. Seuss
Dr Seuss

57. Salvador Dali

“Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.”

Salvador Dali
Salvador Dali

58. Scott Adams

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”

Scott Adams
Scott Adams

59. Jack London

“You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

Jack London
Jack London

60. Julia Cameron

“Leap, and the net will appear.”

Julia Cameron
Julia Cameron

61. Kurt Vonnegut

“Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are, “It might have been.”

Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnagut

62. George Bernard Shaw

“Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.”

George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw

63. Donatella Versace

“Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas.”

Donatella Versace
Donatella Versace

64. Steve Jobs

“Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly and get on with improving your other innovations.”

Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs

65. Leo Burnett

“When you reach for the stars, you might not quite get one, but you won't come up with a handful of mud either.” 

Leo Burnett
Leo Burnett

66. Vincent Van Gogh

“I dream my painting and I paint my dream.”

Vincent Van Gogh
van gogh

67. Eric Fromm

“Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.”

Eric Fromm
Eric Fromm

68. Elizabeth Gilbert

“Done is better than good.”

Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth Gilbert

The Final Word On These Top Creativity Quotes

Whether or not creativity can be taught is open to debate.

That said:

When I find a great creativity quote, I sometimes use it as a writing prompt to overcome problems like writer's block.

I write the quote at the top of the page and spend a little time freewriting what the creativity quote means to me.

When I'm done, I remove the quote and keep what I've written.

I also keep a file with some of the best quotes about creativity in my computer that I draw upon when looking for something special to sprinkle over a piece of writing.

If you enjoyed these quotes about creativity, please share this post with a friend or check out my Pinterest board of quotes.

You can also check out our list of top author quotes.

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