How Their Wisdom Can Ignite Your Creative Flame
“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.” - Neil Gaiman
Creativity is one of life’s most precious gifts. We’d all be monotonous robots without it.
Creativity brings us the most wonderful insights.
Do you have some creativity buried within you that needs to come out?
Perhaps you’re a writer too, or you paint or you are working on an invention that might change the world.
When you want to pursue a creative endeavor, there are many roadblocks on your path.
There are perhaps too many possibilities, you might be afraid or embarrassed by your own creation, you don’t know how to begin, you may be scared or simply lack the discipline to move forward.
Let the quotes of these following artists inspire you to chase that creative dream of yours. They’ve all been in the same boat. I know I am still trying to stay afloat.
The Possibilities of a Creative Dream
1. “It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” — Paulo Coelho
Let this one sink in. When we have a dream, we start a creative process through our imagination. What if I can become a successful XXX? What if I can live off my art? What if it actually works out?
Thoughts like these ignite our creative sparks. Perhaps small flames ensue and you get to your laptop and face that blank page.
That creative ambition makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning and get to it. Hold on to that and you’ll never be bored a day in your life.
Find Your Creative Spark
2. “The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. The hunt to uncover those jewels — that’s creative living. The courage to go on that hunt in the first place — that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one. The often surprising result of that hunt — that’s what I call Big Magic.” — Elizabeth Gilbert
I loved Gilbert’s book ‘Big Magic’, she has a great and original understanding of creativity.
Sometimes, however, we have multiple creative jewels hidden within us. Unfortunately, many of us don’t go searching for them. But those who do… they get all the fun.
Every person has unique gifts and talents they can show the world, talents they can use to the benefit of their fellow human beings. Whether that be through a mesmerizing painting or an invention that alleviates some of life’s burdens.
What are you good at? What do you like? Go on a hunt within yourself.
3. “Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic, and power in it. Begin it now.” — W. H. Murray
Simple, yet powerful. Postponing and procrastination is easy. We’re afraid or simply lazy. Sometimes we are so creative that we can think up a million reasons not to start something.
But what’s stopping you? If it excites you, start it. Just do it for you. You don’t even have to show anyone your creative outburst.
You can always go back to your desk job if you don’t like your creation. Please don’t wonder “what if?”. Decide to be a creative person. You deserve it.
4. Coelho: “Making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”
The phrase above is from the book ‘The Alchemist’, one of my all-time favorites. Two years ago, I finally decided not only to write but publish my work too.
Initially, I was working on a novel, but something just wasn’t right. Then I had an idea for a short story about a man who one day found a money tree growing in his garden. My short story blog was born. This decision let me on a magnificent and exciting path.
I found a hidden alley on the road that is my life. I knew it was there, but never before had I been able to find it. Let alone dare enter it.
If I hadn’t taken that alley, I would’ve never published my first (paperback) book with my short story collection. Plus I started working on a new novel again that I’m so very excited about.
(Side note: I wrote an entire piece called: “Live The Life of Your Dreams by Following the Wisdom of Paulo Coelho”, if you like to check it out)
Conquer Your Fears
5. “Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember our rule of thumb: The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” - Steven Pressfield
Fear induces our resistance to create. However, fear has a positive side too. Often, what we fear most is the thing we actually SHOULD do.
See your creative fears as obstacles that can be conquered. In the book “The Obstacle is the Way”, Ryan Holiday proposes that there is no end to the obstacles thrown at us. For the sake of this article I’m diving into the obstacles seemingly blocking our creative progress. But there will always be obstacles on the way, things you have figure out, things you have to solve. The beauty is, once you conquered the obstacle and produced something, you experience a moment of bliss. You’ve created.
Sitting down every day to write is daunting. But if you break that cycle and do it every day, the obstacle of doing it becomes smaller and smaller.
6. “You don’t need anyone’s permission to lead a creative life.” - Elizabeth Gilbert
It’s daunting to finally decide to be a creative person. What will people think?
That last poisonous thought gives more power to our fears. Let them think. Do you know how many people want to create something? How many people have tons of ideas but fail to execute? How many people have an attic full of paintings locked for the world to see?
Don’t ever think you need to defend yourself because you brought life in the form of art into the world. You should be proud of your contribution. Naturally, the path of creation plays with our emotional state, but do you think Pablo Picasso trembled with a brush in his hand thinking what others thought? He just created and made no big deal out of it.
Make things because you like to, or even need to. Don’t wait for someone else’s approval.
Make it official, declare to yourself and the world that you’re a XXX. In my case: I AM A WRITER. Who do you want to be?
Wonder and Inspire
7. “Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” – Mary Oliver
The above poem by Mary Oliver can be read as follows: Instructions for creating: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.
We live in a marvelous world full of inspiration. Look around, consume, experience and take it all in.
Read, visit museums, go to concerts, travel, get outdoors, meet new people, watch documentaries (and yes, tv shows and movies can inspire you too).
Take it all in. Wonder. And use what you’ve experienced as creative fuel to inspire others.
8. “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou
Once you’ve started and broke through your fears, you’ll notice that the above quote by Maya Angelou is very true.
When you are doing creative work on a regular basis, you’ll never run out of creativity. When your mind is set on achieving that creative dream and you’re constantly thinking about it, you can’t help not creating.
For me, this occurs on many different levels. I usually start my day with writing fiction. This way, I’m already inviting my muse to join me for the day. During the day I have many ideas, whether it be for my book, a short story or blog post. I write it all down.
I believe that if you do something creative every day, you’ll never run out of juice. Or if that’s too much for you, try 4-5 days a week. Every small bit helps. 300 words per day makes a short story in 10-15 days.
Stick to It and Have Faith
9. “The discipline involved in finishing a piece of creative work is something on which you can truly pride yourself. […] Perseverance is absolutely essential, not just to produce all those words, but to survive rejection and criticism.” – J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling did send her manuscript to different publishing houses. She endured many rejections until Bloomsbury finally accepted her first installment in the Harry Potter series. We all know her rags to riches story.
But before you can send out your manuscript, you need to finish it. No matter the outcome. Finish it for you. Develop that skill of making it to the end. Write because you want to or even have to. There’s nothing as sad as a story left unfinished.
There’s this great line said by Dumbledore: “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” I can only imagine that that was how she felt while she was writing.
The only way to finish a writing project (or any other thing really), it to keep consistently doing it.
10. Great things are not done by impulse, but a series of small things brought together. Vincent Van Gogh
I think there’s no better way to finish this post by my fellow Dutchman Van Gogh. I already touched upon it a bit. 300 words per day makes a short story in 10-15 days.
Small steps done consistently results in great output every time.
Schedule your writing, painting, or singing practice. Do it every day before you get to work.
Set challenging but achievable goals to yourself. Because of the fact that I strive to write down 500-1,000 words per day for my novel, I’m already at 100,000 words! (It’s fantasy, that’s why it’s so long already, I’m not even at 2/3 of the beast. Editing will be fun ;-)).
I hope the quotes above helps you to move forward with your creative endeavors. As Henri Matisse said: creativity takes courage. But that’s only the start. You have to actually start doing it and conquer your fears. Wonder, inspire and stick to it.
I’d like to close with one more quote which I think is essential in any creative work:
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” - Brené Brown
Be your unique self in your work. Bleed on the page or the canvas. Tell your story, because there is no other story like it. Dare to share your insights, demons, failures and successes. You will stand out.