24 Quotes About Creativity and Creative People


A writer “takes an anecdote told by another man over a glass of wine; he takes an episode out of a stranger’s life; he takes the thoughts of philosophers; reports from newspapers; feelings out of his own imagination–and then he writes his little name under all this” (August Strindberg).

“The writer’s mind is everything. Nothing fascinates lovers of exceptional poetry or prose more than the intelligence and talent of the minds behind the words of writers they consider worthy of attention. To climb the heights those minds are reaching is the main reason a person goes on reading” (David J. Rogers).

“When I am finishing a picture I hold some God-made object up to it–a rock, a flower, the branch of a tree or my hand. If the painting stands up beside a thing man cannot make, the painting is authentic. If there’s a clash between the two, it’s bad art” (Marc Chagall).

“The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the  call of creative work, who felt their own creative powers restive and uprising, and gave it neither power nor time” (Mary Oliver).

“Aloneness is not only a major effect of the life of the creator, it is often a part of his/her personality…for the creator is frequently apart and withdrawn even in the presence of others, and makes a deliberate attempt to seek solitude” (R. Ochse).

“Human life itself may be almost pure chaos, but the work of the artist is to take these handfuls of confusion and disparate things, things that seem to be irreconcilable, and put them together in a frame to give them some kind of shape and meaning” (Katherine Anne Porter).



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

“The more pictures you paint, the better you get” (Rembrandt).

“Gifted children do not necessarily become creators…Something is needed to translate talent into the power to create. That something demands work–work that builds the skills upon which creative productions rest” (R. Ochse).

“A writer has to have some kind of compulsive drive to do his work. If you don’t have it, you’d better find another kind of work, because it’s the only compulsion that will drive you through the psychological nightmares of writing” (John McPhee).

“The composer’s principal problem is that of recapturing in every phase of his work…the energy which keeps it going…of bringing, in other words, the requisite amount of energy to bear on every detail, as well as constantly on his vision of the whole” (Roger Sessions).

“After a thousand  or two thousand hours experience of focused writing, painting, dancing, or acting, you will be able to access your creative centers very quickly” (David J. Rogers).

“If your writing or painting are dull and uninteresting, it is usually because you need a stronger, clearer voice. Liven up your work with a voice that’s more heart-felt” (David J. Rogers).

“Mental imagery comes from within every creator, and must come out of her/ his memory. So it is ultimately memory that is the creator’s workshop. In their mind’s ear composers manipulate tones–auditory images–into sounds as adeptly as in their mind’s eye painters manipulate visual images into paintings and writers manipulate auditory images into dialogue” (David J. Rogers).

The state of many artists after finishing a work:  “Personally, I am not satisfied. It is something–but not the thing I tried for” (Joseph Conrad).

“Most people won’t realize that writing is a craft. You have to take your apprenticeship in it like anything else” (Katherine Anne Porter).

“Draftsmanship is key to who I am and what I create. I feel it is important to introduce the factor of the hand. It gives our images identity, like that of handwriting. Through seeing it we are then able to consider it and then understand it “(Sarah Ball).

“Shape captivates me. I look intensely and wait my judgement upon my piece of paper until I am ready to “expect the unexpected”. The shape of the object makes me determine the line quality. Judgements are passed with the intermingled sense of how I am feeling about what I have created. Sometimes it frustrates me, other times I feel overjoyed. This up and down rush from a few brush-strokes. I feel I am living it. It absorbs me until I am done” (Sarah Ball).

Sarah Ball is the talented  and award-winning artest whose work is featured in this post. I saw her work online and was drawn to her use of color and shape.



“Solitude is taking me over: it is absorbing me, I see nothing, I read nothing. It is like being in a tomb which is at the same time a hell where one must write, write, write” (Joseph Conrad).

“But though some great writers may at times write awkwardly, it is nevertheless the case that one sign of the born writer is his gift for finding or (sometimes) inventing authentically interesting language” (John Gardner).

“The more I’m let alone and not worried the better I can function” (Ernest Hemingway)

“Every time I start on a new book, I am a beginner again. I doubt myself, I grow discouraged, all the work accomplished in the past is as though it never was. My first drafts are so shapeless that it seems impossible to go on with the attempt at all, right up until the moment…when it has become impossible not to finish it.” (Simone de Beauvoir)

“As far as I can tell, the decisive factor is what I call endurability: that is, the ability to deal effectively with uncertainty, rejection, and disappointment” (Ted Solotaroff).

“I’m not a must write every day writer, maybe a write four or five out of every seven days writer. And a reader when I’m not writing. But yet at times I do think, ‘Who knows what beautiful thing I might have written today if I hadn’t taken the day off?’ “(David J. Rogers).


© 2018 David J. Rogers

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Filed under Artists, Creativity, Creators' Work Life, Developing Talent, Human Potential and Achievement, Emotions of Creators, Quotations, The Creative Process, Voice, Writers

12 responses to “24 Quotes About Creativity and Creative People

  1. Nan Lundeen

    My process is similar to Simone de Beauvoir’s in that I often must wade through a mud-laden pond of doubt before I can sustain the work. When I do, it’s worth it. Thanks for the lovely artwork and apt quotes.


    • davidjrogersftw

      Nan, Thanks for the comment. I think your experience and de Beauvior’s experience with self-doubt is shared by many artists and writers, but fortunately, it can be overcome, and it certainly is well worth it.

      Best wishes,

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much, David for these quotes. I will keep this post in my archive so that I can refer to it. I love your quotes, Mary Oliver’s quote and Sarah Ball’s quote….and she is such a lovely artist. Thank you for introducing her to me.
    I listened to your interview again….and get so much from it. You remind me of why blogging is so vital in my life. I meet people like you who I learn so much from and who give me strength to continue as an artist.
    Thank you so much….wishing you and Diana a lovely weekend. Janet 🙂


    • davidjrogersftw

      Dear Janet, you too are important to me, and I think our discovering such kindred souls as each other on the internet (how silly of me, but truthful): I think was meant to be. Somewhere there was a power that said, “Hey, let’s put the minds of painter Janet together with that of writer David and watch what happens.

      Your praise of my work and me means so much to me as I hope my continual and heart-felt praise of you means something to you because neither of us is the kind of person to flatter insincerely. Your praise lifts me off the ground. To think that I give you courage astounds me.

      I am so happy to bring such fine artists as Sarah Ball to wider attention–she’s so talented and isn’t she brilliant and thoughtful about her art. I am constantly impressed with how smart artists are and, like you, how skilled with written language. I knew you would like her.

      I’m glad you like my MentorCoach interview. To tell you the truth what I like best about it is the response it received and that the moderator–a good guy–during the interview commented on how attractive my family is (he certainly did not mean me, and they are). I’m very proud of them.

      Thank you again for the comment that I will treasure.

      Best wishes,

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Michelle Endersby

    David, there is so much to be excited about in this post aside from the subtle and sophisticated colour palettes of Sarah Ball, lovely to see Sarah’s work. But David, it was your quotes that I kept coming back to as they appear to offer a portal to the place that many creative people find elusive. You had me reaching for the calculator to work out how long it would take to achieve the 1000 hours of focused activity and made me think long and hard about discipline, persistence and opportunities taken and missed. Thought-provoking and inspiring material, thank you.


    • davidjrogersftw

      Michelle, I very much appreciate your perceptive and complimentary comment. I’m cutting it out and saving it because it is so meaningful to me.

      I’m happy to hear that you admire Sarah Ball’s work too. I’ve been fortunate to come to know wonderful artists in my four blogging years, and before that when as a college student I spent much time with art students at the Art Institute of Chicago, a place which you must make a point to visit one day.

      Your comment about my quote is much appreciated. I feel good that it means something to you. I think most of my nonfiction writing is saying to creative people: “There is a dimension of creative prowess beyond talent and technical ability that artists should be aware of, that that dimension (which I call ‘the inner skills of creative people’) involves, as you say, discipline and persistence (and courage, will,, focus, energy, commitment, and other qualities of the mind and spirit) of the painter writer, actor, dancer, musician, etc.” Creative people must work on and develop that dimension until it is strong and resilient (bendable, but never breakable) just as they develop their talents.

      Best wishes to you, dear friend. Thanks again.


  4. It’s a lovely group of quotes, David. The one from you is spectacular. I’ve added it to the little collection I keep. Have a terrific Tuesday. Hugs.


  5. davidjrogersftw

    Teagan, I love, love, love quotes from talented people. I read so much and am always on the lookout for great ideas and sentiments. Thank you so much for your compliment,. Best.


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