While feeling stuck in an idea rut is never fun, these 21 creativity quotes from the greats remind you that you’re not alone—and that ruts are temporary. Hopefully a few of the inspiring wise words below can help spark your imagination, encourage you to consider a passion or a possibility, or push you to risk stepping outside your comfort zone for the sake of experimenting with something new.
The best quotes about being creative
1. “Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones.” —Bruce Garrabrandt
2. “Everything you can imagine is real.” —Pablo Picasso
3. “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, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.” —Steve Jobs
5. “Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you will.” —George Bernard Shaw
7. “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” —Maya Angelou
8. “An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.” —Edwin Land
9. “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.” —Albert Einstein
10. “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
11. “There is no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all. Without creativity, there would be no progress, and we would be forever repeating the same patterns.” —Edward de Bono
13. “Everyone who’s ever taken a shower has had an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off, and does something about it who makes a difference.” —Nolan Bushnell
14. “The creative person is willing to live with ambiguity. He doesn’t need problems solved immediately and can afford to wait for the right ideas.” —Abe Tannenbaum
16. “There’s room for everybody on the planet to be creative and conscious if you are your own person. If you’re trying to be like somebody else, then there isn’t.” —Tori Amos
17. “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” —Sylvia Plath
18. “Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void but out of chaos.” —Mary Shelley
19. “True alchemy lies in this formula: ‘Your memory and your senses are but the nourishment of your creative impulse.’” —Arthur Rimbaud
20. “Odd how the creative power at once brings the whole universe to order.” ―Virginia Woolf
21. “The precise role of the artist, then, is to illuminate that darkness, blaze roads through that vast forest, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of its purpose, which is, after all, to make the world a more human dwelling place.” ―James Baldwin
This article was originally published on October 16, 2019, and has been updated throughout by the editors.
Kate Bratskeir is a journalist who covers food, health, and the environment. Her book A Pocket Guide to Sustainable Food Shopping was published in January 2021 by Tiller Press, an arm of Simon & Schuster.