Tag Archives: writing quotes

10 Quotes on Creativity: Kafka, Rilke, Doctor Who and more

Way to Success

1. First of all, don’t worry about the money. Love the process. You don’t know when it’s gonna happen. Louis C.K. started hitting in his 40s; he’d been doing it for 20 years. And don’t settle. I don’t want to ever hear, “It’s good enough.” Then it’s not good enough. Don’t ever underestimate your audience. They can tell when it isn’t true. Also: Ignore your competition. A Mafia guy in Vegas gave me this advice: “Run your own race, put on your blinders.” Don’t worry about how others are doing. Something better will come.” –  Joan Rivers

2.  In short, this has been my strategy, though I’m worse at ‘pruning’ than I should be. Consume widely, create with focus, and you’ll see that the novel connections and solutions will follow naturally. You will have the broad base of material and information that allows for new, interesting applications paired with the practiced skill of a technician in your execution. -Erich Campbell, Create with Focus

3. The only thing that makes one an artist is making art. And that requires the precise opposite of hanging out; a deeply lonely and unglamorous task of tolerating oneself long enough to push something out. ―David Rakoff, Half Empty

4. Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.  -Franz Kafka

5. Inspiration is for amateurs–the rest of us just show up and get to work. – Chuck Close (painter)

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On Creativity


I write poetry fairly regularly. Pop culture criticism increasingly often. But I’ve wanted to write a novel for about 7 years, and so far have not had the time/guts/patience. I’ll be launching a series of posts reflecting on creativity and what it involves.

What I immediately run into, what I think most artists of any kind run into, is not just self-doubt, but in particular, unless you have the particular naive arrogance of the teens and early twenties, self-contempt. Any good craftsman has a wide and deep and constantly evolving familiarity with the successes in his craft, with the novel or the painting or the installation that succeeded, with the artists who are succeeding. In particular, with the history of all the great works in your particular genre within your particular field of art, that have been produced, and the ones that are currently being produced.

In the face of this, it’s hard, can feel nearly impossible, to produce anything at all original or new.

Which is why I’m beginning to grapple with the idea of creativity as something fundamentally not original, as, ultimately, imitation, perseverance, and will rather than inspiration and originality.

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