Writers and poets about creativity

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Great writers and poets about creativity

If you strike upon a thought that baffles you, break off from that entanglement and try another, so shall your wits be fresh to start again.
Aristophanes (c. 446 – c. 386 BC),  ancient Greeks playwright

True wisdom consists not in seeing what is immediately before our eyes, but in foreseeing what is to come
Terence (195/185–159 BC), Roman playwright

Fortune favors the brave.
Terence

Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.
Rumi (September 30, 1207 –December 17, 1273), Persian poet and Sufi mystic

Inside you there’s an artist you don’t know about…Say yes quickly, if you know, if you’ve known it before the beginning of the universe.
Rumi

There is a community of the spirit. Join it, and feel the delight of walking in the noisy street and being the noise. Drink all your passion, and be a disgrace. Close both eyes to see with the other eye.
Rumi

Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.
Rumi

Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
Rumi

As one who sees in dreams and wakes to find the emotional impression of his vision still powerful while its parts fade from his mind – Just such am I, having lost nearly all the vision itself, while in my heart I feel the sweetness of it yet distill and fall.
Dante Alighieri (c. 1265–September 9, 1321), Italian poet (Paradiso)

The pen is the tongue of the mind.
Miguel de Cervantes (September 29,1547–April 22,1616), Spanish novelist

The earth has music for those who listen.
William Shakespeare (April 26, 1564–April 23, 1616), English poet and playwright

The lunatic, the lover, and the poet, are of imagination all compact.
William Shakespeare

I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say what dream it was.
William Shakespeare

Suit the action to the word, the word to the action.
William Shakespeare

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of old; seek what they sought.
Matsuo Basho (1644 – November 28, 1694), Japanese  poet

Vision is the art of seeing things invisible.
Jonathan Swift (November 30, 1667 –October 19, 1745), Anglo-Irish satirist and  essayist

A creation of importance can only be produced when its author isolates himself, it is a child of solitude.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (August 28, 1749 –March 22, 1832), German poet

Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward; they may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

To think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If you would create something, you must be something.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Talent develops in solitude, character develops in the stream of life.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I love those who yearn for the impossible
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Every author in some way portrays himself in his works, even if it be against his will.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Personality is everything in art and poetry.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity … and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.
William Blake (November 28, 1757 –August 12, 1827), English poet and painter

To create a little flower is the labour of ages.
William Blake

The imagination is not a state: it is the human existence itself.
William Blake

What is now proved was once only imagined.
William Blake

I must create a system or be enslaved by another man’s. I will not reason and compare; my business is to create.
William Blake

An original writer is not one who imitates nobody, but one whom nobody can imitate.
François-René de Chateaubriand (September 4, 1768 –July 4, 1848), French writer and politician

Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.
William Wordsworth (April 7, 1770 –April 23, 1850), English poet

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.
William Wordsworth

Man is a creative retrospection of nature upon itself.
Friedrich Von Schlegel (March 10, 1772 –January 12, 1829), German poet and critic

Life must not be a novel that is given to us, but one that is made by us.
Novalis (May 2, 1772 – March 25, 1801), German  poet and author

Every great and original writer, in proportion as he is great or original, must himself create the taste by which he is to be relished.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (October 21, 1772 –July 25, 1834), English poet

Prose, words in their best order. Poetry, the best words in the best order.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

I call “crystallization” that action of the mind that discovers fresh perfections in its beloved at every turn of events.
Stendhal (January 23, 1783 –March 23, 1842), French writer

Only great minds can afford a simple style.
Stendhal

The man of genius is he and he alone who finds such joy in his art that he will work at it come hell or high water.
Stendhal

But words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling like dew upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.
Byron (January 22, 1788 –April 19, 1824), Anglo-Scottish poet

Whatever the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth -whether it existed before or not.
John Keats (October 31, 1795 –February 23,1821), English poet

The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were.
John Keats

The first among mankind will always be those who make something imperishable out of a sheet of paper, a canvas, a piece of marble, or a few sounds.
Alfred de Vigny (March 27, 1797 –September 17, 1863), French poet, playwright, and novelist

If the artist does not fling himself, without reflecting, into his work, as Curtis flung himself into the yawning gulf, as the soldier flings himself into the enemy’s trenches, and if, once in this crater, he does not work like a miner on whom the walls of his gallery have fallen in; if he contemplates difficulties instead of overcoming them one by one … he is simply looking on at the suicide of his own talent.
Honoré de Balzac (May 20, 1799 –August 18, 1850), French novelist and playwright

I am a galley slave to pen and ink.
Honore de Balzac

The man whose action habitually bears the stamp of his mind is a genius, but the greatest genius is not always equal to himself, or he would cease to be human.
Honore de Balzac

There is no such thing as a great talent without great will power.
Honore de Balzac

What is art? Nature concentrated.
Honore de Balzac

An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.
Victor Hugo (February 26, 1802 –May 22, 1885), French novelist, dramatist and poet

Nothing is more imminent than the impossible . . . what we must always foresee is the unforeseen.
Victor Hugo

Imagination is intelligence with an erection.
Victor Hugo

Sunlight is painting.
Nathaniel Hawthorne (July 4, 1804 – May 19, 1864), American novelist

They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. In their gray visions they obtain glimpses of eternity, and thrill, in waking, to find that they have been upon the verge of the great secret.
Edgar Allan Poe (January 19, 1809 – October 7, 1849), American author and poet

It will be found, in fact, that the ingenious are always fanciful, and the truly imaginative never otherwise than analytic.
Edgar Allan Poe

The true genius shudders at incompleteness — and usually prefers silence to saying something which is not every thing it should be.
Edgar Allan Poe

Through joy and through sorrow, I wrote. Through hunger and through thirst, I wrote. Through good report and through ill report, I wrote. Through sunshine and through moonshine, I wrote. What I wrote it is unnecessary to say.
Edgar Allan Poe

In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (February 27, 1807 – March 24, 1882), American poet

The mind of the scholar, if he would leave it large and liberal, should come in contact with other minds.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

For I dipped into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be.
Alfred Tennyson (August 6, 1809 –October 6, 1892), British poet

The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.
Charles Dickens (February 7, 1812 –June 9, 1870), English writer

The writer who possesses the creative gift owns something of which he is not always master- something that at time strangely wills and works for itself.
Charlotte Bronte (April 21, 1816 –March 31,1855), English novelist and poet

I never started from ideas but always from character.
Ivan Turgenev (November 9, 1818 – September 3, 1883),  Russian novelist

Creativity is not the finding of a thing, but the making something out of it after it is found.
James Russell Lowell (February 22, 1819 – August 12, 1891),  American poet and  critic

Those who love each other shall become invincible.
Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892), American poet and essayist

Be not dishearten’d – Affection shall solve the problems of Freedom yet.
Walt Whitman

If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.
George Eliot (November 22, 1819 –December  22, 1880),  English novelist and  journalist

Man is a creative animal, doomed to strive toward a goal, engaged in full-time engineering.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky(November 11, 1821 – February 9, 1881), Russian writers and novelist

Beauty will save the world.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

…yes, all is in a man’s hands and he lets it all slip from cowardice, that’s an axiom.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

It is amazing what one ray of sunshine can do for a man.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Innovators and men of genius have almost always been regarded as fools at the beginning (and very often at the end) of their careers.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky

In my view, the novelist has no right to express his opinions on the things of this world. In creating, he must imitate God: do his job and then shut up. Gustave Flaubert (December 12, 1821 – May 8, 1880), French writer

I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.
Gustave Flaubert

Talent is a long patience, and originality an effort of will and intense observation.
Gustave Flaubert

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.
Gustave Flaubert

What a heavy oar the pen is, and what a strong current ideas are to row in!
Gustave Flaubert

The idea of beauty is the fundamental idea of everything. In the world we see only distortions of the fundamental idea, but art, by imagination, may lift itself to the height of this idea. Art is therefore akin to creation.
Leo Tolstoy (September 9, 1828 –November 20, 1910),  Russian writer

Art is a human activity which has as its purpose the transmission to others of the highest and best feelings to which men have risen.
Leo Tolstoy

When I’m playful I use the meridians of longitude and parallels of latitude for a seine, and drag the Atlantic Ocean for whales. I scratch my head with the lightning and purr myself to sleep with the thunder.
Mark Twain (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), American author and humorist

Name the greatest of all inventors. Accident.
Mark Twain

You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.
Mark Twain

Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.
Mark Twain

Most writers regard the truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are most economical in its use.
Mark Twain

If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.
Émile Zola (April 2, 1840 –September 29,1902),  French writer

Art is a corner of creation seen through a temperament.
Emile Zola

If I cannot overwhelm with my quality, I will overwhelm with my quantity.
Emile Zola

To know is nothing at all; to imagine is everything.
Anatole France (April 16, 1844 –October 12,  1924), French poet and novelist

Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe.
Anatole France

There are poisons that blind you, and poisons that open your eyes.
August Strindberg (January 22, 1849 –May 14,  1912), Swedish playwright and  novelist

When one paints an ideal, one does not need to limit one’s imagination.
Ellen Key (December 11, 1849 – April 25, 1926),  Swedish writer

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.
Robert Louis Stevenson (November 13, 1850 –December 3, 1894), Scottish novelist and  poet

Art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known.
Oscar Wilde (October 16, 1854 –November 30, 1900), Irish writer and poet

It’s not hard to get the ideas when they come. They just come… it’s painful waiting for them.
Oscar Wilde

The imagination imitates. It is the critical spirit that creates.
Oscar Wilde

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.
Oscar Wilde

It is personalities not principles that move the age.
Oscar Wilde

No great artist ever sees things as they really are.
If He did, he would cease to be an artist.
Oscar Wilde

True alchemy lies in this formula: “Your memory and your senses are but the nourishment of your creative impulse”.
Arthur Rimbaud (October 20, 1854 –November 10, 1891), French poet

The poet, therefore, is truly the thief of fire. He is responsible for humanity, for animals even; he will have to make sure his visions can be smelled, fondled, listened to; if what he brings back from beyond has form, he gives it form; if it has none, he gives it none. A language must be found…of the soul, for the soul and will include everything: perfumes, sounds colors, thought grappling with thought.
Arthur Rimbaud

A poet makes himself a visionary through a long, boundless, and systematized disorganization of all the senses. All forms of love, of suffering, of madness; he searches himself, he exhausts within himself all poisons, and preserves their quintessences.
Arthur Rimbaud

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 (July 26, 1856 –November 2, 1950), Irish playwright

Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.  George Bernard Shaw

Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.
George Bernard Shaw

You see things and ask “Why?”; I dream things that never were and ask “Why not?”
George Bernard Shaw

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.
George Bernard Shaw

If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples, then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.
George Bernard Shaw

Only in men’s imagination does every truth find an effective and undeniable existence. Imagination, not invention, is the supreme master of art as of life.
Joseph Conrad (December 3, 1857 – August 3,1924), Polish author

An artist is a man of action, whether he creates a personality, invents an expedient, or finds the issue of a complicated situation.
Joseph Conrad

The writer must be able to revel and roll in the abundance of words; he must know not only the direct but also the secret power of a word. There are overtones and undertones to a word, and lateral echoes, too.
Knut Hamsun (August 4, 1859 – February 19, 1952), Norwegian author

A word can be transformed into a coulour, light, a smell; it is the writer’s task to use it in such a way that it serves, never fails, can never be ignored.
Knut Hamsun

Language must resound with all the harmonies of music. The writer must always, at all times, find the tremulous word which captures the thing and is able to draw a sob from my soul by its very rightness.
Knut Hamsun

The task of a writer is not to solve the problem but to state the problem correctly.
Anton Chekhov (January 29, 1860 –July 15, 1904), Russian dramaturge and writer

Six principles that make for a good story: 1. Absence of lengthy verbiage of a political-social-economic nature; 2. total objectivity; 3. truthful descriptions of persons and objects; 4. extreme brevity; 5. audacity and originality: flee the stereotype; 6. compassion.”
Anton Chekhov

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.
Anton Chekhov

When men ask me how I know so much about men, they get a simple answer: everything I know about men, I learned from me.
Anton Chekhov

If you look at anything long enough, say just that wall in front of you – it will come out of that wall.
Anton Chekhov

My own experience is that once a story has been written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying.
Anton Chekhov

What is Art? It is the response of man’s creative soul to the call of the Real.
Rabindranath Tagore (May 7, 1861 – August 7, 1941), Indian poet, writer, song composer, polymath

Write what you like; there is no other rule.
O. Henry (September 11, 1862 – June 5, 1910), American writer

Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind.
Rudyard Kipling (December 30, 1865 –January 18, 1936),  English writer and poet

Art is a collaboration between God and the artist, and the less the artist does the better.
André Gide (November 22, 1869 –February 19m 1951), French author

Follow the path of your aroused thought, and you will soon meet this infernal inscription: There is nothing so beautiful as that which does not exist.
Paul Valéry (October 30, 1871 –July 20, 1945), French poet, essayist, and philosopher

We enjoy lovely music, beautiful paintings, a thousand intellectual delicacies, but we have no idea of their cost, to those who invented them, in sleepless nights, tears, spasmodic laughter, rashes, asthmas, epilepsies, and the fear of death, which is worse than all the rest.
Marcel Proust (July 10, 1871 –November 18, 1922), French novelist

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
Marcel Proust

A powerful idea communicates some of its strength to him who challenges it.
Marcel Proust

It seems that the creative faculty and the critical faculty cannot exist together in their highest perfection.
W. Somerset Maugham (January 25, 1874 –December 16, 1965), British playwright and novelist

There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
W. Somerset Maugham

A good style should show no signs of effort.  What is written should seem a happy accident.
W. Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary — it’s just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
Somerset Maugham

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn’t matter a damn how you write.
Somerset Maugham

The best style is the style you don’t notice.
Somerset Maugham

Literature – creative literature – unconcerned with sex, is inconceivable.
Gertrude Stein (February 3, 1874 – July 27, 1946), American writer

It takes a lot of time to be a genius, you have to sit around so much doing nothing, really doing nothing.
Gertrude Stein

Poets do not go mad; but chess-players do. Mathematicians go mad, and cashiers; but creative artists very seldom. I am not, as will be seen, in any sense attacking logic: I only say that this danger does lie in logic, not in imagination.
G.K. Chesterton (May 29, 1874 –June 14,  1936),  English writer

One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.
G. K. Chesterton

The artistic temperament is a disease that afflicts amateurs. It is a disease which arises from men no having sufficient power of expression to utter and get rid of the element of art in their being.
G. K. Chesterton

Art consists of limitation.  The most beautiful part of every picture is the frame.
G.K. Chesterton

An art whose medium is language will always show a high degree of critical creativeness, for speech is itself a critique of life: it names, it characterizes, it passes judgment, in that it creates.
Thomas Mann (June 6, 1875 –August 12, 1955), German novelist

A great truth is a truth whose opposite is also a truth.
Thomas Mann

Literature. . . is the union of suffering with the instinct for form.
Thomas Mann

The deepest experience of the creator is feminine, for it is experience of receiving and bearing.
Rainer Maria Rilke (December 4, 1875 –December 29, 1926), Bohemian-Austrian poet and novelist

The only journey is the one within.
Rainer Maria Rilke

Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.
Rainer Maria Rilke

What is needed is, in the end, simply this: solitude, great inner solitude. Going into yourself and meeting no one for hours on end–that is what you must be able to attain.
Rainer Maria Rilke

You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.
Jack London (January 12, 1876 – November 22, 1916), American author

Gaze into the fire, into the clouds, and as soon as the inner voices begin to speak..surrender to them. Don’t ask first whether it’s permitted, or would please your teachers or father or some god. You will ruin yourself if you do that.
Hermann Hesse (July 2, 1877 – August 9, 1962), German-Swiss novelist and poet

Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity.
Hermann Hesse

Knowledge is love and light and vision.
Helen Keller (June 27, 1880 – June 1, 1968), American author

The only thing worse than being blind is having sight and no vision.
Helen Keller

The infinite wonders of the universe are revealed to us in exact measure as we are capable of receiving them. The keenness of our vision depends not on how much we can see, but on how much we feel.
Helen Keller

Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.
Guillaume Apollinaire (August 26,  1880 –November 9,  1918), French poet and playwright

Odd how the creative power at once brings the whole universe to order.
Virginia Woolf (January 25, 1882 –March 28, 1941), English writer

A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.
James Joyce (February 2, 1882 –January 13, 1941), Irish novelist and poet

The artist, like the God of the creation, remains within or behind or beyond or above his handiwork, invisible, refined out of existence, indifferent, paring his fingernails.
James Joyce

You do not even have to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait. Do not even wait, be still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has not choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.
Franz Kafka (July 3, 1883 –June 3, 1924), German-language writer

Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.
Franz Kafka

You gave too much rein to your imagination. Imagination is a good servant, and a bad master. The simplest explanation is always the most likely.
Agatha Christie (September 15, 1890 –January 12, 1976), English crime writer

Write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you are writing, and aren’t writing particularly well.
Agatha Christie

I don’t think necessity is the mother of invention — invention . . . arises directly from idleness, possibly also from laziness. To save oneself trouble.
Agatha Christie

For in spite of language, in spite of intelligence and intuition and sympathy, one can never really communicate anything to anybody.
 Aldous Huxley (July 26, 1894 –November 22,1963), English writer

To write fiction, one needs a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
Aldous Huxley

Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity.
Thomas Stearns Eliot (September 26, 1888 – January 4, 1965) American-British playwright, critic and poet

Between the idea and the reality falls the shadow.
Thomas Stearns Eliot

Only those that risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
Thomas Stearns Eliot

There is no method except to be very intelligent.
Thomas Stearns Eliot

Whoever uses the spirit that is in him creatively is an artist. To make living itself an art, that is the goal.
Henry Miller (December 26, 1891 – June 7, 1980), American writer and painter

Writing is its own reward.
Henry Miller

Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such.
Henry Miller

Imagination is the voice of daring. If there is anything godlike about God, it is that. He dared to imagine everything.
Henry Miller

No rules exist, and examples are simply life-savers answering the appeals of rules making vain attempts to exist.
Andre Breton (February 19, 1896 –September  28, 1966), French writer and poet

It is living and ceasing to live that are imaginary solutions. Existence is elsewhere.
Andre Breton

Find the key emotion; this may be all you need know to find your short story.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (September 24, 1896 – December 21, 1940), American author

To write it, it took three months; to conceive it — three minutes; to collect the data in it – all my life.
F. Scott Fitzgerald

A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.
William Faulkner (September 25, 1897 – July 6, 1962), American writer

The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life.
William Faulkner

The work never matches the dream of perfection the artist has to start with.
William Faulkner

Our imagination flies – we are its shadow on the earth.
Vladimir Nabokov (April 22, 1899c –July 2,  1977), Russian-American novelist

Art is a marriage of the conscious and the unconscious.
Jean Cocteau (July  5, 1889–October 11, 1963), French poet and  novelist   

The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth.
Jean Cocteau

Art produces ugly things which frequently become beautiful with time. Fashion on the other hand, produces beautiful things which always become ugly with time.
Jean Cocteau

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.
Thornton Wilder (April 17, 1897 – December 7, 1975), American playwright and novelist

I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.
Ernest Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961), American author and journalist

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
Ernest Hemingway

All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.
Ernest Hemingway

My aim is to put down what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way I can tell it.
Ernest Hemingway

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.
Jorge Luis Borges ( August 24, 1899 – June 14, 1986), Argentine short-story writer

The original is unfaithful to the translation.
Jorge Luis Borges

Writing is nothing more than a guided dream.
Jorge Luis Borges

What a writer wants to do is not what he does.
Jorge Luis Borges

Every writer “creates” his own precursors. His work modifies our conception of the past, as it will modify the future.
Jorge Luis Borges

Like all writers, he measured the achievements of others by what they had accomplished, asking of them that they measure him by what he envisaged or planned.
Jorge Luis Borges

A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (June 29, 1900 –July 31, 1944), French writer and poet

It is with the heart that one sees rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

It is in the compelling zest of high adventure and of victory, and in creative action that man finds his supreme joy.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Writing is not a profession but a vocation of unhappiness.
Georges Simenon (February 13, 1903 – September 4,  1989), Belgian writer

We…believe that art is religious, because it is one of man’s highest aspirations. There is no such thing as pagan art, only good and bad art.
Irving Stone (July 14, 1903– August 26, 1989), American biographical writer

Dance first, think later
Samuel Beckett (April 13, 1906 –December 22, 1989), Irish avant-garde novelist and playwright

Nothing matters but the writing. There has been nothing else worthwhile… a stain upon the silence.
Samuel Beckett

A man who is a genius and doesn’t know it probably isn’t.
Stanislaw J. Lec (March 6, 1909 –May 7, 1966),  Polish poet and aphorist

A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing.
Eugene Ionesco (November 26,1909 –March 28, 1994) , Romanian playwright

A work of art is above all an adventure of the mind.
Eugene Ionesco

All profound distraction opens certain doors. You have to allow yourself to be distracted when you are unable to concentrate.
Julio Cortázar (August 26, 1914 – February 12, 1984), Argentine short story writer

Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.
Isaac Asimov (January 2, 1920 – April 6, 1992), American author

All artists dream of a silence which they must enter, as some creatures return to the sea to spawn.
Iris Murdoch (July 15, 1919 –February 8,1999),  Irish-born British author

We live in a fantasy world, a world of illusion. The great task in life is to find reality.
Iris Murdoch

Surprise is where creativity comes in.
Ray Bradbury (August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012), American fantasy and science fiction writer

You fail only if you stop writing.
Ray Bradbury

First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!
Ray Bradbury

Life is “trying things to see if they work.
Ray Bradbury

Love is easy, and I love writing. You can’t resist love. You get an idea, someone says something, and you’re in love.
Ray Bradbury

A writer doesn’t solve problems. He allows them to emerge.
Friedrich Dürrenmatt (January 5, 1921 –December 14, 1990), Swiss author and dramatist

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
Kurt Vonnegut  (November 11, 1922 – April 11, 2007), American writer

To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.
Kurt Vonnegut

It’s much more important to write than to be written about.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez (born March 6, 1927),  Colombian novelist

I need, therefore I imagine.
Carlos Fuentes (November 11, 1928 – May 15, 2012), Mexican novelist and essayist

Writing is a struggle against silence.
Carlos Fuentes

Writers are not just people who sit down and write. They hazard themselves. Every time you compose a book your composition of yourself is at stake.
 E.L. Doctorow (born January 6, 1931), American author

Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.
E. L. Doctorow

Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader—not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.
E.L. Doctorow

Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.
E. L. Doctorow

Creativity is merely a plus name for regular activity. Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right, or better.
John Updike (March 18, 1932 –January 27, 2009), American novelist, poet, literary critic

What art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit.
John Updike

Creativity can only be anarchic, capitalist, Darwinian.
Umberto Eco (born 5 January 1932), Italian semiotician, philosopher and novelist

Artists are those who can evade the verbose.
Haruki Murakami (born January 12, 1949), Japanese writer and translator

For me, writing a novel is like having a dream. Writing a novel lets me intentionally dream while I’m still awake. I can continue yesterday’s dream today, something you can’t normally do in everyday life.
Haruki Murakami

Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and, therefore, the foundation of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.
 J.K. Rowling (born 31 July 1965), British novelist

Without cunning, there is no innovation. Without ambition, there is no accomplishment.
J.K. Rowling

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