13 Book Quotes From Creative Women, For Creative Women

There’s something I’d like to admit all my fellow creative women. When I was first learning to be a writer, back in my OshKosh and Garanimals days, I started out by copying down song lyrics written by other people, and tried to pass them off as my own. Yup, I was a blatant, unrepentant plagiarizer. Now, as the songs belonged to artists like The Beatles, The Doors, and Grace Slick (yeah, I was that kid) needless to say, nobody bought it. My crayoned renditions of Yellow Submarine — which in reality, allowed me to get the feel of being a writer, without my having to do all the difficult thinking — ended up on the fridge anyway, and eventually I started inventing my own creative work instead of copying that of others.

The point is, sometimes (or, a lot of times) creative people need a little inspiration. Whether you’re a gal using that beautiful mind of yours to do all things innovative in STEM or politics, visual arts or music, you’ve probably already figured out that you’re living the dream. But that doesn’t mean living the dream isn’t really, really challenging sometimes. And that’s where your sisters in creativity come in, with all sorts of hard-won, great advice for creative women like yourself.

Here are 13 quotes by creative women that will totally inspire your own creativity today. Check ‘em out.

1. “But unless we are creators we are not fully alive. What do I mean by creators? Not only artists, whose acts of creation are the obvious ones of working with paint of clay or words. Creativity is a way of living life, no matter our vocation or how we earn our living. Creativity is not limited to the arts, or having some kind of important career.”

― Madeleine L'Engle, Walking on Water

2. “The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long, meandering walks. The days reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.”

― Cheryl Strayed, Brave Enough

3. “In the end, there is no ideal condition for creativity. What works for one person is useless for another. The only criterion is this: Make it easy on yourself. Find a working environment where the prospect of wrestling with your muse doesn't scare you, doesn't shut you down. It should make you want to be there, and once you find it, stick with it.”

― Twyla Tharp, The Creative Habit

4. “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”

― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

5. “And what if people absolutely hate what you’ve created? What if people attack you with savage vitriol, and insult your intelligence, and malign your motives, and drag your good name through the mud? Just smile sweetly and suggest — as politely as you possibly can — that they go and make their own fucking art. Then stubbornly continue making yours.”

― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

6. “First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you're inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won't. Habit is persistence in practice.”

― Octavia E. Butler, Bloodchild and Other Stories

7. “The writer trusts nothing [s]he writes—it should be too reckless and alive for that, it should be beautiful and menacing and slightly out of h[er] control.”

― Joy Williams, Why I Write

8. “If there's one thing I've discovered, it's that stifling yourself will only lead to more misery. I polluted all other happiness because I was afraid to let myself create and change. You have to have courage. Real courage to explore, to fail, and to pick yourself back up again.”

― Siobhan Vivian, Same Difference

9. “Think of our lives and tell us your particularized world. Make up a story. Narrative is radical, creating us at the very moment it is being created. We will not blame you if your reach exceeds your grasp; if love so ignites your words they go down in flames and nothing is left but their scald.”

― Toni Morrison, The 1993 Nobel Lecture In Literature

10. “Be wild; that is how to clear the river. The river does not flow in polluted, we manage that. The river does not dry up, we block it. If we want to allow it its freedom, we have to allow our ideational lives to be let loose, to stream, letting anything come, initially censoring nothing. That is creative life.”

― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With The Wolves

11. “Hard times require furious dancing. Each of us is proof.”

― Alice Walker, Hard Times Require Furious Dancing

12. “‘Patti, did art get us?'I looked away, not really wanting to think about it. 'I don't know, Robert. I don't know.'Perhaps it did, but no one could regret that. Only a fool would regret being had by art.”

― Patti Smith, Just Kids

13. “Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud.”

― Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter

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