Every creative professional has experienced a block of some sort, whether it's the stereotypical writer's block facing a blank Word document, or a designer fresh out of ideas with 3 logo studies and a client waiting for jpegs by end-of-business. Sometimes all you need to get going again are inspiring words from other artists who've been down the very same path you're treading and have wisdom to share. Here is our collection of 11 quotes from some of the most creative minds in history who've felt your pain and emerged victorious. May you find the inspiration to rise above your slump and free the genius inside your mind.

Quotes on Starting New Projects

01. “Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it” — Salvador Dali Surreal artist Salvador Dali understands that fear will keep you from moving forward, especially if you aim for perfection right from the get-go. Face it, you won't achieve perfection; but with enough effort, you will get to something great. And this is sometimes all the time we have before a new project lands on our desks. 02. “Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things” — Ray Bradbury Author Ray Bradbury, known for his deeply emotional short stories, suggests we simply start doing. Once you start listening to your inner critic say such things as, "Is this work worthy of my name?" or, "This looks like crap!" you won't be able to make the necessary mistakes that get you from a first draft to the polished final. You have to trust in the doing. 03. “Originality is nothing but judicious imitation” — Voltaire Writer and philosopher Voltaire shares another huge roadblock to starting a creative project: the question. "Is this original enough?" Real originality rests in picking the elements that please you and building up from those elements — judiciously.

Quotes on Finding Inspiration

04. “So you see, imagination needs moodling — long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering.” — Brenda Ueland Brenda Ueland, a journalist, writer, teacher of writing and author of If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit, tells us two missing elements in developing our imagination as adults: play and time. We need to carve out free time to incubate ideas, and we need to learn how to play again just as when we were children: play with tools, with ideas, with technology, with pen and paper. 05. “You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” — Jack London American novelist and social activist Jack London shares the difference between a true creative professional and an amateur. The amateur waits passively for inspiration to come. The professional hunts for it, ready with the tools of the trade. 06. "All profound distraction opens certain doors. You have to allow yourself to be distracted when you are unable to concentrate." — Julio Cortazar Argentine novelist, short story writer, and essayist Julio Cortazar says that even distraction can lead to great ideas. Embrace everything and find a way to use them as stepping stones to better ideas and insight.

Quotes on Living the Creative Life

07. "Live out of your imagination, not your history." — Stephen Covey Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, shares that we can't be prisoners of our past mistakes. Our history will hold us back in a circle of self-doubt and remembered failures. To move forward, however, means to view past mistakes as lessons learned, to imagine a better future ahead, and to strive towards it. 08. “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” — Maya Angelou Poet and writer Maya Angelou reveals the secret to creativity. It can't be diminished. But you won't be living a creative life until you are effectively using it every chance you get. 09. "Conditions for creativity are to be puzzled; to concentrate; to accept conflict and tension; to be born everyday; to feel a sense of self.” — Erich Fromm German social psychologist and philosopher Erich Fromm tells us the right conditions for nurturing creativity. And take note that none of the words he uses is passive. Which only means we have to work at it and actively cultivate that sense of puzzlement/focus/tension/self.

Quotes on Managing Creatives

10. “To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” — Aristotle Greek philosopher Aristotle hits the nail on the head regarding criticism. You'll always get it if you're busy doing something (and especially if you're doing something creative). If it's constructive, learn from it. If it's destructive, ignore it. But learn to live with it! 11. “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” — Antoine De Saint-Exupery And finally Saint-Exupery, author of the timeless The Little Prince, shares his view on properly motivating your team. Encourage them to pursue the same vision that's driving you. And who knows? They may start self-organizing and assigning themselves their own tasks.

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