“Understand: to create a meaningful work of art or to make a discovery or invention requires great discipline, self-control, and emotional stability. It requires mastering the forms of your field. Drugs and madness only destroy such powers. Do not fall for the romantic myths and clichés that abound in culture about creativity—offering us the excuse or panacea that such powers can come cheaply. When you look at the exceptionally creative work of Masters, you must not ignore the years of practice, the endless routines, the hours of doubt, and the tenacious overcoming of obstacles these people endured. Creative energy is the fruit of such efforts and nothing else.” ~ Robert Greene, Mastery
“Your task as a creative thinker is to actively explore the unconscious and contradictory parts of your personality, and to examine similar contradictions and tensions in the world at large. Expressing these tensions within your work in any medium will create a powerful effect on others, making them sense unconscious truths or feelings that have been obscured or repressed.” ~ Robert Greene, Mastery
“Masters manage to blend the two—discipline and a childlike spirit—together into what we shall call the Dimensional Mind. Such a mind is not constricted by limited experience or habits. It can branch out into all directions and make deep contact with reality. It can explore more dimensions of the world. The Conventional Mind is passive—it consumes information and regurgitates it in familiar forms. The Dimensional Mind is active, transforming everything it digests into something new and original, creating instead of consuming.” ~ Robert Greene, Mastery
“There is vitality, a life force, energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware of the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open…” ~ Martha Graham, via How To Live A Good Life
“There’s no one way — there’s too much drivel about this subject. You’re who you are, not Fitzgerald or Thomas Wolfe. You write by sitting down and writing. There’s no particular time or place — you suit yourself, your nature. How one works, assuming he’s disciplined, doesn’t matter. If he or she is not disciplined, no sympathetic magic will help. The trick is to make time — not steal it — and produce the fiction. If the stories come, you get them written, you’re on the right track. Eventually everyone learns his or her own best way. The real mystery to crack is you.” ~ Bernard Malamud, via Daily Rituals
“A modern stoic knows that the surest way to discipline passion is to discipline time: decide what you want or ought to do during the day, then always do it at exactly the same moment every day, and passion will give you no trouble.” ~ W. H. Auden, via Daily Rituals
“Daring ideas are like chessmen moved forward; they may be beaten, but they may start a winning game.” ~ Goethe, via Blog of Jonathan Fields
“Just about every great, brave, or beautiful thing in our culture was created by someone who didn’t do it for the money.” ~ Seth Godin, Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?
“We make a difference to other people when we give gifts to them, when we bring emotional labor to the table and do work that matters. It’s hard for me to imagine that this way of living and working is available to only a few. Yes, the cards are unfairly stacked against too many people. Yes, there are too many barriers and not enough support. But no, your ability to create and contribute isn’t determined at birth. It’s a choice.” ~ Seth Godin, Whatcha Gonna Do With That Duck?