Six Inspiring Writing Quotes to Boost Your Creativity [Guest Post]

17 Jan 2013 | Creativity


Image from Flickr by lethaargic

Last month, I featured Six Powerful Quotes to Get You Writing from Barry Demp, who’s a great business coach from Troy, Michigan.

Several readers mentioned how much they’d enjoyed those quotes … and I’m thrilled to be welcoming Barry back for a follow-up post. Do check out his site The Quotable Coach, where he now has more than 500 people receiving a daily quote straight to to their inboxes – I highly recommend joining them!

#1: “Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t  wait to get to work in the morning. I wanted to know what I was going to say.”

– Sharon O’Brien, author

As a coach, I get to speak with and listen to some pretty interesting people. During some particularly engaging conversations, a client will often ask me to repeat an idea or thought I have shared. In these cases, something I said must have resonated as valuable with their inner voice.

It is this inner voice of creative self-expression that often provides insights in these discussions to support my clients in taking new actions that produce better results.

One way I find things to write about is by exploring the meaning of powerful quotes and answering some deep and meaningful questions. In these questions, I simply see what I have to say on the subject and I project this inner voice in my writing.


How can you use your most creative and reflective inner voice to provide content for your authentic self-expression in your writing?

#2: “Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”

– Alexander Graham Bell, inventor

When I was very young, I remember using a magnifying glass to focus the sun’s rays and burn small holes in a piece of paper. I bet you did too.

With this idea in mind, I began to take interest in the concept that greater focus is also the source of greater achievement.

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell established that it takes 10,000 hours of focused practice to achieve personal mastery.


What must you do less of (or stop altogether) in your life, so you can start or do more of other focused activities? Think about what matters to you most on your journey to personal and professional excellence.


#3: “The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, brain surgery.”

– Robert Cormier, author and journalist

Someone once told me the best way to writing something good is to write something not so good and fix it. Ali Luke, the author of Aliventures, has been my coach and sounding board to assist me in improving my writing.

With her help, I’ve written three ebooks and more than 180 blog posts for The Quotable Coach. We must be doing something right – we now have over 500 subscribers.


Consider writing as a multiple-step process, where your own second or third look at the material, or your use of some outside resource, can lift your work to the next level.

The sheer amount of writing you do provides the added practice needed to further improve your skills.


#4: “Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.”

– Edward de Bono, doctor and author

Years ago, I read A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink. The premise of this book was based on the importance and value of right-brain/non-linear thinking. Pink pointed to some of the critical limiting factors related to left-brain or linear thinking: the value of this type of thinking has been decreased due to the advent of technology.


How much of your day do you spend on right-brain versus left-brain activities?

How can you break some of your established patterns and look at your world differently, to develop your creative mind?


#5: “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.”

– John Ruskin, artist and art critic

We have all heard the quote, “When you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” A by-product of this mixture of love and work is mastery, due to the amount of practice we experience over time.

Think about famous artists, top athletes, and great entertainers as examples of this synergistic combination.


What are your greatest skills, where you lose yourself in love?

It would be wonderful if these included your vocation. They may be hobbies or similar avocations – and hopefully, they can include building extraordinary relationships, in all areas of life.

What masterpieces have you built to this point and what future works of art are on the way?

#6: “If you want to write, you can. Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent. Who am I? What right have I to speak? Who will listen to me? You are a human being with a unique story to tell. You have every right.”

– Richard Rhodes, author and journalist

About 18 years ago, I was given an unusual assignment in a course called “The Wisdom Course.” This year-long program focused on accomplishing more by bringing a greater sense of play into our personal and professional lives.

The assignment we all received was to write an autobiography of our lives that included photos and thoughts for each single year – even if we had to make some of it up. As participants in the program, we often shared our stories and thoughts with one another with great interest and fascination.


Select two to five individual years of your life and write your own autobiography for them.

Expand this exercise by increasing the number of years, and by sharing the exercise with close friends and family.

If you enjoyed these, head over to Barry’s site The Quotable Coach for many more inspiring and thought-provoking quotes.

Barry and I would love to know if any of these quotes struck a chord with you – or if you have any great inspirational quotes of your own to share. Just pop a comment below!


I’m Ali Luke, and I live in Leeds in the UK with my husband and two children.

Aliventures is where I help you master the art, craft and business of writing.

My Novels

My contemporary fantasy trilogy is available from Amazon. The books follow on from one another, so read Lycopolis first.

You can buy them all from Amazon, or read them FREE in Kindle Unlimited.


  1. Chris Austin

    some very interesting exercises to try, thanks.

  2. Susan Bailey

    I liked #4 very much. I favor the right side while my husband favors the left. We both teach religious education with high schoolers (a real challenge!) and I wanted to learn how he teaches because he uses logic to get the kids to speak up. Even though we sometimes have a hard time working together, I asked to work with him on the high school retreat, both of us sharing a small discussion group. I wanted to observe his methods. He breaks the ice easily with humor (something I cannot do) and I enjoyed watching how he navigated our really quiet group of all girls. In the end, we all communicated in ways we never thought. I’ll have to observe him more often to learn about the left side of the brain! 🙂
    Susan Bailey’s last blog post ..A woman, a cat, and a global family (Ripley’s Kittens from The Critter Room)

    • Ali

      Susan, thanks for sharing this! It sounds like a great experience for you, your husband, and the girls. I tend towards left-brained thinking, but I’m finding more and more that it’s useful to watch and learn from others who have a different take on life. 🙂

  3. Allison

    A really nice one that #6 reminded me of–“A boat is always safe in the harbor, but that’s not what boats were built for.” Katie Couric

    Do you have any tips on pruning hobbies? I have so many things I WANT to do that I can’t figure out which I NEED to do and OUGHT to do. ^^’ It’s just…too many good things out there!

    • Ali

      I really like that quote — thanks for sharing! And I’ll ask Barry to pass on any hobby-pruning tips… 🙂

    • Barry Demp

      Hi Allison

      It is great that you have so many wonderful hobbies. Look at the ones that bring you the most pleasure and do more of them. At the same time explore doing less or even stopping a few that may have already run their course. Finally consider starting a new hobby that would challenge you to grow in some unique and fun way. Feel free to visit my website and look at my workbook on time management to help you find the time:-)

      • Allison

        Thanks! *evalutation time!*

  4. Dooginator

    All of these quotes and their respective commentary are wonderful. I lean toward #5 a bit because I have always told my kids and those I occasionally mentor, “Do what you love, and the money will come.” I’ve told this to frustrated artists, writers, and youth in general who were ready to make a choice of careers based upon potential income, but which they obviously showed no zeal or desire for, and I knew they would not enjoy. Like you eluded to Barry in your commentary, when we enjoy what we do we will keep on doing it and over the course of time mastery or at least a great proficiency will occur during our pursuit and joy. Life is too short for us to squander it fulfilling the perceived wishes of others and not those of our own. It is not disrespectful to follow our hearts as long was we temper our responses to those who believe they have our best interest at heart.

    As stated on your coaching website – (I followed the link given and check it out. Very easy to follow, nicely done. Obi Ali has taught you well) –

    “If you go looking for a friend, you’re going to find they’re very scarce. If you go out to be a friend, you’ll find them everywhere.” – Zig Ziglar, best-selling author and motivational speaker

    is a rehash of what is stated in the Book of Proverbs: “If you want to have friends, show yourself friendly.” First, is implied. Zig just passed this last year, he has been an inspiration to me since the late 60’s. My favorite quote from him is: “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”

    • Ali

      Doogie, lovely to see you here in the comments! Thanks for all the wise words. 🙂 I certainly agree with you on doing what you love … life is much too short to spend 8+ hours per day working a job you don’t enjoy.

      You mention Zig Ziglar — you might enjoy Barry’s recent series of quotes from Zig, which are up on the website at 🙂

  5. farouk

    thanks for the Quotes Ali
    i needed those, sometimes i run out of ideas and i feel like i need to be more creative
    i liked number 4 so much
    farouk’s last blog post ..How do women choose their mates

    • Ali

      Thanks Farouk! Glad you enjoyed them. 🙂

  6. Archan Mehta

    I really enjoyed reading this guest post, once again, congratulations for a job well done. And thanks to Ali for inviting you here. Life is play, so dance. Dance with ideas or whatever brings you joy. Dance with the music inside your soul. Dance in the rain and with the rays of the sun. That is the essence of your life.
    That is who you are, really. Engage with activities that bring a smile to your face and discard the rest.

  7. Daphnée Kwong Waye

    These are thought-provoking quotes and very helpful exercises! Often it is those kind of posts that will enable any writer to get up again and face the day with a new perspective. Thanks for sharing all this!
    Daphnée Kwong Waye’s last blog post ..Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond

    • Barry Demp

      Hi Daphnee

      We all need a bit of encouragement and coaching from time to time. The quotable coach project is my way of providing a daily dose of it:-) The exercises are meant to have the reader go deeper to make a more meaningful sustainable difference in their professional and personal lives.
      Barry Demp’s last blog post ..Troy Chamber of Commerce Interview with Barry Demp [Video]

  8. Iulian Ionescu

    I love this one: “The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, brain surgery.” I trully couldn’t unleash my writing until I came to peace with that…

    Thank you,

    Iulian Ionescu’s last blog post ..Fantasy Scroll Facebook Page


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