Maybe you’re overwhelmed by your work. Maybe you’re doubting your abilities. Or everything. Maybe you received negative feedback or lost a client. Maybe you’re feeling stuck with a project. Maybe you’ve got a serious case of creator’s block. Maybe you simply need some inspiration or empowerment, some wise words to help you take the next step.

Today, I’m sharing these words from the new book Creative Pep Talk, which features illustrated quotes from 50 artists. Below are some of my favorite quotes. I like to collect quotes and store them in Evernote so I can access them any time I’m feeling uncertain, any time I’m feeling terrible about my writing, myself. Words, of course, aren’t a cure-all. But I’d say, on many days, they come pretty darn close.

Embracing Everything

“I spent much of my life until my late thirties lamenting mistakes and harboring regrets. Somewhere in there, I learned that what made me feel better each day was embracing everything about my life, including the things that didn’t go well. This simple perspective shift changed everything for me and made it much more possible for me to feel happy every day. It also helped me take more risks, because even if I failed, it would be worth it since I would learn something new that made me a better, smarter, more compassionate person. I came up with this phrase [‘it’s always worth it’] to remind myself and others of this way of thinking. This is the fourth piece of artwork I’ve designed with the phrase since 2008.” ~ Lisa Congdon. (The above image is her illustration.)

Embracing Your Weird

“Embracing the things that make me unique has proved to be invaluable throughout my career. Over the years, I’ve found the work I do that resonates most with my audience (and art directors) is the work I am most passionate about. Any time I’ve tried to do something that I think might be ‘marketable,’ it’s usually a flop. So embrace what makes you different and stay weird!” ~ Chris Piascik

Adopting a Playful Attitude

“Having fun when I’m working, looking at a project in a playful way, and making things with my hands have all been successful approaches to design for me. Some of my favorite projects have come from a place of play. Experimenting with collage led to some award-winning designs at Esquire. Fooling around with food faces with my son turned into a column for Lucky Peach and a fun project with Disney. Making and designing gifts for my family and close friends led to being approached to write a craft book. Making your designs playful and bringing that joy of creating and experimenting into a project can make your work sing.” ~ Erin Jang

“‘Work’ is a four-letter word in more than one sense. Other people ‘work,’ I ‘play.’ I don’t ‘go to work,’ I ‘go to play.’ I play with lines, shapes, colors, contexts, thoughts, and emotions like a child plays with blocks, dolls, cars, or stuffed animals. I often remind myself of this on those days when the ideas aren’t flowing or a client is dragging me down. It’s Not Work. It’s Play.” ~ Christopher David Ryan

Waking Up to Small Moments

“Learn how to turn work off and wake up to a moment. Be open to those fleeting conversations, use a Sharpie on your favorite shirt, play an instrument even if you don’t know how. These small moments can inspire you in surprising ways and might even lead to an idea of a lifetime.” ~ Erik Marinovich

Remembering We Are Infinite

“My dad always says, ‘You are infinitely more capable than you think.’ I’ve found that when I believe that my potential is infinite and go after what I really want, amazing things happen. Don’t hold onto limiting beliefs about your own potential. Use that energy to gain clarity on what you really want, and go after it.” ~ Andy J. Miller

What’s your favorite quote? What words inspire, empower and uplift you? 

Image from Creative Pep Talk by Lisa Congdon/Chronicle Books.