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How to Be Creative

There are myriad thoughts on how to be creative. There are books and blogs all about it. There are all sorts of hypotheses, theories and research studies. Because being creative is multi-faceted, and multi-layered—and everyone has an opinion on what works best.

Of course, it’s really up to each of us to identify what works best for us.

Below, you’ll find an assortment of insights from different creative minds, including authors, artists and researchers—inspiring, insightful quotes that come from the book I Want to Be Creative: Thinking, Living and Working More Creatively by Harriet Griffey.

“Creativity involves the breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way. ~ Edward De Bono.

“Creativity often consists of merely turning up what is already there. Did you know that right and left shoes were thought up only a little more than a century ago?” ~ Bernice Fitz-Gibbon

“To think creatively, we must be able to look afresh at what we normally take for granted.” ~ George F. Kneller

“When my daughter was about seven years old, she asked me one day what I did at work. I told her I worked at the college…that my job was to teach people how to draw. She stared at me, incredulous, and said, ‘You mean they forget?'” ~ Howard Ikemoto

“Failure is built into creativity…the creative act involves this element of ‘newness’ and ‘experimentalism,’ then one must expect and accept the possibility of failure.” ~ Saul Bass

“I have a magpie attitude to inspiration: I seek it from all sorts of sources; anything that allows me to think about how culture comes together. I’m always on the lookout—I observe people in the street; I watch films; I read, I think about the conversations that I have. I consider the gestures people use, or the colors they’re wearing. It’s about taking all the little everyday things and observing them with a critical eye; building up a scrapbook which you can draw on.” ~ Isaac Julien

“Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

“Just start scribbling. The first draft is never your last draft. Nothing you write is by accident.” ~ Guy Garvey

“Every first draft is perfect because all the first draft has to do is exist.” ~ Jane Smiley

“Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.” ~ E.B. White

Consider jotting down one of the above quotes (if you find a favorite), and put it by your tools (taped to your computer, scribbled inside your sketchbook). Because when the creative process inevitably gets tough and frustrating, and overwhelming and when you feel like you’ve completely lost your way, you’ll have some supportive words to lean into and provide you with a sense of direction or a few crumbs to follow out of the forest.

Photo by Soragrit Wongsa on Unsplash.

How to Be Creative

Margarita Tartakovsky, MS

Margarita is an associate editor at She writes about everything from taking compassionate care of yourself at any weight, shape, and size, to coping healthfully with difficult emotions. Her goal is to give readers practical, empowering tips to better their lives, and to remind you that whatever you're struggling with, you're never, ever alone.

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APA Reference
Tartakovsky, M. (2018). How to Be Creative. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 26, 2020, from


Last updated: 18 Nov 2018
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