Five Secrets to Your Most Creative Self

If you are at all curious about creativity, you can find many famous and not so famous quotes about creativity. What you may not know is that those quotes can teach you secrets to creativity. Below are quotes that reveal five secrets to your most creative self.

image of a light bulb with a colorful flare behind it titled five secrets to your most creative self.

1. Allow Yourself to Feel

Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you’re passionate about something, then you’re more willing to take risks.

Yo-Yo Ma

Yo-Yo Ma reveals a big secret in his words above. The only way to be your most creative self, is to find your passion. Sit quietly or meditate. Discover what stirs you. What makes you “lose time?” Makes you forget to eat or drink or even to use the bathroom.

What are the things you most treasure? Books? Art work? Metal work? Cooking? Knitting… the list goes on and on.

Whatever absorbs you is at least one of your passions. It doesn’t matter if it’s a “real” art or not. Remember, you don’t have to be an artist to be creative. Follow your passion. See where it leads. If you have multiple passions, focus on one for a few months. Try as many as you like. (Some people can pursue more than one, but if that’s your choice understand it may take you on a longer journey than focusing on one.)

Rational thoughts never drive people’s creativity the way emotions do.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

2. Know Your Art

Critical thinking and curiosity are the key to creativity.

Amala Akkineni

Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.

Edward de Bono

There are two schools of thought about learning the techniques or the skills of your art.

Some suggest that one should create for a while before learning the “rules.” They believe you are more creative before you learn the rules. If you have a strong “perfection” drive, this path may help you.

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.

Scott Adams

If one creates without knowing the rules, you can be incredibly creative, or you might meet failures. These failures, according to those who don’t ascribe to the don’t learn first thinking, may have been mitigated or even prevented.

Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.

William Plomer

The other school of thought contends that learning the “rules” and applying them as guidelines actually increases creativity.

Creativity comes from a conflict of ideas.

Donatella Versace

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.

Charles Mingus

You may choose to learn the commonalities of good art in a formal or informal setting. Find a mentor, a class, study your art independently. You might find value in doing each of those.

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.

Steve Jobs

Neither method is wrong. Do what helps you most.

3. Be Child Like—Play

The creative adult is the child who survived.

Ursula Le Guin

The third of the five secrets to your most creative self is to play. To be creative, to connect things in ways others find surprising or interesting, tap your inner child. Be a child. Be curious.

Creativity is intelligence having fun.

Albert Einstein

Have fun. If it isn’t fun, take a step back. What would make it fun? Play.

If you want creative workers, give them enough time to play.

John Cleese

Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun.

Mary Lou Cook

4. Allow Yourself to Fail

Image of a lion's face on a black background with the quote "creativity takes courage by Henri Matisse

Creativity takes courage.

Henri Matisse

You may think of failure with capital letters, as if it is a bad thing. All creatives fail sometimes, often many times.

Look at each failure as an opportunity to learn. Examine it. Document it. What you learn may surprise you. The biggest surprises are the attempts you thought failed, and someone else believes is great art.

An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.

Edwin Land

5. Allow Yourself to Create

You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club. Jack London

Being creative, especially when it takes more time and money than you’d planned, can seem wasteful. Perhaps it appears more wasteful to a partner or family member than it does to you. That’s one time when creativity is hard.

Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones. Bruce Garrabrandt

If you don’t give yourself permission to create, you’ll postpone it. You’ll defer to other people’s desires or needs. Don’t wait. Most especially, don’t wait for inspiration or for the perfect conditions. Go for it. The only way it will get done is if you allow yourself to create.

Five Secrets to Your Most Creative Self

To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.

Kurt Vonnegut

You can use these five secrets to your most creative self and in following your passion, you’ll find the real secret isn’t a secret. Do it. Follow your passion, whatever it is. Make your soul grow. And in the comments below, please share what your passion is.

3 Secrets to Creating the Time for Your Creativity

Your life is full with a job, a significant other, children or responsibilities. You’ve got no time to pursue a creative activity. Perhaps you despair of ever finding the time. There are 3 secrets to creating the time for your creativity: Find Your Truth, Recognize Your Limits, and Assess Yourself. Follow these three keys (okay, five), and you’ll find the time you need.

Electronic Sign hanging from a room says "Too Busy"

Find Your Truth

When you say, “I don’t have the time” you are lying to yourself. You make time for many activities. Uncover the root of why you don’t have time for your creativity.

Have you found your passion? If you aren’t passionate about the creative activity you’ve pursued, you’ll never find the time. So take a self-inventory. Discover your true passion. Your passion will drive you forward despite obstacles in your life.

Some people use the “no time” phrase to avoid failure. Are you afraid to try because you might fail? Rethink that. Face your fear. Of course you’ll fail a few or many times. But with each failure you’ve learned something. Figure out what you learned and try again. Find a mentor. Take a class. You can do it when you decide to act.

Try to eliminate one or two activities. Look for the “should dos” or the “only I can do it right” chores and other people’s demands on your time. Learn to delegate or let go or say no.

When you find your truth, you’ll follow your creative passion. You’ll face your fear even if you have to take baby steps. And you’ll create time for your creativity in your own day and life. It doesn’t matter if it’s fifteen minutes a day or a couple of hours one day a week. Once you find your passion, you’ll find time. And when you find the time, your passion and your skills will grow.

Recognize Your Limits

A long time ago, I read a post about productivity. It explained that all of us have limited time, energy, and attention. You also need to recognize these limits if you want to create time for your creativity.


green clock faces of different sized in a green swirl on a black background creating the time for your creativity means prioritizing creative time

You’ve heard it before. Like everyone else, you have twenty-four hours each day. The problem often is that you fill those twenty-four hours with everything else first.

To create time for creativity, you must value your time. You must value your creative endeavors. Schedule your creative time. Take baby steps. Designate fifteen minutes a day or two hours once a week. Get up half-hour earlier each day or postpone certain activities or delegate or even give up one or two activities. Decide what’s doable this month. Write your creative time on your schedule, FIRST, then schedule holidays and other activities around it.

Don’t fill every minute of your schedule. Allow yourself some wiggle room. Prioritize your creativity and everything else will fall into place.


You’ve only got a finite amount of energy each day. To get your maximum amount of energy, make certain you get enough rest, drink enough water, and exercise regularly. If you have to schedule those activities, do so.

Energy levels change over the course of the day and based on your life situation. Discover which hours of the day you have the most creative energy. Some people are morning people. Some work best in the middle of the day. Still others work best at night. How do you do that? Try one time for two to four weeks, then try another time for another few weeks. Don’t rely on your memory, record the time of day and how much time you spent, and what you accomplished. Compare your results and you’ll know what works best.

Plan to use your energy so that your creativity gets a good share of it. If you have young children or are a caregiver, that may be difficult. If life situations keep you from giving your creativity your best energy, give it your second best. Don’t wait to tackle your creative endeavor with your last bit of energy. You’ll end up not doing well or give up entirely.


Today’s world is full of distractions. Key to creating the time for your creativity, is protecting your attention.

Respect your creative time by finding a distraction-free environment. Or at least as distraction free as you can make it.

That means turn off your phone. Don’t get on the internet. Shut the door. Teach your family and friends that you will give them attention when after you finish your creative time. Then do it.

When I was alone with my young son, I couldn’t shut the door. So I taught my son to respect my creative time. When he tried to interrupt, I’d ask him-Is it:

  • on fire?
  • bleeding?
  • dead?

If it was an emergency, I’d stop and take care of the problem. If it wasn’t, I redirected my son and refocused on my creative work. It took months, but he learned to respect my creative time.

Some creatives I know use music or sound cancelling headphones to help them focus their attention. Brainstorm how you can decrease or eliminate distractions so you can give your creativity your full attention.

Assess Yourself

a cartoonish image of a paper, pencil and a magnifying glass represents part of creating the time for your creativity by assessing yourself

Record your use of time. Make a record of your progress. It’s impossible to know how much you’ve grown or learned without records. Use a spreadsheet, an organizer, a calendar, or photographs.

Make a regular date to assess yourself once a week or once a month. How did you use your time and energy and attention? What progress did you make? Did you keep your creative time as planned? Why or why not?

As regular readers of my blog know, I assess myself at least monthly. Based on what I’ve learned works for me, I record my time spent and what I accomplished in that time. At the end of each month, I evaluate my activities. What worked and what didn’t? Based on what I recorded, I make adjustments. I write my intentions (goals) and my schedule in my planner for the next month. Rinse and repeat.

Use the 3 Secrets to Creating the Time for Your Creativity

Over time, you’ll learn what works best for you. You’ll change what you record or how you record it because of changes in your lifestyle or in your skill level. But keep assessing yourself and you’ll find you’ve mastered the 3 secrets to creating the time for your creativity. Do you know other ways to create time for creativity? Please share in the comments below.

Dirty Little Secrets to Writing a Good Story

In my post Two Secret Rules for Writers, I said the secret was that there isn’t a secret in writing. I may have to take that back. The truth is there are dirty little secrets to writing a good story. One secret? There’s probably no new story under the sun. Why? Are we writers’ incapable of an original thought?

Woman holding her finger to her lips knows there are dirty little secrets to writing a good story

Heck no! The originality comes from the blend and the bend of the story as told by that particular writer at that particular time. Stories come from the stories we have consumed (read, heard, or viewed). So they are all a melding of a ton of different things.

Study Story

To write the best stories one must study the masters. Study the successful stories. What makes them tick? And how can I use that in my story?

Pantsers decry outlines and story structure to their story’s detriment. The way the human brain processes story demands a structure we can recognize.

You don’t have to start from an outline, but whatever you write must have the parts in it to be successful.


I’ve mixed bits and pieces of Westerns and Space Opera and Thrillers and mythology. Yes, they went into one story. And it worked because I used structure to help me put the pieces where they made sense.

How? I looked at the choices the main character makes at each stage of the story. The types of decision made in the Western fit my story so there’s my beginning. Mid-point decisions made in a thriller and a myth, inspired my story’s mid-point. And the crisis decision(s) came from the Space Opera. In a way, I’ve borrowed the bones of four (or more) different skeletons. My characters, my setting, my story throughline written in my words flesh the story out.

The Secret

Studying stories can trigger creative ideas and solutions when writing my own stories. This is one of the dirty little secrets to writing a good story. But it’s no secret that Fellowship is going live on Monday, July 8th. You can pre-order now. And, if you follow my Facebook author page, I’ll let you know about a short, online launch party I’ll be having soon.