Can Quotes Inspire Creativity?
Danielle Hollister
Published on October 21, 2017
Self Improvement / Creativity

Sometimes reading a quick quotation can provide writers with inspiration to continue writing.

Why does this work? I do not know for sure.

Will it work for you? I do not know that either.

But try it and find out!

Search a comprehensive collection of quotations on this page

I would like to suggest a writing exercise created by Shery Ma Belle Arrieta, owner of Positive Quotes. Her creative writing exercise is published below with her permission.


* short intro - Over the years, decades, and even centuries, many great men and women made their mark in history through something they have said. Quotable quotes as some would say. These people have said many an inspiring quote that books containing just these quotes continue to be published time and time again. I have found that a quote I come across can encapsulate an event, memory or a belief that I experienced, recalled and clung to. When I come across a quote, I immediately think of what it means to me and my life. Yes, a great man said a quote, and I live the quote.

* the purpose - The purpose of this creative writing exercise is to let you be guided by an inspiring or motivating quote towards writing a short article that can either inspire and motivate others, strengthen your conviction, or even illustrate an important event in your life.

* the steps (with example if it helps) - The first step is for you to have a favorite quote with you. It may be a line in a poem or a song, a verse from the Bible, or something that a famous person once said.

Next, write that quote on top of a piece of paper. Ask yourself some questions.

Why is this quote important to me?

How does this relate to my life? My beliefs? My experiences?

What does this quote make me think/remember/feel?

An example of a meaningful quote to me is this billboard ad I see everyday when I go to work: "We need to talk." - God.

It made me think, question myself, look into what I have been doing and made me realize something important missing in my life.

* an example - Here is an example of a short article I was able to write based on that quote:

The Greatest Billboard Ad

Every morning on my two-hour commute to work, I make it a point to sit on the left side of the bus, or stand on the left side when I run out of seats.

Why? Because on the left side of the freeway, there's this huge black billboard that's waiting for someone to lease the ad space. Whoever owned that ad space was wise to put the temporary ad. Every morning, I watch out for it, read it, then set the call into action.

It's the greatest billboard ad I've ever seen: There in the middle of the board, in white letters are the words, "We need to talk." And God said it.

Four simple words that spoke volumes. The first time I saw it, read it, I was immediately faced with something I have neglected to do for a very long time:

Devote a time for serious talk time with God. Just Him and me.

It struck a chord in me. I realized that all this time, when I've been causing pain to my best friend by accusing him of not talking to me anymore, I failed to see that God IS the one to talk to.

When we get right down to matters of the heart and spirit, He's the One we should turn to. He won't ever get tired of listening, and He speaks to us through our hearts and souls.

Whenever I think of those times that I've hurt my best friend, I long for us to talk again. This time, not just him and me, but him, me and God. I'm sure He'll welcome it.

You don't have to write a full-length essay based on a quote. Short, 3-4 paragraphs will do. Just something that will make you think and serve as a warm up writing exercise.

These short articles can later be the basis for longer works.

* activity choices

Go out. Look for billboard ads. Use a line from a billboard ad that strikes you as meaningful. Write a 100 word or less essay based on that ad.

Surf on to a "quote-generator" site such as Write a 150-word article based on the first quote you read there.

Remember how our mothers used to tell us the same thing over and over again?

Dig back in your memory bank and recall one of your mother's favorite line (this can be either taken as something you hated to hear her repeat when you were younger or something you followed when you were growing up).

Write a 200-word essay based on your mother's line. (You can also use this based on a line your father, teacher, brother, sister, etc. has said.)

Choose from any of these word: COURAGE, RESPECT, SUCCESS, TRUST. If you have a book of quotes with you (you can also search for it online), find a quote about your choice. Once you find the appropriate quote, write about it.

What's your favorite song? From that, what's your favorite line? Or maybe it's the chorus you like the most. Based on that, write a 200-word essay on why you like that part of the song.

At the risk of bearing my soul for all the web to see, below is what I wrote for activity#5.

My favorite song - Run Baby Run by Sheryl Crow

My favorite line - But he failed and taught her young, the only thing she'd need to carry on --- He taught her how to run baby run, run baby run, run baby run, so run baby run, run baby run, run baby run... Baby loves to run...

The repetition of these few words combined with my interpretation of the rest of the lyrics tears at my heart as much today as it did the first time I heard the song more than two years ago.

The initial impact was overwhelming for me to say the least. The song unveiled an undeniable recollection of past events in my mind almost immediately.

Although the words evoke a memory of something somber about my life, they also clarified more than 20 years of confusion and questions that haunted me since the day my father left when I was about 7 years-old.

I hated him and I loved him at the same time. I hated him for not loving me the way I wanted him to. I loved him for loving me at all.

I made many bad choices as a teenage girl, who grew up in a single parent home with a mother, who had to work a lot just to support my little sister and me, which inevitably resulted in us having too much freedom and not enough supervision.

I do not regret my choices. I've learned a lot from my failed judgments and spontaneous decisions.

What I did not learn until I was about 30 years-old (after the death of my grandfather, Thomas J. Kline, Jr., God Rest His Soul, who was the primary male figure in my life) was that I had to stop running!

Just as the song says, this Baby did love to run (just like her daddy - I realize now).

I ran from state to state to see Dead shows for years, from the East Coast to the West Coast and back for three months on a spur of the moment cross-country adventure, and among other things from job to job for a few years.

I had fun - the time of my life - of course.

But I failed to understand that running from what I didn't like in life would not make it go away. I didn't see that until I dealt with certain issues, my problems would persist.

But now I get it. I didn't have a clue about how my behavior began or how my father, childhood experiences, and absence of my father, influenced my actions until I heard this song.

As I began to sing along - "He failed and taught her young, the only thing she'd need to carry on - He taught her how to run baby run baby run..." it suddenly became clear.

At least he taught me something I guess...

Resource Box - Danielle Hollister (2004) is the Publisher of BellaOnline Quotations Zine - A free newsletter for quote lovers featuring more than 10,000 quotations in dozens of categories like - love, friendship, children, inspiration, success, wisdom, family, life, and many more. Read it online at -

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