Best Quotes: Julia Cameron on Writer’s Block

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Best Quotes: Julia Cameron on Writer’s Block

Closeup pen and blur background.For more than three decades, The Artist’s Way author Julia Cameron has been offering compassionate insight on the challenges of creativity. Her tools help writers overcome writer’s block by exploring how fear manifests as procrastination, the relationship between creativity and the unconscious, and by helping authors design not merely a “writing career”, but a creative life. The Writing Cycle has selected Cameron’s ten most resonant quotes to inspire anyone struggling with procrastination and perfectionism while making art.

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Julia Cameron on Writer’s Block

  1. Blocked writers are not lazy. They are blocked. Do not call procrastination laziness. Call it fear.”
  2. “Perfection has nothing to do with standards. Perfectionism is a refusal to let yourself move ahead. Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves, the part that tells us that nothing will ever be good enough.”
  3. “The need to be a great artist makes it hard to be an artist. The need to produce a great work of art makes it hard to produce any art at all.”
  4. “It is a paradox of creative recovery that we must get serious about taking ourselves lightly. Creativity must be freed from the narrow parameters of capital A art and recognized as having much broader play. Many hobbies involve a form of artist-brain mulling that leads to enormous creative breakthrough.”
  5. “Fixated on the need to have something to “show” for our efforts, we writers often deny our curiosities. Every time we do this, we get blocked. Our ego asks for us to be done, when what we truly yearn for is to start something. Creativity lies in the doing. Exploration leads to accomplishment.
  6. “Take one small daily action instead of indulging in the big questions. Take the next small step instead of skipping ahead to a large one for which you may not yet be prepared. Pursue creativity in the life you have.”
  7. “Ask: Am I letting myself do the kind of writing I want to do today, or am I using fears about making a living from the work, or about the critical reception of the work, to avoid doing the work?”
  8. “No high jumping please! Mistakes are necessary! Stumbles are normal. Progress, not perfection, is what we should be asking of ourselves.
  9. “Never, ever, judge a fledgling piece of work too quickly. Do not compare your early efforts to the finished works of masters.”
  10. “The real question is not, “What if I make bad art?” The real question is, “What if I am talented beyond my wildest dreams? What kind of tragedy would it be if I have the authentic gifts to create and have not, in this lifetime, been able to use them?”

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Carol Test
Carol Test
CAROL TEST is an award-winning short story writer and former editor-in-chief of Sonora Review. Raised in Phoenix, she earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona and taught fiction workshops at the college level for more than a decade. She currently empowers authors to get works-in-progress publication-ready via The Writing Cycle.
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