I love this series of books from him, from War of Art to Turning Pro. This is worth reading if you need a nudge on this subject, but if you've read the others, it only offers a little more.
The artist's journey comes after the hero's journey.
Show me someone who claims "I have no passion" and I'll show you a born artist who's scared out of his wits to become that artist.
Awaken from the morphine sleep of success into the life of an artist.
Everything in her life that is "not-artist" now falls away. No more squandering voice or talent. She's on a mission now.
The artist's journey is internal.
"Why don't you turn the desk around so you have a view outside?"
I don't care about the view outside. My focus is interior. The book or movie I'm writing is playing inside my head.
The artist is not expressing himself. He is discovering himself.
I never wrote anything good until I stopped trying to write the truth.
Fiction is the truth.
The artist's medium is not reality, but truth boiled down to its essence.
Write what you don't know.
Write to discover "you" - that wiser "you".
What, precisely, does an artist do?
Shuttle from the material world to the invisible world and back again.
Bringing back something that had never existed in the First World before.
You reach down through a shallow stream and you pull up a handful of bright, pretty pebbles. The stream bottom is one reality. Sunlight and air is the other. One is mysterious, the other matter of fact. One requires faith, the other reason. We plunge our hand through the surface, not sure what we'll find. We pull our hand back and examine what we've got. Good? Bad? Worth keeping? To be put where? Utilized how?
In a four-hour working day, the writer shuttles between realities a thousand times.
The creative call is scary. No wonder our initial impulse is to hide from it. We must create our own meeting with the mentor.
What project terrifies you most?
What work are you certain you can never pull off?
What role will push you past your limits, and take you into places you have never gone?
What journey will carry you off the map entirely?
She will pause frequently, often for long moments. She is seeking the right word. But she does not consciously search for this. Rather she is waiting until the correct word arises of itself.
I wake up at 5:30 a.m., put on my workout clothes, hail a taxi to the gym.
The ritual is not the gym; the ritual is the taxi.
The moment I tell the driver where to go I have completed the ritual.
Doing it the same way each morning reduces the chance that I would skip it or do it differently.
When I enter my office, I cross the threshold into a different dimension.
What I had desired all my life was not to “live” but to express myself.
I had never had the least interest in living, but only in this which I am doing now, something which is parallel to life, of it at the same time, and beyond it.
What is true interests me scarcely at all, nor even what is real; only that interests me which I imagine to be, that which I had stifled every day in order to live.
- Henry Miller, Tropic of Capricorn