9 Quotes on Creativity from Rick Rubin’s The Creative Act

As soon as this book was announced, I knew I had to pre-order it. And since then, I’ve spoken about it so much I’ve encouraged many other creative women in business to buy it too…

min read

Practise not just looking but seeing.

I discovered Rick Rubin only last year. I had heard the name before, but hadn’t delved deeper into who he was until one of my favourite artists, Kim Namjoon, shared some quotes on Instagram. Anyone who knows me knows I love creative thinking, exploration and words that make you think…so the things that Rubin discusses couldn’t be more up my street.

Firstly, he is well-known as a legendary music producer (which is probably why I hadn’t really stumbled across him before) and simply calls himself a “music enthusiast” but he isn’t simply technical. I would describe him as true creative. Not restricted by genre or discipline, and is a fierce champion for creative expression in any form. As a serial procrasticreator multi-passionate creative, I have always been interested in how inspiration informs output, boundaries when it comes to creating, and what being actively curious means to me. I wish I had been following his stories for longer – but at least I have a treasure trove to dive into now!

Secondly, I love that he uses social media in a completely different way than I have seen before. Especially for someone with a following of 300k+. He (or his team) posts a single thought to the grid once a day, and then deletes it. In an era of overconsumption of media it feels rebellious and freeing to see Instagram being used purely as a space for a single thought at any given time. “The reason to finish is to start something new.“ – yes, a fitting Rubin quote.

After saving a ridiculous amount of his posts to my ‘Curiosity’ collection on Instagram, I knew I had to pre-order his book as soon as it was announced. And since, I’ve spoken about it so much I’ve encouraged numerous creative women in business to buy it too. If you have any interest at all in the things he talks about on his social, then get this book. You won’t be disappointed.

Here are 9 of my favourite quotes from The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin.

Look for what you notice but no one else sees.

The things we believe carry a charge regardless of whether they can be proven or not.

One of the best strategies is to lower the stakes.

The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.

The ability to look deeply – this is my biggest strength as a creative designer.

Good design isn’t about taking the most obvious thing about your business and shouting about it. That is certainly not wrong, but it’s easy for anyone to do. It’s boring. What’s special about a cake shop having a cake logo?

I’m inspired by every little detail about you, your goals, your business, your passion, your dreams. The big things and the tiny things. The things that you might shrug off as not important enough, or special enough, or businessy enough. I see through to the heart of who you are, what you’re doing, and finding a golden thread of a story so you can show up packed full of personality.

The world doesn’t need more boring businesses with a bland brands.

In some cases, distraction is the only way to get where we are going.

Nothing is static…You can’t step into the same stream twice because it’s always flowing. Everything is.

No one is the same person all day long.

One person’s connected place may be another’s distraction.

There are a few books in my library that I know I will reread regularly (one being Atomic Habits by James Clear that I read every January) and I think this is one of those. I imagine that my fav quotes will change each time I flip through it and some sections will resonate more in certain moments or phases of life, and I love that! That this is now simply a part of my creative way of being.

I share more of Rubin’s words on creativity on the studio Instagram, when they hit the spot just right so join me there and let me know about how you feel about your creative life.