Genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains.

Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881), Scottish writer, satirist and historian. Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, felt this definition applied well to detective work.

Expect anything worthwhile to take a long time… The myth of the overnight success is just that: a myth.

Maria Popova (1985 – ), Bulgarian New Yorker, writing on her popular blog, brainpickings.org

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.

Samuel Johnson (“Dr Johnson”) (1709-1784), English writer, poet, essayist, moralist, critic, editor, biographer and lexicographer

Ideas are society’s fuel. I drill a lot of wells; most of them are dry. Sometimes they produce. Sometimes the well catches fire.

Scott Adams (1957 – ), American author and comic strip creator, best-known for creating the Dilbert comic strip

One study recently suggested that some noise, such as the background buzz of a coffee shop, may be preferable to silence, in terms of creativity; moreover, physical mess may be as beneficial for some people as an impeccably tidy workspace is for others.

Oliver Burkeman (1975- ), British journalist, writing recently in The Guardian

Decide what you want or ought to do with the day, then always do it at exactly the same moment every day, and passion will give you no trouble.

WH Auden (1907-1973), Anglo-American poet

Besides being the greatest creative aphrodisiac, sleep also affects our every waking moment… Be as religious and disciplined about your sleep as you are about your work.

Maria Popova (1985 – ), Bulgarian New Yorker, writing on her popular blog, brainpickings.org

Build pockets of stillness into your life. Meditate. Go for walks. Ride your bike going nowhere in particular. There is a creative purpose to daydreaming, even to boredom.

Maria Popova (1985 – ), Bulgarian New Yorker, writing on her popular blog, brainpickings.org

To achieve great things two things are needed: a plan, and not quite enough time.

Leonard Bernstein (1919 – 1990), American composer, conductor and writer, probably best known for composing the music for “West Side Story”.

The mind is newly cleansed, but it’s also befuddled… I found that I wrote differently then.

Nicholson Baker (1957 – ), American writer, on why he took to getting up to write at 4.30am