For no one else knows my lack of ability the way I do. I am pushing against it all the time.

That’s John Steinbeck, writing to himself while working on Grapes of Wrath. It’s my favorite bit of insight into the creative mind because it points to the one and only truth: greatness lives on the other side of struggle.

You’re struggling to paint that cow, to write that first chapter, or work that idea into a joke. You’re struggling due to your lack of ability. You’re struggling because, like all artists, like all creators, you’re pushing against your limitations. You’re pushing against your clumsy hands, your slow mind, your uncultivated palette. Like lifting weights or running a mile or swimming against a current, it hurts. You’re uncomfortable. You could be watching Netflix. But you’re not. You’ve nearly cracked the thing. A few more minutes at the keyboard I gotta get this right. A few more minutes at the gym and then I’ll go home for the day. You’ve nearly cracked the thing. Come on. Almost there. Just a few more. Not quite right yet but I think I know where to go from here. Eventually you’ll have that cow and that chapter and that joke. Just a few more. You’re pushing against your lack of ability. You’re pushing against your lack of ability and you’ve nearly got the thing cracked.

All we can expect from you is practice, practice, more practice.

So, practice.

And push.

And again.

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