Writing is a lot like like gardening. When we’re willing to get our hands dirty, the blank page becomes a space to cultivate and sustain life — a little plot for growing seeds that, when exposed to just the right slant of sunlight, blossom into nourishing fruit. But as any gardener would know, there’s an art, a cadence to growing green things: A season for uprooting, and another for tilling. Next, a time for waiting while the elements work their magic. Then, finally, the harvest.

The same rhythm rings true in growing ourselves. Thankfully, unlike actual gardening, storytelling requires no green thumb. You don’t even have to identify as a writer to reap the benefits of writing — you just have to want to do the work.

Whether we wish we could serve the poor and alleviate suffering like Mother Teresa or pioneer critical scientific research like Marie Curie, we all dream of doing beautiful, world-changing things with our lives. Yet, no matter how much we might long to follow in the footsteps of such women, who in fact believes themselves capable of that kind of greatness?

Perhaps we can imagine ourselves doing so in the future — when we are “older and wiser” — but in our present, imperfect condition? Hardly.