Chuck Palahniuk’s novel Diary discusses the plight of creativity:

We get on our art school treadmill, our graduate program for a master’s in fine arts, and practice, practice, practice. With all our excellent skills, we have nothing special to document.

During my time as a student at U.Va., I was fortunate enough to have a bi-weekly deadline that forced me to write through good times and bad, through bouts of inspiration and spells where it felt impossible to put down a sentence on a page, let alone 600 words. I experienced the vulnerability of publishing something on a public platform whether I was proud of my column or desperately hoped no one would ever click on it. Over the course of two and a half years I built up my craft. I learned how to take both praise and blatantly nonconstructive criticism with dignity.

Though I only ever truly liked a handful of my columns, this experience was what turned me into a writer. And I hope that one day when inspiration strikes me in just the right places, my skills will be put to good use.