Never assume anything. I used to think anyone who did something well had to spend all his or her time doing it. Someone like Emily Dickinson comes to mind. All she did was sit around in a room and write.

But not everyone has that luxury.

Now I’ve begun to think that if I assume perfect conditions are needed to do something, nothing will ever get done.

Great work can grow out of less than ideal conditions. A lotus can grow out of the mud.

For example, did you know that Colleen McCullough (1937-2015) was a neuroscientist before she became a novelist? It was while she held a day job doing research and teaching at Yale that she wrote her best-selling novel, The Thorn Birds, the saga about a struggle between faith and flesh in the Australian outback. It sold more than 30 million copies. The mini-series based on the book was the second most watched TV miniseries in the US after Roots.

It was the second book she wrote. And she wrote it in her free time.

As a full-time novelist, she wrote a lot of books after that, but can you name any?

The takeaway: If your day job prevents you from sinking all your time into a project that satisfies your inner core, know that you don’t need all your time to work on it. You just need to feel driven to carve out the time to work on it. I think this is where someone chimes in, “Perfection is the enemy of the good.”