Talent is bulls—.

My father, a wonderful man who should never die in a fire, once told me, “You always wanted to be a writer, even though you don’t have any talent.”

Like I said, great guy. Fun at parties.

I think I’ve pretty conclusively proven he’s a poor judge of “talent,” thanks to multiple award nominations, bestselling books, and more. But more than that, Bob Ross, who knew a thing or two about a thing or two, said this: “Talent is a pursued interest. Anything that you’re willing to practice, you can do.”

Have you ever worried that you’ll never succeed as a writer because you don’t have enough talent? Or has someone told you about your exceptional talent? Because both those things are wrong. Writing is a skill, not a gift from the gods, and can be learned by anyone. Even someone with minimal education or mental capacity can learn to write. They’ll have to practice longer, but they can still improve and even excel.

There’s something called the growth mindset, which you must cultivate within yourself. You may not be skilled enough now, but you can practice, learn, and get better until you are. Nothing is stopping you. Not even people like my father, who can’t see past their limitations. They don’t want to learn, so they don’t. Don’t make that your problem. It’s theirs.

Bob Ross said something else in almost every episode of The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross: “You can do it. I know you can.”