I was hoping to co-opt somebody else’s epiphany by reading The Epiphanies Project. Among twenty personal stories, each with its own epiphany, surely I would learn something to change my life. Instead, I gained insight into struggles that I mostly hadn’t had, though I’d seen other people go through them. It turned out to be a great book, just in a different way than I expected.

To be honest, I don’t want a major epiphany. I don’t want an idea to swoop in and turn my life upside-down. I’ve worked very hard to get where I am, and I’m happy about a lot of the way things are going. What I really want are random moments of clarity where I can look at problems a little differently and either gain insight on how to fix them or learn to accept them. I’ll call them mini-epiphanies.

While reading a blog post by Austin Kleon I had one of those mini-epiphanies. He says, “What we respond to in any work of art is the artist’s struggle against his or her own limitations.”

This got me thinking. When I try to create—whether through visual art or writing—I’m frustrated when the work doesn’t emerge the way I imagine it. That happens to most creative people; still, it’s disappointing each time I can’t translate a scene in my head to the page. My mini-epiphany: not only is that okay, but my stories and art could turn out better because of that.

The photo for this post represents the idea that a mini-epiphany can happen anywhere, even at the car wash.

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