Fine artistic things seem always to be done in the face of difficulties, and the rocky soil, which seems to give the finest flower, is contempt. Don’t fool yourself, George, appreciation doesn’t make artists. It ruins them. A man’s best work is done when he is fighting to make himself heard, not when swooning audiences wait for his paragraphs. An elevated train two doors away can have far more to do with a fine book than advance royalties or ‘an eager printer’s boy waiting in the hall.’ If you don’t want to fight them you shouldn’t be writing. One can’t force attention by making one’s work superb. Only practice can do that.
John Steinbeck in a letter to George Albee, Pacific Grove, 1931 (via zeloveinitiative)