There are a lot of “mind blocks” that keep writers from writing.
Worrying about “finding their fit” is just one of them.
Some days I am still tempted to toss everything aside so I “have time” to “think about what I want” and “figure out where I belong.” It’s not uncommon for a writer to want to stop until everything settles down or they finally feel like they have a better handle on what they want out of their writing life.
But guess what I don’t do? I don’t toss everything aside. I don’t hit the pause button (no more than the average evening or weekend hiatus). I don’t stop trying because I’m not sure which direction I’m heading.
I just keep writing and paying attention to my surroundings and making the most of where I’m at as I shift my focus away from things that aren’t worth my time and onto things that are.
Finding where you “fit” in the writing world is not about wandering around wondering what you’re supposed to be doing with your life. It’s about actively trying to create a variety of things so you can figure out what you are good at and what you aren’t, what you enjoy and what you don’t, how and where you want to work and how/where you’d rather not.
When I was in graduate school, I took a dozen classes on a handful of different subjects. As much as I would have loved to take all writing classes, there was a reason my cohort also took marketing and media relations and PR classes — so we could decide if we wanted to go into those fields or not.
I was able to decide once and for all that I did not want to look for a job in marketing only because I tried marketing and hated it.
You can’t look at a certain type of writing job from a distance and think, “Nope, I don’t want to do that” without ever actually trying it out. Your journey to discovering “who you are” as a writer, believe it or not, actually requires writing. It’s like intense studying for years at a time, except you’ll spend most of it in front of your laptop writing a bunch of first drafts no one else will ever see.
Don’t waste valuable writing time worrying about whether or not you’re in the right place, doing the right thing, being the “right kind” of writer. The only way to figure out where you belong is to write until you end up where you’re supposed to be.
One day you’ll look up and it will already have happened. Life is funny that way.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a 10-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.