I find it funny when, on the first day of class, my professors say, "And really, if you want to be a writer, you really should be writing every day. And this is why I'm going to assign you a journal/diary/daily writing task, to get you used to the idea of consistently producing something." I've heard this speech dozens of times, and in almost every single creative writing course I've taken. And I love that speech.
I want to turn to the person next to me and say, "But don't they know?" Don't they know how much I already write? Do they not realize that I commit something to the page every single day? Don't they get how weird it would be for me not to?
I average between one and two posts per week here, on this blog, my main space. In addition to that, I write a daily journal (typed), a weekly column over at HelloGiggles, at least 3,000 words per week on my fiction works in progress, book reviews for Books&Beans when I have the time, and an average of 1-3 songs per week. And that excludes every essay or creative writing work I do for my classes. The creative writing (essays on homework do not count here) that I do for school each week is between 15-30 pages.
The very real truth about me is that I have this feeling, this wiggling feeling, that if I did not write, I would not exist. Over-dramatic, you may say. But I would counter with the idea that perhaps you have not found your thing yet, your creative task that makes you come alive in a way like no other thing can. Sure, I'd still be living, breathing, squirming being without my writing. But writing is more than just my hobby, more than just this thing I like to do. Collaging, painting, photography, baking, nature walks, knitting--those are my hobbies; those are things that I like to do. Writing is my baby, my essence, my blanket of safety, my challenging precipice. Writing is my thing. It always has been, and without it, I would not be my own self. Without it, I would be diminished, eviscerated, sad, and lonely.
I don't know what your thing is. Perhaps it cannot be so perfectly encapsulated in one word, writing, as mine can. But I can tell you that the thing you are seeking is many-layered, its own living, breathing entity if ever there was one. It does not have to take on a single form. I write blogs, magazine-type columns, creative non-fiction essays that journey into the area of memoir, fiction that takes place in a fantasy world of my own devising, fiction that takes place somewhere in the real world, journals, poems (really terrible ones: poetry is not in my skill set) and songs. My writing is the canvas, and I throw many types of colors onto it.
When trying to discover your thing, it is best not to lie to yourself. Trust me, it really is. I lied for years and years about what I wanted to do and be, because I was told that writing wasn't supportable, that writing was okay to do for fun but not for reals, that it was a stupid career choice, that it wasn't valid. I tried to tell myself, "One day I'll figure out what it really is I want to do, but until then, I'll write." Those lies and that fear kept me from producing more and building more. If you do not know what your thing is, and you want to know why, consider what it is that you've been doing just "until you figure things out." What is that natural, most innate thing that you find yourself doing over and over, in secret, in daylight, in order to cope?
That, my friends, is your thing. And if you still don't have it, if you still can't find it, don't worry: it'll find you. Even if you don't want it to. Because that's the thing about the thing--it demands to be let forth into the universe from your hands to breathe.