Decades ago, I first realized that getting a job felt like becoming a contortionist. It was all about fitting into a pre-cut slot. Mushing yourself in. Compressing yourself to fit a company’s needs. The only way I fit into the world was by changing myself to fit holes in the work world.

It wasn’t at all clear to me how creative people were supposed to fit into the work world.

In a commencement speech she made in France, Pamela Druckerman riffed off a French phrase, “vous allez trouver votre place.” Translation: you will find your place. It’s based on the assumption that somewhere in the world, a gap shaped just like you exists. “Once you find it,” she wrote in The New York Times, “you’ll slide right in.”

The tricky part is finding it. Druckerman offers several suggestions, including:

  • Stay in the room. This doesn’t mean you have to be alone or in a room. You could be out walking or in the subway. On your way somewhere. But you do need the kind of solitude that allows you to hear your inner voices.
  • Everything that happens is potential inspiration. Or as Nora Ephron said, “Everything is copy.”
  • Pay attention to what you’re doing on the side. Druckerman tells how she started out as a financial journalist. But on the side, she enjoyed samba dancing. The first piece she wrote that “lit her up inside” was a first-person article about the experience. It took years before she got to write that way for a living. But she had found the tiny hole in the universe shaped like her. She had found her place.