If you think you can predict ahead of time what will be meaningful, then you're wrong.
P.S., This is why writing and editing are different things. First you have to say a bunch of stuff: that's writing. Then you have to figure out what you actually meant: that's editing. Only then can you remove everything that's not related to what you meant. Clearly, for this piece, I only had time to do the former, not the latter. Happy Lunar New Year from Vietnam.
I think that's a great insight on distinguishing the vague collective templates we have for meaning from the specific events that we actually end up finding meaning from. The fact that effort is often involved suggests there IS a way to predict it, and yet I can think of plenty of things that I worked very hard for (e.g. my degree) and yet gained absolutely zero meaning from.... but what's surprising to me is how many bad events that just "happened" to me I still derive meaning from, even though I didn't "do" anything in those cases (or if I did, I was really the problem). I think the simple act of just undergoing suffering, and making it out the other side, has a way of almost forcing your subconscious to make sense of it in a way that feels meaningful: you've experienced something that maybe few others have, and now you know you can survive more than perhaps you thought.
Life: Lived as it is. Me2