I’ve always thought that I had a writer’s eye. I like to observe the world and replay memories and experiences through putting words to paper—it’s the best way I know how. Sometimes I prefer to take a photograph. Other times I just let my mind wander freely, absorbing the time and place for what it is and leaving it at that. But lately, I’ve noticed the spark is missing. My writer’s eye seems to be blinded by the light.
Bright lights, flashing lights, disco lights. The orange light peering in through my window early in the morning. The white light gleaming back from my computer screen. The green light illuminating the numbers on the digital clock. The light is everywhere. And lately it seems I can’t turn it off.
There was a lot of talk last month over an article published in the New York Times titled The ‘Busy’ Trap. I won’t bother summarizing because if you missed before, you should probably go read it now. Like many people who stumbled across the article, it caused me to reflect on my own situation. How many times have the words ‘I’m busy’ stumbled passed my lips? And for what reason? In response to friends and family asking how I’m doing these days? As an excuse to get out of plans? To feel like my life has meaning? Or because, in fact, my schedule does seem to be a little full lately?
When I started seriously considering my options for what to choose as a career, work/life balance was always an important factor to me. I wanted to be successful. But I didn’t want my job to consume me. As I really began exploring the writing life, I realized there is a fine line here. Writing is not just a job to me; it’s something I love to do. And when I am writing for my day job, writing for my own freelance clients and writing for other blogging and social media agencies, I start to get a little lost in the words. And I realize how quickly the words can swallow me up if I’m not careful.
Suddenly, the differentiator between writing for work and writing for pleasure is much more clouded. I am so involved in writing for a living, I forget how to write for fun. And when I finally lift my head above waterline to take a breath, I’m blinded by the light. I wait for the familiar feeling—for the tickle of inspiration to surface. But it doesn’t come.
Is this just a phase? Am I just a little too busy right now? Will the spark come back to me?
I love that I get paid to do what I love. I enjoy going to work. I enjoy coming home to do more work. But I realize that sometimes I need a break. I don’t want to neglect the other parts of my life I enjoy. Because I feel very grateful to have them, and I cannot imagine what my days would be like if they were not there. Still, it’s hard not to get a little lost sometimes. I get caught walking with my head down. And when I finally look up, the world looks a little different. My perspective is blurred.
Suddenly the words aren’t just running up to me anymore. Instead, I have to go searching for them. And many times I come back to a blank screen. So where are the words? Was I too busy to notice when they staggered by? Am I too busy to find my writer’s eye?