There was a point of time in my life when I was writing a minimum of three thousand words per week here for this space. For. this. space. For my space. Which is what this has always been meant to be. Lately, though, whenever I sit at the computer trying to find the words that used to just come, I dread it. I don’t want to open this space. I don’t want to write.
In my un-planned hiatus, I’ve done a lot of soul-searching- trying to understand what it is about this space that I’ve become so frustrated with. I’ve narrowed it down to two problems that I’m going to share quite frankly with you today. First, there became a sense of obligation with this space. Second, I didn’t have the brain space for anything more.
Let me explain.
Why, yes, friends, C is still deployed, and the #1 goal we set for this deployment was financial: to pay off all of our debt and fully fund the wedding. If we were going to spend all this time apart and move our wedding date (thank you Army), we were going to make it really, really worth-while. Since his income is what it is (though I’d be amiss to not recognize how nice the combat-zone deployment perks are), the real opportunity was for me to earn more by working more. This meant that I have been working like a dog all spring. I have been traveling for every opportunity. I wake up, read, and work. I work until I go to sleep. I work in the shower. I work on the weekends. I’m taking notes in the middle of the night. I work over lunch. Even when I’m not working, I’m thinking about work.
Between a wonderful new day job I started in June, some amazing contracting opportunities in the data space that I’ve been blessed to have, and continued freelance writing opportunities, I have been working all. the. time.
And I am so glad I have. I haven’t written about it yet, but the relief of being totally debt-free is incredibly surreal. We have done exactly what we aimed to do this deployment.
My brain space, though, has been totally occupied by these constant thoughts of work. Yesterday, a weekend day where I’ve been fighting a fever for the last three days, I spent three hours diligently working at a coffee shop, trying to solve a problem that has alluded me since Thursday. With a fever.
Not all of it has been bad. Besides for the financial gains that I’ve had, these have been amazing learning opportunities. I’ve met new, incredible people whom I have learned from and will continue to learn from even as I end this work. I’ve solved new problems that I’ve never seen before and will be crucial as I continue to grow in my technical and soft skills.
The intense focus I’ve had on this goal has come at the cost of all things that did not directly help me get closer to this goal. This level of intensity has been all-consuming for my brain. There was no brain space for writing, for working on the content audit, or for anything that wasn’t directly a money-making project because if it didn’t make me money right now, it did not make the cut.
Finally, as I come up for air on the other side of an intense number of months, I know I’ve done the right thing.
This has always been my space on the web. The intense pressure to make money, though, trickled into here too. If I was going to blog it just had to make money to be worthwhile. If I wanted to spend my time and energy blogging, I just had to do it right. It wasn’t enough to just put up the words that captured what I wanted. They had to have beautiful pictures, targeted keywords, a strategy, and a target audience behind it. It wasn’t enough to just blog because I wanted to.
That sense of obligation ate away at my will to blog. Something I wanted to do because I wanted to. Not out of a sense of obligation.
How Do I Find the Words Again?
I’m heading to South Africa this month. I have a wonderful off-the-grid vacation planned for next month, followed by some exciting blog-related conferences (Military Influencer & FinCon) in Orlando.
I’m wrapping up all of the work not-related to my day job. By the time I leave for vacation in September, there will be none.
There’s vacation and fun things planned, and I’m hoping inspiration comes back. With the brain space slowly returning (and hoping that I don’t fill it with a million other things, as I tend to do), I can refocus on the things that make me feel good. There’s no longer any sense of obligation. I don’t need this space to do anything other than be what I want it to be.
Cheers to a fresh start and some relaxation.
What are your tips for rediscovering inspiration?
Emilie is a data engineer by day and lifestyle blogger by night. A Jersey girl at heart, she is currently living in her fifth home in three years, Savannah, GA with her college sweetheart. She’s learned the hard way that home is wherever the Army sends them. She enjoys eating food, cuddling with her dog, and binge watching HGTV.