When it feels like all the doors are closing

I’m not very good at accepting changes as they come, as much as I aspire to be otherwise. I handle them more calmly than I used to, but I still resist and put up a fight.

It seems like all signs are pointing to the fact that I’m probably not supposed to be working right now and am supposed to be sitting tight until I get disability. Or at least until after I return from my trip to visit my parents in Michigan.

I apply for jobs that I’m a great fit for, including one that was work at home and wanted people with experience working second shift AND working remotely AND working in tech support, all of which I’ve done for years. Yet I got rejected for that last one without even an interview.

I’ve got a few freelance jobs back and writing the articles is like digging out tree stumps with a chain attached to your pickup. I can’t seem to get my brain back into that mode of freelance writing anymore. There’s a very specific “flow” to freelance writing that feels very unnatural to me, but I can do it well when I’m doing a lot of it. After a break of about five months, it’s super difficult for me to do it now.

One of my former clients came back with a couple articles and she asked for revisions on the first one I completed, saying it sounded too much like ad copy. It’s rare for me to get revisions from that particular client. I used to know how to write the “right” way.

Yet at the same time, I’m writing every day in my other blog. It’s not taking off yet in terms of significant readership (though better than this one), which makes me wonder if I’m doing something wrong with that one, too. But because the subject matter is interesting to me, the words flow easily from my fingers. I look forward to writing those pieces.

Interestingly, this has always been the dichotomy for me. When I like what I’m writing about, I can easily whip off 2,000 words in an hour and go back and revise it multiple times and I’m always thinking about more things that I want to write about.

But when I’m writing assigned articles for money, it actually feels like my brain is switching rusty gears in a very real sense. I know that probably sounds weird. It’s just that my ability to write is very compartmentalized between commercial writing and gratifying writing and never the twain shall meet.

I’m currently in a state where I am very firmly in the phase of doing the more creative and personal writing. But as a result, I can’t switch over to the commercial writing. And more importantly, I’m not sure I want to.

On the one hand, we need me to make some money. On the other hand, I also have my health issues and the needs of the kids (particularly with regard to transportation) to take care of. I didn’t apply for disability for no reason. I really believed that I was unable to work full-time and I still do.

But surely there’s some work I can do? I can at least do the freelancing, right?

I mean, yes, I can technically do the freelancing. But it’s not especially good writing. It certainly doesn’t stand out from anyone else’s writing. One type of writing lights up my brain and makes me feel vital and alive. The other type of writing feels like running through quicksand with a 100-pound backpack on your shoulders. I can do it, in the most technical sense. But it’s really damn hard.

So that leads to the question of what’s next. I do believe in God, so I wonder if he’s directing me away from the kinds of work that aren’t good for me and toward the work that is. I also wonder if maybe I’m supposed to just stop worrying about making money and focus on doing the writing I enjoy and getting enough rest and taking care of the kids.

Is it enough to say that I don’t have to do a ton of work, that I have value on my own that has nothing to do with a paycheck? I say that other people have value and dignity regardless of income, so why is it so hard for me to apply that same philosophy to myself?

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