I've noticed a trend in my own writing and blogging, and I'm making brave. I'm going to base my hypothesis on nothing more than a simple observation. Maybe it's valid. Maybe it's a cop-out. But here's what I'm picking up: when I'm grading a lot of essays or reading other people's writing, I don't write. Sometimes I pretend I do, but the truth is pretty harsh. I produce next to nothing.
Anyone see anything wrong with this picture? I'm an English teacher. I assign essays. I read a lot of papers. Grading, it's what I do.
Okay, it's not that bad. Usually, I only have several hours a week of evening grading. It just so happens that I had extra grading in the month of January. And February. Portfolios were due, and those require hours and hours of grading. Entire weekends chock full of nothing but grading. Evenings spent surrounded by piles of binders, up to my elbows in abstraction poems and auto-biographical narratives and prose analysis essays.
Something happens when I read for work. Instead of finding inspiration, my inner writer encases herself in a shell and hides. It's not that she's shy or overworked or distracted --> I think she's just being petty. She wants to be the center of my universe; she doesn't want to share the stage. If she cannot have my undivided attention, then she wants none of it. And, for better or worse, I lose all desire to string sentences together beyond this vague, moody "i wanna be a writer" feeling I have in the back of my head -- that is, you must admit, a bloody poor excuse for writing.
So what about you? Do certain jobs or activities distract you from writing? I'm not talking about something that actually prevents you from writing but rather something that steals your desire or your muse or your secret rock that you keep hidden on the window sill...