Somewhere along the way, I got it into my head that there are only two states a person can be in with regards to their work: soulless corporate minion or pretentious starving artsy-fart. I proved myself to be pretty bad at the former when I freaked out a couple of years ago and quit a perfectly good job for no reason at all. I’ve been showing more recently that I’m not a whole lot better at the latter: I’m too lazy to properly hunt down writing jobs, and too bourgeois to enjoy being poor.

Of course, the big mistake has been in thinking that my only choice is between spending 60 hours a week debugging nasty RMI stub classes and spending 60 hours a week torturing myself to come up with a decent article pitch. The trick that I’m still trying to learn is working enough to make a living while leaving myself enough energy to keep working on creative stuff (not that my writing is especially creative, it’s just that compared to programming, even the most perfunctory, by-the-numbers game review or weblog entry feels like free jazz).

So I’ll be running a little experiment on myself this summer: I’ve picked up a contract with American Public Media to do some grunt work on their web site, slicing up a few HTML pages and putting them back together again. I won’t be writing (this is totally unrelated to the baseball blog), but I won’t be doing software development either. The big question will be whether or not I can successfully manage my time and my energy, continuing to develop my ability to write and think while at the same time fulfilling all my obligations to my client. Three months from now, I’ll hopefully have developed a little balance in my work life. Or I’ll have gone completely ’round the bend and ripped all the little hairs out of my head. Stay tuned.