When the demands of life become so pressing that the block of time you have to devote to your occupation(s) shrinks into near-nothingness, two things become crystal clear:
1) what you like to do
2) what you don't like to do
What you like to do energizes and revives you, and makes you excited about what you do. What you don't like to do depletes you.
I have come to realize that I don't like to write. I'm not a natural writer. I have no talent whatsoever for writing. I love to read, and have since I was a kid, but loving to eat doesn't make one a chef. I've learned to "pass" as a writer because I have to for my job. But I dread writing. I'm a right-brain thinker. As a research scientist, I love devising study designs. I love collecting data. I love statistical data analysis. I love making charts and graphs to present the data. But I don't love writing up the findings; it's just something I have to do to get the fruits of my labor out there for public consumption.
I received academic tenure a few years ago, and since then I've been getting requests to write chapters for books edited by colleagues I like and admire. I want to please them. So I've said yes. And in so doing, I guaranteed that the last year, and probably the next one, was and will be spent in agony. All I do lately, it seems, is write. Writing, which depletes me, has crowded out the aspects of my job that revive me.
As negative as this post seems (I had to write it, after all, so I wasn't in the best of moods), coming to this realization was actually a wonderful thing. It's like a weight off my shoulders, to admit that I don't like writing, that I'm not a natural writer, and that, frankly, I don't really care. There are two steps to crafting a satisfying life for oneself:
1) figuring out what you want to do
2) figuring out how to do as much of it as possible
At least now I've got #1 down.