2012: The Year I Will Be "Present"

Photo Courtesy of Mykl Roventine
Happy New Year, everyone! I am finally back in the world of blogging, after a nearly silent Christmas holiday. The truth is, I needed a little time to decompress after a somewhat stressful and uncertain 2011, and I now feel like I am finally ready to take on the New Year.

For those of you who don't know, the past eighteen months have been an incredibly challenging time for me--in those fundamental, life-altering ways that are sometimes good, sometimes bad, and nearly always irreversible. The ball began rolling in October of 2010, when my husband and I relocated to Colorado from our home in Alaska. This set in motion a chain of events that have successfully combined nearly every stressor imaginable, including moving, car accidents, goodbyes, hellos, deaths, births, financial uncertainties and career changes.

In short, 2011 has been a growing year for me. And I've realized something fundamental about myself: I need to work on being more "present" during 2012. During the chaos and challenges of 2011, I had a tendency to disappear inside myself. I would hole up with my computer and use my writing as a way to escape the things I didn't like about my life.

Escapism in and of itself isn't a bad thing, but I used escapism as a crutch. And instead of dealing with the issues I faced in my life, I found myself clinging to my writing like a drowning man on a life raft.

It became an addiction in some ways: "Everything will turn around once I get my first full request..." "...once I get an offer..." "...once I sign a contract..." "...once I go on submission..." "...once we go to auction..." "...once I sign a book deal..." "...once I get my advance..." "...once Hollywood starts fighting over movie rights..." "...once I buy a 100-acre ranch in the mountains and work in a beautiful studio overlooking a river..." "...once I'm the next -<INSERT NAME HERE>..." And on and on and on.

I've been fortunate enough to reach some of those milestones this year. But I haven't reached others. And I may NEVER reach some of them. And 2012 is the year, I've decided, that I will realize I'm okay with that.

Daydreaming is fun and fantastic and one of the reasons we all became writers in the first place, but this year, I resolve to view writing as one facet of my life, rather than the fix-all that will magically resolve all my problems. Because here's the thing. Writing doesn't have the ability to do that. And no matter how successful I may someday be--if I'm exceptionally dedicated, lucky, talented and persistent--I will still need to work every single minute to keep all the other facets in my life full and rich and fulfilling.

Because I've realized, finally, that writing should complement my life.

It shouldn't replace it.