Sunday, January 8, 2012

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.


Bethany Myers said...

Excellent post, Lisa. I think we all get caught up in the 'when will I be published?' race and forget about priorities that should come before writing.

A funny thing happens when your real life is more fulfilling than fiction...the writing gets better.


Pam Asberry said...

YES!! My head is in exactly the same place. Your last sentence says it all. Thank you, thank you. I wish you all good things in 2012!!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Trust me, it won't fix all things! Writing is definitely just one aspect of my life and not one one which I hang my entire sense of worth. Life is all about balance. Glad you've found yours.
And glad you're back!

Jaye Robin Brown said...

Good lord, are you inside my head? I know exactly of which you speak of.

BTW, your High school you interview will be up on my blog week after next, I believe Wed. is the 18th.

squirrel_e_girl said...


Lora R. Rivera said...

I think I'm still in the addiction phase, honestly. But I'll look up to writers like you, who've found the resolve to make writing just a facet of life and not an identity.

Good post. Thought-provoking...
Luck in the new year,

Ruth Cooke said...

Well said, LisaAnn! I spent far too many years hiding from life after dealing with incredible stress. I'm glad to hear that you're not going to take fifteen years to recover like I did. All the best for you and yours in 2012!

Peggy Eddleman said...

That's a big list of challenges in a relatively short amount of time! I really loved what you took from it. And "being present" is such a fabulous goal!

LisaAnn said...

Thank you so much for so many incredible comments. It makes me feel so much better to realize I'm not the only one who has struggled with this. Let's all make 2012 the year we get ourselves back!

LTM said...

omg, Lisa! Excellent, excellent realization! I love this post. It's so true because it's exactly what I do, too! :p "when this, then this" but we can't live like that because even if the "this" happens, we have to be in control and present. Such a great insight. Thanks for this! :o) <3

Dinda Amanda said...

Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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