2012 is moving so quickly that I feel like I have whiplash. Somehow it’s already July, and I’ve completed my fourth year in grad school (?!).
I write this post having just completed the “Big Move” from Santa Barbara to my parents’ house in the San Francisco Bay Area. For at least the next year, I’ll be living with them as I work on my dissertation.
My life seems to be conspiring against my ability to write of late; June was an absolutely insane month filled with grading, research, schoolwork, and packing up my apartment. Given the major deadlines I’m facing for school over the next couple of months, I gave serious thought to skipping Round 3, but I think I could use the accountability that ROW80 demands.
More importantly, I’ve been feeling at loose ends with my progress as a writer. Being back home in my parents’ house, living in the bedroom where I wrote my first poems and stories, brings into sharp relief the fact that I still haven’t reconnected with my creative impulse as deeply or as fully as I would like. The prospect of grappling with my dissertation for the next few months without any sort of creative outlet feels unbelievably bleak. Right now I’m less concerned with finishing the WIPs on my plate, and more concerned with remembering how it feels to wield words to bring the worlds within my head into existence.
For this round, I have a few goals with specific timelines, and a few others that will be ongoing. Here’s the breakdown:
- Finish and submit a 12-15 page seminar paper on etiquette books and cultural theory. Approximate due date: July 15th
- Finish and submit a 25-30 page literature review on my dissertation topic (19th century Catholic women religious in the United States, with an emphasis on the SF Bay Area). Approximate due date: July 31st
- Renew creativity with daily journaling sessions and lots of brainstorming. I’m not placing a word count requirement on this, because at this point I need to just get back into the rhythm and flow of writing. I don’t care what I write — flash fiction, current WIPs, random snippets, bad poetry, it’s all up for grabs at this point.
- Start building a queue of 10-12 blog posts to begin sharing in August.
- Continue dissertation reading and (hopefully) begin visiting convent archives to assess holdings and materials.
- Write and submit 2-page dissertation summary. Approximate due date: August 15th
- Meet with dissertation committee for the “little conversation” to discuss the dissertation proposal and advance to doctoral candidacy. Approximate deadline: August 30th
- Take part in August CampNaNoWriMo. I know, this might be a little crazy, but I’m not gunning for a 50k win. Instead, I’m hoping that whatever creative juices I unlock in July will allow me to focus on one project and flesh it out a little bit. This is a tentative plan, so we’ll see how July goes. Regardless, I will keep writing everyday so that I don’t lose the habit.
- Revise July’s seminar paper with the goal of producing (1) a conference presentation for November and (2) a co-written journal article. Due date TBA.
- Draft proposals for dissertation grants and fellowships. Approximate due date: September 30th.
- Continue dissertation reading, visiting and working in convent archives, and writing weekly research memos.
- Write everyday. No exceptions.
- Read 1 (non-academic) book a week.
- Work out 4-5 days a week (I’m upping the minimum threshold by 1 day). Continue to eat balanced meals and drink plenty of water.
- Visit and comment on 10 blogs each week.
- Start using Triberr on a regular basis.
- Adopt Anne R. Allen’s slow-blogging manifesto, and aim for 1-2 posts/week, starting in August.
As always, there’s a lot going on. For this round, however, I think this is going to be all about concrete goals and deadlines for the day job, and much looser goals for my writing. Once I unpack all my boxes, finish settling into my room (there’s a major painting project on the horizon), and hammer out a routine, it’ll hopefully be a lot easier to get things done.
I’m looking forward to connecting with everyone taking part in ROW80 this round. If you’d like to add your name to the list, or check out the other bloggers who have joined in on all the fun, visit the linkytools list.