Lena Corazon

Flights of Fancy

While I’ve Been Away: A ROW80 Goals and Update Post

Sometimes we all need to slow down and unplug.

As many of you may have noticed, I’ve been pretty silent on the blogging and social media front over the last few months.

This year has been an intense one as far as my academic career is concerned. There’s been lots of success (earning my long-overdue MA degree, changing my dissertation topic, starting dissertation research, advancing to doctoral candidacy), but it’s taken most of my mental and emotional energy to make that success happen. Add in a major move, settling in at my parents’ house, and lots of personal growth and change, and you have a sure-fire recipe for burnout.

Unplugging has also allowed me to enjoy some gorgeous San Francisco days.

Unplugging from social media and dropping my blog for a while was a huge help in giving me some space to hear myself think.

I have to admit, it felt good not to think about blog topics, or obsess over my site stats, or freak out about the ups and downs of my my Klout score.  I did a little writing, but it was full-fledged pantsing–no worries over story structure or plotlines or character arcs, just pure, unbridled creation.

While I’ve been away, I’ve read many books, cuddled with my cat, visited with old friends, and took lots of time to sit and think. Even more exciting, I’ve returned to my “roots”: writing by hand, complete with vintage dip pens and ink. Nothing makes me feel more whole than having ink-stained fingers and a cramp in my hand from furious scribbling, and nothing makes my ideas flow faster or more furiously than a good brainstorm-by-hand.

The product of my last “brainstorm-by-hand.”

My respite has been good, and it has definitely been necessary. But there’s a downside about disconnecting: losing touch with all of my amazing friends. I feel blessed to be part of a wonderful community, and I can’t wait until I can contribute once again.

With that said, I am delighted to take part in Round 4 of ROW80, a challenge and community that has a special place in my heart. Unlike Round 3, “the ROWnd that wasn’t,” I plan on being much more present this time around. 😀

ROUND 4 GOALS!

Day Job: Now that I’ve cleared all the administrative red tape, I’m officially “ABD,” or “all but dissertation.” The goal for this round is threefold: (1) continue my archival research, (2) keep reading and taking notes on secondary sources, and (3) start writing up short memos. By the end of the round, I will also need to complete a 25-page dissertation proposal based on the advice my committee provided in 2 hour grueling but enlightening meeting we had earlier this month.

Writing: There are a few things going on in the world of writing. October will be dominated by October Poetry Writing Month (or #OctPoWriMo), which I blogged about the other day. I’ll be posting 1 poem a day for a month over on my tumblr account, and linking to my favorites here on Flights of Fancy every Sunday.

October is also plotting and development time for NaNoWriMo, and I CANNOT contain my excitement. I’ve done a little work hammering out the beginning and ending of the novel (steampunk/fantasy), and all I want to do is play with it.

I’m breaking down my writing goals by month:

  • October: Write 1 poem each day, and brainstorm the NaNo novel for 1 hour each day.
  • November: Write 1667 each day or die trying.
  • December: Finish PATH TO THE PEACOCK THRONE.

Exercise: I’ll be walking 4-5 miles a day, 4-5 days each week. If I am feeling particularly ambitious, I may even throw in an at-home Pilates routine as well. Simple, but effective.

Social Media: Okay, this has been my Achilles heel for months, but I think if I start small, I can work my way up to being a social media powerhouse (in my dreams, maybe). I want to do the following:

  • Blog 2-3 days/week
  • Comment/like/retweet 2 blog posts each day
  • Visit 10 ROW80 blogs each week

Self-Care: If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s that I can’t tackle any of my goals if I’m not taking care of myself. This means that I’m carving out 1 hour each day for myself to use for journaling, free-writing, and meditation. Having a little space will go a long way towards maintaining my mental, spiritual, and emotional health. (I think my Very Lazy Cat, Napoleon, approves of this plan.)

-oOo-

So that will (hopefully) be my Round 4! I’m looking forward to diving in and getting things done, and getting to know all of you. Swing by and wave a friendly hello to all of the other Round 4 participants here. 😀

27 Comments

  1. Good luck on your goals, Lena. I know you’ll SHINE!

  2. Oh, I like the self-care goal. I should come up with something like too, being super stressed as I am LOL
    Great goals, Lena. I’m sure you’re gonna do great! Good luck 😉

    • Yes, yes, I strongly encourage the self-care goal! Even if it’s just 15 minutes that you set aside for yourself, to do whatever it is that makes you feel a little more centered and sane, is helpful.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and reading, Juliana!

  3. Lena, your cup hath runeth over girl. You deserved a break and we were here to cheer you, on your return. So worry not. Congratulations on all your academic achievements!

    Go Lena! 🙂

  4. Wow – you totally deserved the break but it’s good to have you back and all ready to go. Great goals, I so should have split my writing goals up by month, too. I want to do one poem a day but I know I’d slip up and miss a few days…. Every day seems excessive.

    Have a great round 4 Lena. X

    • Hah, I was half-way through writing the post when I realized that breaking things up by month might be sorta useful for this round, with NaNo coming up and all. And no worries if you miss a couple poems here and there with OctPoWriMo–anything that you can write will be wonderful.

      Can’t wait to ROW along with you. 😛

  5. You’re putting your energy where it’s needed most, and that is both rational and positive! Glad to hear you’re ABD — and I’m sure you’ll rock that proposal.

    I haven’t thought about Klout since I read about it this spring. Honestly, that whole idea is one that leaves me heartsick. We’re not rewarding people for the right things, just for being big mouths. That is NOT a rational place to spend your energy.

    Good luck with blending writing and the big LIFE goals — you’re an inspiration, Lena!

    • Oh god, I TOTALLY agree with you about Klout. On one hand, I guess it’s handy because it measures your interactions, but the whole idea really rubs me the wrong way. There are soooo many other places I’d rather devote my energy.

      Thanks a million for all your sweet, wonderful words. It’s great to see you!

  6. Sounds like you have a lot on your plate for ROW80! I need to add the exercise into my routine…

    • Hi Sidney, thanks so much for stopping by! I started adding exercise into my goals a couple of rounds ago, and I’m so glad that I did. It’s one area of my life where I *really* need some accountability. 😛

      Good luck with this round!

  7. Congratulations on your MA! With an academic achievement like that behind you, it’s no wonder you took a break.
    I added some Me Time goals to my own routine for this round because–as nuts as this sounds–if I don’t put “Take Some Time Off” at the same priority as working I’ll never do it.

    • Thanks a ton, Jeff! You’re right–that MA was such a drain of energy (and it took me 4 years to complete, so I was *really* finished by the end). It’s good to be back, though. 😀

      Great idea on adding Me Time to your goals. Isn’t crazy how something so important can get demoted down the to-do list if we’re not careful?

  8. Yay for pure, unbridled creation! I’ve found that I need to do a little writing-just-for-fun if I’m to stop myself from thinking of my writing in purely monetary terms.

    I know what you mean about swinging between too much time on the Internet and too much time away from Internet friends. The proper amount of Internet time is a difficult balance to reach.

    • Yes, you’re totally right. That “writing-just-for-fun” really is essential to remind us exactly *why* we do what we do (not that money isn’t important, but passion is an essential element to, methinks).

      Best of luck to you this round!

  9. Congrats on the MA and working towards the Dissertation. Exciting stuff. And best of luck to you with your goals this round!

  10. Sounds like you have a good plan – baby steps get the job done! I don’t worry too much about my blog stats and eapecially Klout – I just do the best I can. Good luck this round!

    • Jennette, I think “doing the best you can” is probably the best attitude for blogging. It’s definitely one that I will be adopting. 😀

      Good luck to you as well!

  11. It sounds like you used your break to the utmost and that you’ve come out of it with a very comprehensive set of goals. Best of luck over the next 80 days!

  12. Lauren Garafalo

    October 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Don’t feel bad about abandoning us – we know how to get you back! 😀 *tucks away Hugh pics for safe keeping* So glad you’ve been able to relax and recharge. It’s definitely important for everyone to remember to do that once in awhile. We can be so workaholic prone, can’t we?!

    I’m STILL in love with your handwritten pages. I seriously want to tape the picture to the wall above my desk.

    Your goals seem very doable and focused this round – congrats on that! I know you usually have wayyy to much to do to keep it simple. I’m viewing my writing goals by month as well – planning in Oct, writing in Nov, and ‘to be decided’ in Dec. Good luck with everything this round, especially the dissertation!!

  13. It’s good to see you back, Lena! I’m glad you got a much needed break. We are humans, and we have to have that sometimes. Good luck with all your goals this round!

  14. Heh, I should probably add a self-care goal too — that’s a nice one!

    Good luck with your goals this round and glad to see you back. 🙂

  15. hehe Yes, I think pets are always going to be in favour of spending time relaxing (Judgemental Dog might be an exception though, lol), it’s just a matter of making yourself ‘switch off’ so you can enjoy that relaxation. Writing with a proper quill and ink would be so much fun, it’s almost an art form; I’d love to do it, but a) my handwriting is barely legible even with a non-smudging pen and b) I’d end up with more ink on myself than on the paper 😀 Good luck with the NaNo brainstorming, I’ll be doing a bit of that too!

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