Lena Corazon

Flights of Fancy

ROW80: When Life Attacks

All right, it’s official: this round of ROW80 is definitely the one that isn’t. Kinda like Round 1. And my April CampNaNo attempt. And my PROJECT DISSERTATE OR DIE! attempt.

Don’t get me wrong; I haven’t been completely useless over the last few weeks. Instead, it’s been all about Life Stuff, random accidents, and other nonsense. Case in point:

1. I have been scratched up, tripped, bruised, and almost strangled by killer weeds.

No, seriously. This is a fraction of the years’ worth of weeds that my parents and I pulled up on our hillside over the last week and a half:

IMG_2113This is more or less what the hillside looked like before we started:

IMG_2128This is how things look after over 100 ice plants were planted:


However, the one good thing that the backyard has yielded are some lovely wild-growing calla lilies, which have made for pretty bouquets in the house:

IMG_2139 The moral of this story: Moving back home means that one gets implicated in all of the home improvement schemes that one’s parents decide to tackle on a whim. Brilliant.

2. I have had ALL the migraines and random accidents.

Really, I feel like… I dunno, the world?… is conspiring against me. My work momentum has been disrupted by days of allergies, days of migraines, days of random nausea, and (my favorite), the tumble down the stairs that I took last Tuesday, resulting in a bruised backside and the inability to sit/stand/walk/move properly. Seriously, it still hurts (wtf?).

Clearly, the only solution for this madness was the purchase of a new stuffed animal.


3. My weird anxiety and irrational fears are cropping back up again.

Losing momentum is difficult not only because it’s so darn hard to regain it, but because it creates a vacuum in which my anxieties and fears can breed. Getting my work done over the last few weeks has felt like an uphill battle, and while I have a sense that I have had some success (I am slowly adding words to the WIP; the framework of my dissertation is taking shape), it just doesn’t feel like enough.

It’s frustrating, and worrisome, and messes me up so darn badly, because things that should be really simple (sending emails, taking notes on an article, writing this check-in) end up feeling WAAAAAAAY more laborious than they should be. So the cycle deepens and gets worse; my lack of words and productivity continues to weigh me down; the weight of worry makes it even harder to get started; the morass grows.


So… yeah. My brain is a bit of a muddle at the moment, and getting back on track is proving to be more difficult than I anticipated. But, hey, it’s about taking things one day at a time, right?

I’ve been trying to write for 15-30 minutes each day on the WIP, because if I suspend the internal editor I can crank out roughly 500-700 words in a 15 minute session. And I am slowly dragging this dissertation proposal into shape; it’s just taking way longer than I anticipated as I am trying to learn this whole new area of study (organizational culture, whoo-hoo!) and ugh, there are way too many chapters and articles and such to wrap my brain around.

And don’t get me wrong–I have plenty of lovely things to be very happy and excited about. It’s just that when work + writing feel off-kilter, I feel like everything gets thrown off.

With that said, this week is all about trying, once again, to get back on track. I am going to finish the draft of this dissertation proposal, schedule a date to head to Santa Barbara to meet with my advisor, make all the research appointments I’ve been putting off for weeks, and maybe even take all the poetry fragments and bits of WIP ideas and pull them all together.

How’s everyone else doing? I’m slowly trying to get back into the rhythm of answering comments and blog-hopping, but know that I have been thinking about you all. <3 <3 <3

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  1. Hang in there, Lena! {{{Hugs}}}
    Diana Beebe recently posted..Fabulous Weekend with Friends. Oh, and I Learned Stuff, Too.My Profile

  2. I’d offer a hug, too, but that might be a bit creepy coming from a complete stranger. I hope things get back on track for you soon.

    Nice job on the weeds, though, and those lilies are gorgeous! 🙂
    Kate recently posted..WIPpet Wednesday: Bite NightMy Profile

  3. Sorry to hear about the slowdown! I’ve had phases like that — and after the fact, I realized that a lot of the ways I was feeling came very close to clinical depression. Maybe consider consulting a professional?

    Whatever you decide, I hope you’re doing better soon and can get back to the writing with more enthusiasm!

    Take care. *hugs*
    Ruth Nestvold recently posted..On losing work (and other frustrations)My Profile

    • I’ve been considering that, Ruth, though I think I starting to understand the things that trigger these little meltdowns (procrastination is a big one). I have a few techniques I want to try to see if I can get things under control myself, but if it doesn’t get better, then I may check out some counseling services.

      Thanks for stopping by, as always! It’s lovely to see you. 🙂

  4. Love the new stuffed animal! I hope it helped.

    Hang in there. We all have ups and downs. I’m sort of in a climbing back out phase too. Chin up.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt
    Patricia recently posted..Meet NY Times Bestselling Author Brenda Novak and Help Find a Cure For Juvenile DiabetesMy Profile

    • The stuffed animal is sooooo cuddly. It is my new favorite spot to sit and do work now, and yes, it definitely helps. 🙂

      Writing this post was really beneficial for releasing some of my pent-up anxiety, so I am doing better. Thanks for stopping by and reading, Patricia!

  5. Real life got me too, Lena! Hope things get back on track for you soon.
    Michelle Stockard Miller recently posted..Sit Down and Write Check-In #2/ROW80 Mid-Week Check-In #sitdownwriteMy Profile

  6. Hugs!! Seriously… lots of hugs! If there is a sloth sanctuary nearby, you should find a way to take a trip there and see if you can get some sloth hugs.

    The truth is, you sound like you’re burnt out, Lena. Maybe you need to just stop for day or two. I mean, really STOP. Go do something that energizes you and indulge. Or, if you can afford it, go take a mini-vacation/mini-artist’s retreat at a hotel for a day or two. Give yourself a change in perspective.

    Don’t count the “should be’s”. You can’t get that time back anyway, but you can give yourself some strength and spiritual energy for the time to come.

    Another possibility… maybe you need to volunteer some time or energy? Oddly enough, the same work that is grueling torture at home ends up being energizing and uplifting (even dishwashing) when it’s done for someone else.

    I’m really sorry you’re feeling so self-battered. You shouldn’t. You are a wonderful person, Lena. Remember that! ♥
    Eden Mabee recently posted..What? Another #ROW80 – #WIPpet Wednesday?My Profile

    • Eden, you always give me the best suggestions. One of the problems that I’ve identified, aside from my procrastination issues, is the way in which I try to push myself to do things when I am tired/stressed. Going forward, I think I need to learn how to use my time better, so that I have deliberate relaxation/downtime in my schedule.

      (((Hugs))) You are the best!

  7. In addition to echoing all the hugs and suggestions, I would congratulate you on posting, and not hiding any longer.

    I know intimately whereof you speak; I’m very close to the same place myself right now. Take care of yourself, and you know where to find me if there’s anything I can do. {hugs}
    Elizabeth Anne Mitchell recently posted..Make The Iron Hot By Striking: Writing Every DayMy Profile

  8. Me too! Me too! Okay, maybe I don’t have as many valid excuses as you do, but I have definitely found myself, over the last several weeks, struggling to find motivation and letting everything except the absolute essentials (paid work, eating, breathing, sleeping) slide. And then of course feeling down because I’m not productive, which takes up energy too, and down and down we go.

    I agree with Eden re: giving yourself a real break. Is worth a shot. But I know how scary that can seem, too. My fear tends to be that I will not figure out how to nurture myself in a way that produces more energy and will just get stuck in the doldrums (think Milo in The Phantom Tollbooth). Or what if I need more than the two days I’ve set aside to recover my energy? What if I need a week? Or two weeks?? Or a month?!? AAAUUGGGHHHH!

    *deep breath* Honestly, I would really like to be able to give myself exactly what I need when I need it, but that is SO HARD in this culture that prizes productivity over just about everything else, including relationships. And especially over one’s relationship to oneself. This culture of “get over it already” and “just power through it.”

    Okay, maybe I have lost you now. But my point is that I can relate to being exhausted and not feeling like I have the time or…maybe even the right?…to take care of myself. If you figure out how to reconcile that in yourself, you’re way ahead of the curve, IMHO.
    Sione Aeschliman (@writelearndream) recently posted..ROW80 updateMy Profile

  9. Maybe we can just blame spring, that sweet smell of flowering lilac and dogwood that comes in windows that are open to the night. Self-doubt is a nasty booger, no doubt. We’re all in this together to celebrate those days when the words just flow, when plans fall into place almost miraculously. As for those days when the muse natters pure negativity, how about leaning on ROW80? Know that you are appreciated here. You’ve got a clear sense of what you want to do. Maybe knocking that BIG goal into something smaller will help?

    And I’m glad you wrote here. I’m hoping each day will be a little brighter for you. Take care of yourself. Hug that new stuffed animal. Be well. I’m all about blaming spring since I’m barely coming out of that space myself. 🙂
    Beth Camp recently posted..ROW80 Weds check-inMy Profile

  10. Sorry it’s been rough lately, Lena, but things will turn around! If it helps at all, I once fell down the stairs while already wearing a leg cast. The broken bone was the only part of me that didn’t hurt worse!

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