Lena Corazon

Flights of Fancy

Tag: goals (page 2 of 3)

ROW80: A Kickass Writing Conference, And Some Updates

Hey, ROW80, happy Sunday! I’ve been sick with something flu-like and yucky for the last few days; I’m starting to feel back to normal, but I haven’t accomplished much this week beyond drinking a lot of tea and watching LOTR.

Wana-Conference-new2-1024x553Before I get into my check-in, I wanted to send up the batsignal for WANACon, the worldwide writers’ conference that is happening on February 22-23.

There’s a lot to love about WANACon. First off, it’s being held entirely online, and you know what that means: not only do you get to skip the expense and hassel of traveling, you can also attend in your pajamas, from the comfort of your home (or, you know, wherever you want to hang out while you attend online seminars and such).

Second, the WANACon schedule (which you can find here) is not only packed with incredibly useful seminars, but also provides attendees with the opportunity for pitch sessions with agents. To top it off, there will also be opportunities for networking and interaction with other participants. 

Third, it’s affordable. The price for two-day attendance is $125 and $75 for one day, with an extra $35 fee for an agent pitch session. That’s a fraction of the cost for most traditional writing conferences. Better yet, attendees will be able to access session recordings after the conference is over.

If I haven’t convinced you, check out these great posts for more info:

If I have convinced you, then head on over and register for the conference! All the links you’ll need are below:

WANACon Registration, Both Days
WANACon Registration, Day 1
WANACon Registration, Day 2
WANACon Agent Pitch
WANACON Main Website

-oOo-

With that, here’s my check-in for the week:

DAY JOB:
Nothing much here. My bout with the flu kept me from getting anything done beyond working in the archive Monday and Tuesday. I’ll be playing catch up in the week to come.

WRITING:
Another week of no poetry, but I did a little more poking at TELL ME NO LIES, my steampunk murder-mystery WIP. I’ve combed through the 1st draft and salvaged some useful things that can be integrated into the current draft. I’ve also made a list of some things I’d like to do in the weeks to come, including:

  • Work on atmosphere and setting through short sketches on locations, neighborhood, etc. TMNL is set in 1890s San Francisco (albeit with some significant changes, since this is alternative history), and I have this magical idea that the city itself should be a character of its own. Doing that, of course, is another matter entirely.
  • Flesh out supporting characters and the inner workings of The Belladonna, the saloon where my protagonist works.
  • Start hammering out the nitty-gritty details of the plot. I’ve got my whodunnit figured out… now I just need to map out how the investigation is going to unfold. (I’ve seriously been avoiding this part for almost 2 years, but I guess there’s no time like the present?)

SOCIAL MEDIA:
I’ve drafted 2 blog posts for the coming week, including an absolutely ridiculous one about fuzzy baby animals (it’s been a while since my last one), and one about some of the really good books I’ve read over the last few weeks. I’ve done some sporadic tweeting and sharing of links that come across on my FB and Twitter feeds, but not as much as I’d like to do.

SELF-CARE:
Being sick has meant that I’ve done nothing for the last four or five days but lay in bed… and I’m really lucky that I’ve been able to do so. There’s been lots of sleeping, some reading, tons of mindless action on Pinterest and tumblr and Facebook and G+, and vast quantities of tea. I can’t complain.

 -oOo-

 Don’t forget to cheer on our other ROW80 participants! And if you’ve got any WANACon questions, send ’em my way!

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ROW80: Are We Ready for Some Beyonce?! Er, Football?

Gotta love "Hey Arnold" in Niners' colors. (Photo Credit: Lena Corazon)

Gotta love “Hey Arnold” in Niners’ colors. (Photo Credit: Lena Corazon)

Happy Superbowl Sunday, ROW80 friends! I’ve gotta say, it’s a very, very good time to be a San Franciscan. I feel like practically everyone has been decked out in 49ers gear for the last couple of weeks, and the anticipation for today’s big game has increased to epic proportions. Even my favorite tea shop has gotten into the spirit!

To be honest, I’m more excited for the halftime show than anything else (a Destiny’s Child reunion?!?! I have been waiting AGES for this), but I’ll be spending the day with my besties at San Francisco’s first-ever gay bar in the Castro, which is sure to be an absolute blast.

With that, here’s my check-in for the week:

DAY JOB:
The dissertation has taken most of my energy this week, with lots of time spent reading the two books I mentioned in my last check-in, trying to learn a whole new subfield (sociology of religion and organizational culture), and getting started at archives #3 and #4 (the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and the Daughters of Charity). Needless to say, my head feels full to bursting, but I’m making progress, and that’s what counts. For next week:

  • Finish Ann Butler’s Across God’s Frontiers.
  • Read and take notes on 10 journal articles; continue to figure out which concepts are applicable to the dissertation.
  • Type up handwritten notes; figure out best way to annotate and code data.

WRITING:
Nothing to see here. Move along.

SOCIAL MEDIA:
Erm, not much to see here, either. I played on Facebook and Twitter and G+ a little, but that doesn’t precisely fulfill any of my goals. So… yeah. Gotta do better next week.

SELF-CARE:
Okay, I skipped last week’s check-in because I ended up giving myself a few self-care days, which basically involved devouring 7 novels in 7 days. Yeah, it was amazing, and at some point I will write about the effects of my reading binge/review the highlights of said binge. Seriously, though, it was probably the best thing I’ve done for myself in a while.

So that’s it for me this week! Short and sweet for once. 😛 For those of you who are watching the Beyonce concert the big game, enjoy! And for those of you who aren’t, have a lovely rest of the weekend, and a great start to the week! Don’t forget to check on the rest of our ROWing folk here.

 

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ROW80: Some Progress, And A Shiny New Opportunity

It’s Sunday, which means it’s time for another ROW80 update. This week was a little hit and miss for me; I had a lot of grand ambitions, but only a few of them ended up happening. I’m in the midst of a two week break from my work in the archives, so I don’t have all that many excuses for my lack of productivity… So let’s just blame it all on my cat, shall we? He’s been planting himself right in front of me every time I have the urge to work.

kitty-face How can anyone say no to this face?

Before I get to my check-in, I just want to point your attention to a very exciting, very shiny new opportunity hovering on the horizon: the awesome anthology of writers’ success stories that I am planning with my friend and partner-in-crime, Chad Carver. I posted our call for submissions on Friday, but if you missed it, here’s a description of what we are looking for:

We want to hear real success stories from writers who didn’t give up.

It’s tough to be a writer.  Most people quit.  But some people do not, or cannot, and those people change the world, whether for many people, or simply for themselves.

Whether you’ve published, are still chipping away at your magnum opus, have written the book that freed you from a demon, or have simply scratched the itch that all writers know, we would love to hear your stories of strength, hope and success in a world that is so often painted as hopeless, and foolish – the writer’s world.

I’ve created a new page with all of the submission details, so swing by there (or check out Friday’s post) for more information. It would be absolutely wonderful to be able to include essays from my fellow ROWers–y’all have done some amazing things in the time that I’ve been involved with this community, and I know you all have great stories to share.

Now then, onto the week in review:

DAY JOB:
I haven’t finished reading any of the books that I added to my to-do list last week, but I did succeed in (1) scheduling research dates for my next two archives and (2) adding a fourth member to my dissertation committee. This week’s goals are the same as last week’s:

WRITING:
I didn’t get any poetry written this week, but I did finally sit down with my steampunk WIP. I spent a few days this week rereading and flagging spots for improvement, as well as making a prioritized list of edits. By the end of the month, I’d like to have the following done:

  • A synopsis draft, ready for the “beta readers” who are going to help me figure out plot problems (“beta readers” is in quotes because this stupid novel isn’t finished, and so therefore they are just reading all my nonsense gibberish at this point).
  • A complete Act 1, free of empty spots and placeholders.

This week, then, I’ll be focused on poetry and edits. Good stuff, all around.

SOCIAL MEDIA:
Aside from the 10 or so ROW80 blogs I visited last Sunday, I haven’t visited any others since. One of the things I am trying to work on is being much more focused and deliberate in my online wanderings, so that is on the top of my list this week: fewer hours spent pointlessly poring over Facebook and Pinterest, more attention paid to bloggy things.

As far as my blog is concerned, I did post 2 non-ROW80 posts: Friday’s call for submissions and Monday’s vlog with me reading one of my favorite poems, “The Dangerous Weird,” dedicated to all the wacky, wonderful, delightfully odd people I know. I fell behind on responding to blog comments, but today I will be playing catch up. For this week:

  • More blogging.
  • More commenting/promoting.
  • Less time spent on shiny internet timewasters.

SELF-CARE:
This was an odd week in that a change in my workout routine (20 minutes of Pilates added to my 1.5 mile run/3.5 mile walk) left me totally wiped out each day. I only succeeded in reading half of May Sarton’s memoir, PLANT DREAMING DEEP, but I did do things like spend a couple of mornings laying around in the sun and listening to jazz music. I also had two excellent in-depth journaling sessions, which have left me with far more clarity and a renewed sense of peace. For next week:

  • Finish PLANT DREAMING DEEP.
  • Keep on journaling.

Whew, so that was my week! It’s not too terrible, though as always, there is room for improvement. 

How are the rest of you doing? I hope everyone has managed to stay warm and healthy. If you’ve been sick, then I hope that the illness passes swiftly. 😀  Don’t forget to wave hello to the rest of the ROWers checking in this week!

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ROW80: When One Email Equals Success

I need a little bit of this in my life.

I need a little bit of this in my life.

My morning began with a freakout.

Well, no, that’s not entirely true. My morning actually began with a wonderfully incandescent moment where I turned on the radio and heard the sweet, gentle sounds of of Ralph Vaughn Williams’ exquisite “Serenade to Strings.” It was when the piece was finished that I found myself falling into panic mode.

The problem: I’ve spent the last three weeks telling myself to email my dissertation advisor to tell her all the things I’ve learned in the course of my research over the last three months. The longer I wait, the more panicked I get. But every time I sit down to write the darn email, I freeze up. Why? Because everything I write sounds less than perfect.

It’s the curse of the overachiever, this need to be hyper-critical and always in control. Judging from the comments on my last couple of posts, many of you can relate. It’s perhaps the ultimate irony that all of our attempts to be perfect leave us frustrated and dissatisfied, ready to throw in the towel and just be done with life.

Little by little, moment by moment, I am trying to undo these nasty habits.

What would happen if I trusted in my talents and abilities? If I was confident that my advisor won’t judge me if I send along a few underdeveloped ideas? If I trusted that brainstorming + a little work will yield the theoretical framework that my project currently lacks?

I’d work faster, I’d be more creative, and I’d be so. much. happier. 

My friend Chad Carver may have said it best in his latest blog post:

In fact, our imperfect humanness is what makes us great artists because the interesting people are those whose character are coloured with most, or all, of the hues of the human condition.  They are, as a result of their layers of virtue and vice, capable of wide thinking, and profound creativity.  So, embrace your imperfection.

“Embrace your imperfection.” That’s an awesome sort of battle cry, isn’t it?

-oOo-

Here’s what I’ve accomplished in this first week Round 1:

DAY JOB:
I finished preliminary research at 2 out of 6 sites, continued to work through my notes, finally emailed my committee, and read 80 pages of Coburn & Smith’s Spirited Lives: How Nuns Shaped Catholic Culture and American Life, 1836-1920, which looks to be really useful for my work. For next week:

WRITING:
I sort of ditched last week’s plan and revisited my August CampNaNoWriMo novel, STRANGE BEDFELLOWS. It is in surprisingly good shape, possibly because it has more of a plot than any of my other WIPs (plots are useful things, did you all know that?), but I don’t necessarily know that I want to make that my major project for the year. However, I did write a couple of poems: “muse” and “drought“.  For next week:

  • More poetry.
  • Reread TELL ME NO LIES (for real this time) and make the Ultimate Editing Battle Plan.

SOCIAL MEDIA:
I made my rounds to the allotted number of blogs this past week, answered all my comments, and spent a little time on Twitter. I didn’t write my 2 non-ROW80 posts, which tells me that I really need to write them over the weekend. For next week:

  • 2 non-ROW80 posts
  • Continue visiting blogs/leaving comments/responding to comments

SELF-CARE:
Confession time: I have been avoiding books for the last few weeks because I know without a doubt that once I start, I will never be able to stop reading. I will become a tired, haggard, zombie-like shell of a person because I will stay up all night devouring books, and I won’t get anything else done.

But! I marshaled a little self-control and took the plunge into the world of books. I read THE RUTH VALLEY MISSING by the wonderful Amber West (seriously amazing book; review forthcoming), along with the latest novella in Lindsay Buroker’s EMPEROR’S EDGE series, BENEATH THE SURFACE (also fantastic). For next week:

  • More reading.
  • More journaling.

How has the first week of Round 1 treated everyone else? Have you hit the ground running, or are you slowly building up momentum?

Be sure to swing by and visit this week’s ROWers to offer them lots of encouragement and word love!

ROW80: Starting Fresh With Strength, Courage & Wisdom

ROW80Logocopy

January 7th marks the start of a new round of A Round of Words in 80 Days, “the writing challenge that knows you have a life.” For those of you looking for more information about the challenge, you can find it here.

I’m waving a wildly enthusiastic hello to all my old ROW80 friends, and offering the warmest of welcomes to all the new folks joining in on this round. This community is one of the most supportive and welcoming that I’ve found online, and is one of the reasons that I’m participating in my 7th (!!!!) round.

For anyone who may have missed my first post of the year, I’ve declared that 2013 will be my year to “stop the cray.” I’m pulling the plug on negative thinking, nasty energy, and all the habits that cause me to sabotage my own success.

To aid me on this journey, I’m blasting my anthem song for the year, “Strength, Courage, and Wisdom,” by India.Arie. As she sings,

It’s time to step out on faith, I’ve gotta show my face
It’s been elusive for so long but freedom is mine today
I’ve gotta step out on faith, it’s time to show my face
Procrastination had me down but look what I have found

With a little strength, courage, and wisdom in my life, I’m launching myself towards two giant goals for the year: (1) completing (at least) one novel and (2) finishing the first draft of my dissertation.

I won’t lie. Just typing those giant goals makes me want to do this:

supernatural-shockBut if there’s anything I’ve learned with ROW80, it’s that identifying small, achievable goals goes a long way to helping me conquer seemingly insurmountable tasks. With that in mind, here are my overall goals for Round 1:

DAY JOB:

  • Finish dissertation proposal and have quarterly meeting with committee
  • Complete preliminary archival research at 4 out of 6 locations
  • Continue to write rough sketches of research memos based on collected data

WRITING:

  • Write 2-3 poems each week
  • Revisit TELL ME NO LIES and THE PEACOCK QUEEN; identify what needs to be tweaked/fixed/written in order to finish first drafts
  • Figure out Ultimate Editing Battle Plan (and which novel I feel like hanging out with–or if the answer to this question is “both”)

SOCIAL MEDIA:

  • Write 1 ROW80 check-in post each Sunday, along with 2 non-ROW80 posts each week
  • Respond to all blog comments
  • Use weekends for catching up with Google Reader, Twitter, and Facebook
  • Visit 10 blogs each week to read, comment, and promote posts

SELF-CARE:

  • Journal daily
  • Read 1 novel each week
  • Unplug when necessary

So there you have it, folks! Is everyone feeling rested and ready to go? Anything special y’all are looking forward to this year?

Tell me all about it in the comments, and be sure to swing by and wave hello to everyone else participating this round.

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Hard Truths for the New Year

It’s been pretty quiet over here at Flights of Fancy over the last few months, and for good reason. For me, 2012 was a blur of deadlines and responsibilities, punctuated by my Big Move over the summer from Santa Barbara to San Francisco, and the transition to living with my parents once again.

I finished my MA thesis and earned my long-awaited degree at the beginning of March, switched dissertation topics at the end of May and hustled like crazy to write all the papers necessary to advance to doctoral candidacy by mid-September, packed up all my worldly possessions and moved at the beginning of July, and spent the last three months of the year collecting data for my dissertation.

Oh, and I won CampNaNo back in August and NaNoWriMo in November, started working on my physical health, somehow squeezed in time to have a semblance of a social life, and rediscovered my love for writing poetry.

It’s not a bad list of accomplishments, to be honest, even if the day job did take precedence over my blogging life, and even if I still haven’t gotten around to finishing any of my WIPs. But as I look at this list, I know that the successes I made in 2012 were weighed down by the horrible encroaching monster of negativity that has been slowly taking over my life.

Tangling With the Doubt Monster
(Or, How I Am My Own Worst Enemy)

I am, as most of you are probably aware, a perfectionist. I’m a Type-A personality, and I’ve been speeding along the racetrack for academic success for as long as I can remember. My life has been one long series of coursework and papers and extracurricular activities and, these days, research and teaching. And I love this. I am good at it. But I’d be a helluva lot better at it if my head wasn’t filled with all sorts of crazy bullshit that tells me that I am an utter failure.

I used to laugh my little Doubt Monster off. Y’know, because feeling like a failure in the midst of a life filled with success and a lot of blessings seems absolutely ridiculous. But if I’m being honest with myself, I have to admit that I spent most of 2012 (and 2011, and 2010…) trapped in a horrible paralyzing world of grey, where fear and anxiety leeched away the excitement I should feel for life, leaving me with a mess of despair and a tangle of emotions.

But it is a new year, and I have decided that I’m through with living this way. I could accomplish so much more, and be so much happier, if I kicked my Doubt Monster to the curb and ditched all the crazy that has taken hold of my life.

With that in mind, I leave you with my intentions for 2013, summed up in poetic form. Here’s to a safe, healthy, and wonderfully creative new year for us all!

“Poem for a New Year”

2012 has been a painful lesson
that the way I live–
all smiles on the outside
shattered and broken on the inside–
cannot be allowed to continue.

This last year taught me
that I can’t keep living in the grey world
of can’t–
too stupid
too slow
too trite
too cliche
too untalented–
where I self-mutilitate
not with razor blade and substances
but with words weighed down with negativity
words that pollute and poison
till everything that lives in my soul is mutated, ugly–
foul-looking with missing eyes and extra limbs
savage mockeries of all that was once beautiful and clean and real.

In my brief moments of sanity
where perfectionism and the hideous monster of not-good-enough are silenced
I know my worth,
see the shadow of the woman I know I could become
if I stopped the cray,
banished the negative,
trashed my doubts,
and stepped into the light.

I want a soul free from toxic waste
returned to its former glory
all shiny and sparkly and spangled with glitter
riotous with color, suffused with the glow of a million gems–
a soul that can breathe, one that can create,
one filled with all the glorious dreams I’ve allowed
to fall by the wayside.

And so 2013 is my time
a chance to seize back my life
return to a place where prayer and creation are
second-nature
where my wings have strength to soar off on new adventures
and my fingers are able to seize hold of new opportunities.

I rejoice in this new beginning
revel in the promise of days to come.
“Strength, courage, and wisdom” is my mantra;
transformation is my goal.

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ROW80: Some Belated December Goals

Erm… It’s December. Has anyone noticed that? And it’s not just December, but practically mid-December…

I suppose I shouldn’t be completely shocked, but I feel like it was just yesterday I crossed the 50k finish line for NaNoWriMo (a day early, I might add), and got this lovely shiny badge to affix to every possible surface online and off display proudly.

And now it’s holiday season! Decorations are going up around town, the local radio station is playing festive carols, and I am staying far, far away from all shopping centers, because mall parking lots during December must be a tenth circle of hell that Dante forgot to write about. However, I have been playing this video clip non-stop for the last few days, and it is giving me all the feels. Mariah Carey, Jimmy Fallon, the Roots, and a bunch of random little kids? Perfection.

Now that NaNo is through, and December is most definitely here, I figure it’s time for some amended goals for the remainder of this round of ROW80. Here’s what I have on the list…

  • Revise and submit my 25-page dissertation proposal to my committee by the end of December. The “official” proposal will be done by mid-January, and I will hopefully be able to amend that for a grant proposal due mid-February. This week’s mini-goal: Continue archive research, read sociological journal articles, start hammering out guiding dissertation questions and a theoretical framework.
  • Suspend fiction-writing till 2013, when the “Year of Edits” will begin in earnest. Aim for writing at least 3 poems each week, just to keep those skills sharp. This week’s mini-goal: Revise 1 poem, write 2 more. 
  • Use my daily sprints over at the #ROW80 hashtag (11 am Pacific Time) for generating blog content, including posts for December and some for January. This week’s mini-goal: Complete 3 blog posts, not counting ROW80 check-ins. 

There are still a million other thing I need to be doing–Twitter and Facebook? Reading other people’s blogs? Commenting on those blogs? Remembering to wash my hair?–but these are my biggest priorities at the moment. It’s all about baby steps, right?

How many of you have decided to alter your goals to accomodate the holiday season? 

ROW80: Is It Me, or Are We Living in Warp-Speed?

What do frogs have to do with anything? Not much, I just like the picture. 😛

Whoa there, folks, it’s apparently hump day already. I’m not quite sure how that happened; last I checked, it was Saturday night and I was making tentative plans for the upcoming week. Hmph.

With that said, it’s time for the mid-week ROW80 check-in! Now that we’re almost 3 weeks into the round, I am happy to say that I think I am coming up with a better system for getting things done.

I am a great lover of structure, so I sat down today and hammered out a general schedule for my day-to-day life. The result is flexible, but will allow me to tackle my major priorities–the day job and my creative work– every day.

Here’s a short update on how things are going so far:

Day Job: I’ve set aside 2 hours each day as Sacred Dissertation Time. Starting next week, Tuesdays-Thursdays will be spent digging around in archives, so Mondays and Fridays will be devoted to writing up research memos and revising my proposal.

Writing: I’ve also decided that I need to have my 1 hour #teamsprinty happytimes each day, so I’ve set up the schedule to keep 11 am-12 pm free. This is a really good thing, as I’ve missed most sprints for the last few months, and it always leaves me feeling a little off-balance.

Brainstorming for NaNoWriMo is the only priority as far as writing is concerned. Right now I’m hammering out backstory and character biographies, keeping an eye open for any flashes of inspiration for that elusive middle. Overall, I’m trying to trust the process, and to know that my muse, despite her fickleness, will bring me a feast of ideas when I least expect it.

Exercise: The walking schedule has been amended to 5 miles/day, Sunday-Tuesday and Friday. I’ll try to supplement with Pilates or something on Thursdays, but as far as I am concerned, that’s more than enough exercise for me. 😛

One of the many wildlife sightings on the morning walk.

Social Media: Okay, I dusted off Google Reader the other day and opened it… and almost passed out from the sight of my 1000+ unread blog posts. However, I still think that using the RSS reader is the best way for me to keep up with blog posts at my own pace, rather than trying to constantly catch up with Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Here on Flights of Fancy, I continued with my poetry celebration series with a piece on self-proclaimed “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” Audre Lorde. It’s a post that I’m proud of, one that I’ve dedicated to “those who have ever been afraid to speak,” as it addresses Lorde’s work on fear, silence, and the importance of speaking one’s truth.

Self-Care: One of the things that I’ve been reminded over the last couple of weeks is that I have a very, very hard time putting my needs over the needs of others. Part of impetus for creating a daily schedule is rooted in ensuring that I take the time each day to take care of myself first. That includes tackling my responsibilities, along with having time for naps, journaling, and relaxation. Setting up those boundaries and preserving time for myself will, I hope, keep me from getting too run-down and burnt out.

-oOo-

Has anyone else been refining or reevaluating their goals? Let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to check in with the other ROWers this week.

ROW80: The NaNoWriMo Brainstorming Has Begun!

Happy Sunday, everyone! It’s time for another update for ROW80, the writing challenge “that knows you have a life.” My life, thankfully, has slowed down a bit over the last few days. Progress towards my goals feels fairly steady, and given my love of structure and routine, this is a very good thing.

As I’ve mentioned in past updates, I’ve been doing a lot of brainstorming and journaling. I’ve been thinking about quite a bit about creativity, in particular how the creative impulse must be satisfied in order to have a full and healthy life. I’ve also been thinking about the crucial nature of community, like our group of wonderful ROW80 participants.  This quote from WOMEN WHO RUN WITH THE WOLVES by Clarissa Pinkola Estes really hits home for me:

Creativity is not a solitary movement. That is its power. Whatever is touched by it, whoever hears it, sees it, senses it, knows it, is fed. That is why beholding someone else’s creative word, image, idea, fills us up, inspires us to our own creative work. A single creative act has the potential to feed a continent. One creative act can cause a torrent to break through stone.

I love the thought that “a single creative act has the potential to feed a continent,” especially on those days when all I can manage to write is a small haiku, or a couple of sentences towards the WIP. It’s the little stuff that matters, and even if I can’t devote hours to honing my craft, it feels so darn good to write just a little.

And with that, here’s how the past week went:

Day Job: Work in the archives continues. I’ve been writing up research memos based on my findings so far, which are further refining my research interests. This week’s highlight: I got a chance to sit in on a meeting of all the archivists from the Catholic sisterhoods here in the Bay Area. They represented the oldest communities in the area, all of the founded in the 1850s and 1860s. Listening to their discussions of the joys and challenges of maintaining archives was fascinating, and gave me a few dozen more ideas for future research. 😛

Writing: I finally started brainstorming my NaNoWriMo novel! Better yet, I even created a Scrivener file for it and laid out the first 14 scenes, complete with summaries and the bits and pieces of dialogue that keep cropping up in my head. At the moment the story lacks both a title and, er, a middle, but I know how it starts and how it ends. I figure the rest will fall into place by the time November begins.

The poetry challenge continues, and so far I’ve written 11 out of 14. I had a couple of favorites this week: “Stolen Morning,” which was just sweet and gentle and lovely to write, and “The Old Mysteries,” which reminded me how useful poetry can be for expressing those feelings that can’t be spoken or written in prose.

Exercise: I walked a total of 4 days this week, and it feels sooooo good. The trick, of course, is to stick with it and not slack off, the way that I always do. But I have decided to take it one week at a time, and hopefully that will help.

Social Media: I wrote 1 non-ROW80 blog post this week, and I was really pleased with it. It was about what happens when an author falls in love with her creations, and it gave me a chance to celebrate my favorite character’s birthday. 😀

It was a slow week with Twitter, etc., as I am settling in over at WANAtribe (my profile’s here, so feel free to friend me!). I’m retaking Kristen Lamb’s “Blogging to Build a Brand” course, so I’ve been trying to get to know all of my classmates.

Self-care: I’m going into hibernation mode, my way of recovering from all the fun social time I’ve had over the last couple of weeks. There is still lots of writing and soul-searching happening, with quite a few breakthroughs. All of this is very, very good (and will potentially keep me from having a super horrible quarter-life crisis, lol).

 

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ROW80: Linky Silliness and Mid-Week Goals

Happy Hump Day, friends! I’m ever-so-slowly transitioning back into the world of the useful and productive, but the ascent is a steady one. For today’s ROW80 check-in, I thought I’d share a few treasures that I’ve run across in the last week or so before getting to my list of progress and goals.

  • First up, Philip Hensher’s fascinating essay on handwriting that was published in UK newspaper, The Guardian. Given my recent commitment to return to writing by hand, at least for free-writing and brainstorming, the essay is a timely one. Hensher explores the role that handwriting has played in society over the generations, muses on its displacement, and suggests some simple ways in which we can reintegrate handwriting into our lives. It’s his closing thought, however, that I find quite striking:

I’ve come to the conclusion that handwriting is good for us. It involves us in a relationship with the written word that is sensuous, immediate and individual. It opens our personality out to the world, and gives us a means of reading other people. It gives pleasure when you communicate with it. No one is ever going to recommend that we surrender the convenience and speed of electronic communications to pen and paper. Though it would make no sense to give up the clarity and authority of print which is available to anyone with a keyboard, to continue to diminish the place of the handwritten in our lives is to diminish, in a small but real way, our humanity.
 

  • Tumblr has become one of my favorite ways of wasting time entertaining myself in between projects. Some of you (especially my teaching friends) might appreciate “Office Hours Are Over,” which basically sums up my day job life. My favorite entry so far? This ah-mah-zing Tyra Banks gif that expresses EVERYTHING I feel about grading papers.
  • And speaking of gifs, please behold the most amazing thing to ever, ever happen to the internet. Excuse me while I go off and squeal in the corner.

Onto the goals…

Day Job: Erm, I mentioned that “slowly” is the operative word this week, right? That is all I can say about day job goals for the moment.

Writing: I’m almost caught up on my #OctPoWriMo goals–just 1 short. I’m also working my way through a couple of craft books–Ensouling Language by Stephen Harrod Buhner and Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. Plotting for my still-untitled NaNoWriMo novel will commence by the weekend, and I will need all the tools and resources I can get my hands on.

However, all of the journaling and brainstorming that I’ve been doing has done wonders for shedding insight on (1) why I write and (2) what I ultimately want to accomplish through my writing. Having a sense of direction has been doing wonders for my inspiration.

Exercise: Managed to walk 3 days this week, for a total of 12.5 miles. Wednesday is my day off, but I’ll resume on Thursday and Friday. I’d like to try integrating a little weight-training, but that might be too ambitious…

Social Media: Still trying to transition into sitting at my desk, in front of the computer, instead of running around and having playtime. There will hopefully be something good to report by Sunday.

Self-Care: I am learning to understand my body’s rhythm, and to accept the fact that I can’t steamroll my way through life without a little downtime.

-oOo-

And that’s my very, very modest progress for the week. 😛 Hope everyone’s doing well!

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