Lena Corazon

Flights of Fancy

Tag: progress (page 2 of 8)

ROW80: Have You Ever Heard an Alpaca Whine?

Happy Sunday, folks! I’ve successfully completed my first week of work as the front counter assistant at my local Boys and Girls Club, and now I’m ready for a little silliness. What could be better than a visit with some awesomely fuzzy animals at the petting zoo?

There were chickens, rabbits, sheep, goats, and (my favorites) a pig, tortoise, and alpaca. I may have been more excited than all of the kids who were gathered there. ūüėõ

Oliver, the cutest pig ever. (Photo Credit: Lena Corazon)

Oliver, the cutest pig ever. (Photo Credit: Lena Corazon)

This baby goat was head-butting Oliver, the precious pig.

This baby goat was head-butting Oliver, the precious pig. (Photo Credit: Lena Corazon)

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Baby, the alpaca who wouldn’t stop whining. (Photo Credit: Lena Corazon)

The alpaca pictured above had the strangest tendency to whine incessantly. It was such an uncanny noise that I had to take some video footage.

Isn’t it the cutest thing ever?

This week’s progress:

Day Job:¬†I was a little stressed out about starting work this week, so I gave myself the week off from all dissertation-related activities. Starting tomorrow, though, I’ll be tackling the edits to my academic journal article, which are due on Friday.

Writing:¬†I also decided to take a little time off here, as well. #teamsprinty is adding an evening writing sprint (7 pm Pacific/10 pm Eastern), so I’m going to be taking advantage of that in the week to come. My goal is to edit the next 2 chapters of TMNL, to get back on track.

Social Media:¬†I used my mornings before work this week to work on blog posts (I know–even I’m shocked). I’ve got one queued up for tomorrow about the aerial scavenger hunt I took to an old WWII training camp, and an awesome video clip for Friday. I’ve also discovered the wonders of the WordPress app for iPhone, which makes commenting on blogs¬†way easier.

So that’s about all for me right now! I’m looking forward to inching back into the world of blogging, digging into my research again, and making some progress with edits.

How’s the week going for everyone else? Don’t forget to say wave your pompoms for the rest of the ROW80 community!

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ROW80: The Changes Keep A-Comin’

I gotta say, folks: every time I think I’ve got my life under control, something new crops up and I’m left scrambling, trying to readjust and attain some semblance of balance.

Change, I think, has been the theme of the last few months. Practically all of it has been good–a new relationship, new friends, tons of awesome adventures (some of which will hopefully be immortalized in a glorious series of blog posts), and now, a new job. I’m grateful for all of these new opportunities; there’s so much room for growth and development. But¬†whew… A girl’s gotta have time to breathe, y’know?

Needless to say, there hasn’t been much writing of any sort happening since I checked in a few weeks back, but I’m starting to think of this period as my summer hiatus. I’ve lived, I’ve explored, and I’ve gotten to do things that I’ve never done before.

California, 3000 feet in the air.

California, 3000 feet in the air.

Aerial scavenger hunt from a single-engine plane?¬†Check.¬†1920s Downton Abbey-themed party at a historic California mansion?¬†Check. Four-wheeling through windy dirt trails with 3 people crammed into a 2 person tractor?¬†Check. Jazz concerts, experiments with moonshine, experiments with sangria, the worst wedding ever, countless trips to the Academy of Sciences…?¬†Check, to all of the above.

Living, as so many of my astute writing friends have pointed out, is one of the keys to becoming a good author. Living–and reading, and watching movies, and taking time to absorb the world in which we live–is what allows us to create fictional worlds with all the vibrancy of the real thing, to construct living and breathing characters that our readers will come to love (or love to hate).

As August marches on and Autumn (slowly–soooo slowly, please, I’m not done with summer) approaches, I’ll hopefully get to a point where I find a rhythm and routine for my days. My new job runs from 12-6 pm, which means that my mornings can be for research and writing, and my evenings can be for happy hours and time with friends and family.

So cross your fingers for me, folks! I’d like to be able to have tons more progress and such to report in the weeks to come. After all, I’ve got deadlines to meet (revisions for my very first academic journal article on August 23rd, and my revised dissertation proposal by mid-September), which means I need to start hustling, and soon.

How’s the summer going for everyone else? Are you making progress, or have things slowed down?¬†

Swing on by and wave hello to the rest of our ROWers checking in for today!

ROW80: Rollin’ Along

Happy Sunday, folks! Time is really flying; I’m not quite sure how we’re in the second half of July, but here we are. My week has been busy with a mix of really fun stuff and some work. The fun stuff included a jazz concert on Sunday, and the world’s most epic 1920s theme party, both held at the Filoli estate about 20 miles south of San Francisco. Filoli is basically California’s answer to Pemberley, and whoa, I definitely felt like Elizabeth Bennet as I wandered around the property. I’ve got a whole post planned about Filoli, but here are a couple of photos, just as a preview.

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The front of Filoli house. If it looks familiar, that’s because it served as the Carrington mansion in the television show, Dynasty.

One of the smaller buildings nestled in Filoli's extensive gardens.

One of the smaller buildings nestled in Filoli’s extensive gardens.

Gorgeous, huh?

If things look a little different around here, it’s not your imagination. I’m experimenting with different designs and themes at the moment, so if you’ve got any feedback, I’d love to hear it.

Anyway, onto this week’s progress!

DAY JOB:
Okay, I haven’t been very successful here at all. I’ve done a little brainstorming about how I want to expand my dissertation proposal, but very little (and by little I mean “none”) actual writing has been done.

To do this week: Buckle down and finish editing the proposal.

WRITING:
I’m way behind on my Camp NaNo goals, to the point where I’m actually starting to think that completing my goal of 15k on SOMEWHERE IN THE WEST is going to be an optional. The story is an exciting one, but TELL ME NO LIES has managed to snag my attention.

I’ve edited 2 chapters for TMNL, and outlined the next 10 chapters, taking me about half-way into Act 2. I’ve drafted most of these scenes, so all I’ve got to do is expand, clean up, and edit. I’m actually really darn excited to dig into these scenes, because the novel is finally taking shape. Whoo-hoo!

To do this week: Edit at least 2 more chapters; maybe write a little something for SOMEWHERE IN THE WEST.

BLOGGING:
This week I managed to add a “real” post, a silly commercial starring Hugh Jackman for Lipton Iced Tea. If you haven’t seen it, you can find it here. As I mentioned above, I’m also working on an overhaul of my blog, starting with a new theme. And as far as blog-hopping goes, I got a chance to visit 10 ROWers this week. Yay!

To do this week: Writing my post about Filoli House, and visiting some non-ROW blogs.

How’s everyone else doing? Any fun summer adventures afoot? Don’t forget to check in with everyone who is ROWing along this round!

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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:

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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.

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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.

artax

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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ROW80: Oh, How Time Flies!

I know, I know, I’ve been all sorts of absent over the last month or so.¬†Where have I been? for starters, there was the family spring break trip to Anaheim, where all of this awesomeness occurred:

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The valiant knights of Medieval Times in Buena Park, CA.

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Disneyland!

Yo ho ho!

Yo ho ho!

The great Captain Jack Sparrow, for my #teamsprinty loves

The great Captain Jack Sparrow, for my #teamsprinty loves

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Family time at Disneyland.

…and then after I got back from vacation, there was just a lot of “Oh, I’ll write a check-in post on Sunday. Wait, Sunday has passed? Then I’ll check in on Wednesday…” And so on, and so forth.

Then April rolled around (no, I don’t know where the time has gone. I am convinced that some evil genius somewhere flipped a switch and¬†stole at least 3 weeks from me), and I had all this¬†life stuff come up. Nothing serious, mind you, just the life stuff that involves dealing with routine doctors’ appointments, and running all those errands that have been piling up for months, and paying attention to things like the mountain of paper and mail and books that are overflowing from the various corners in which they were stashed.

I was reminded that I had planned to paint my room waaaaay back in July, when I first moved back home, so I took the last week to finally get that done. I think the results are well worth the effort. ūüėõ

Napoleon is wondering, as always, what the heck I'm up to this time.

Napoleon is wondering, as always, what the heck I’m up to this time.

A before-and-after shot of my desk, for comparison's sake.

A before-and-after shot of my desk, for comparison’s sake.

With all this massive spring cleaning and redecorating finished, I’m hoping I’ll have all sorts of renewed energy for creativity and productivity. With that in mind, here are my Round 2 goals. For April, I plan to do the following:

DAY JOB: Finish the first full draft of my dissertation proposal.

WRITING: Write 30k towards TELL ME NO LIES for CampNaNoWriMo.

That’s it. Simple, straight-forward, and to the point… though still a little scarily ambitious. But after almost 2 years of participating in ROW80, I’ve come to accept the fact that I don’t quite know how to do anything less.

So, yay! I’m late to the party, but I’m thrilled, as always, to be here. How’s Round 2 treating everyone else?

ROW80: A Bucketful of Sloths. You’re Welcome.

Happy Sunday, friends! Before I get to my weekly ROW80 check-in, I’ve gotta say: I have the most amazing friends in the universe. Why? Not only are they supportive, caring, and a little crazy, they also fill my inbox with pictures and videos of baby animals and other silliness. Yesterday my Ultimate Best Friend Ever sent me this. Because I love you all, I am sharing it with you.

Be warned. It is epic.

BUCKET OF SLOTHS from Lucy Cooke on Vimeo.

(I rather imagine that this is what #teamsprinty looks like after the end of an intense writing sprint…)

DAY JOB:
Not much to report here. I skipped the archives for a second week in a row so I could recover from the flu. I’ll be back at it on Tuesday, which means my focus will shift back to the dissertation. I’d like to do the following:

  • Sketch out a timeline to have my revised dissertation proposal finished by mid-March.
  • Finish ACROSS GOD’S FRONTIERS.
  • Figure out the best way to start annotating, coding, and organizing my notes from the archive.

WRITING:
I’ve made some progress here, and I think breaking down my writing tasks in last week’s check-in was really helpful. I wrote a few thousand words towards TELL ME NO LIES, spent a few hours brainstorming, and took some time to go through previous drafts to salvage bits and pieces that I’d like to integrate into the final draft. I also wrote a couple thousand words of silly flash fiction pieces starring Pierce. They may end up becoming fodder for a romance novel one day, but for the moment, they’re just a fun exercise. For the week to come, I’d like to:

  • Take my list of settings and locations and continue to flesh out their descriptions.
  • Continue to explore supporting characters, like the Chinese crime lord who made an appearance in my brainstorming session last week (squee!).
  • Jot down any ideas that pop up for my other WIPs, but keep the focus on TMNL, for the moment, at least.

SOCIAL MEDIA:
Okay, people, I wrote three¬†blog posts this week. I know, let’s count ’em: 3. Even better, I made my goal for commenting/sharing blog posts. Success!

Here’s what happened on Flights of Fancy this week:

  • A¬†knock-down, drag-’em-out fight¬†between the¬†baby platypus¬†and the¬†baby otter¬†over my brand new¬†Cute As a Sloth Award. There was a poll and everything, which is still open, FYI. Last I checked, the baby otter was winning by a landslide.
  • The Old Ways,” a mid-week poem sparked by Ash Wednesday, which is apparently going to become a new feature on the blog. I say “apparently” because I hadn’t intended to do it, but then my muse was like, “Hey, you should make this a thing,” and I sort of shrugged and said, “Okay”… and that is more than you needed to know about my inner dialogue. ūüėõ
  • My long-promised¬†book review post, with a list of my 5 favorite books (so far) from 2013.

Not only do I have a ton of ideas for future posts boiling around in my head, I actually have drafts written for the upcoming week. Yay!

SELF-CARE:
I’ve been working on being calm and relaxed for the last week, with mixed results. I’m¬†mostly¬†recovered from the flu, in that I am no longer feverish and dying, but I still get tired quickly. The last couple of days have been an exercise in not over-taxing myself.

I am partway through Natalie Goldberg’s WILD MIND, a wonderful book about writing and the writer’s life that I highly recommend. And because it’s Presidents’ Day weekend ¬†here in the US, I am rewatching the HBO miniseries John Adams, based on the biography written by David McCullough. For those of you who like history, I highly recommend it.

-oOo-

So yay! Lots of good things are happening, I am feeling creative, and there are many more good things to come. As a reminder, one of those wonderful things is WANACon, which will be held next weekend. Pop over to WANAMama Kristen Lamb’s blog for more info about the conference¬†and¬†the recently announced PAJAMACON, the bonus 3rd day of the conference. Yes, it really is as epic as it sounds.

Don’t forget to give a shout to the other ROWers this week, and send along belated Valentine’s Day wishes!

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. ūüėõ 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‚Äôve 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 ‚Äď the writer‚Äôs 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. ūüėÄ ¬†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!

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