Lena Corazon

Flights of Fancy

New Goals and A Bit of Inspiration

Today, I’m combining Monday Inspirations with my inaugural post for Round 1 of A Round of Words in 80 Days, the writing challenge “that knows you have a life.”

First up is a summary of my goals for this round, which runs from January 2nd – March 22nd, with a bit of inspiration in the form of the magnificent Neil Gaiman at the end.


This is my third round of ROW80, and I’m so excited to get started. I’ve been missing all my wonderful ROW-ers (you guys rock so hard), and I’m also delighted to welcome a couple of great writers into the fold: Sony and Willowfaerie. They were two of my first writing friends when I got started last year, and Willowfaerie in particular has been instrumental in helping me to pull PATH TO THE PEACOCK THRONE together. Swing by and show them both a little love!

I’ve got a total of 5 goals in place for this round, a few of which look pretty similar to previous ones:

Writing: I’ve got two unfinished WIPs taking up space in my head, and countless ideas for shorter projects whirling around. I want to continue writing, editing, and polishing up PATH TO THE PEACOCK THRONE and TELL ME NO LIES, though at the moment I don’t have a concrete battleplan in place. My goal is to spend an average of one hour each day on writing-related tasks, including (1) a complete outline for PPT, (2) an overhauled outline for TMNL, and (3) world-building for both projects.

Day Job: I have a lot to accomplish in the remainder of the school year, chiefly defending my MA thesis and steaming forward on plans for the dissertation. I will need to spend two hours each day on research-related tasks, including reading and note-taking. I’ve found that I have gotten abominably lax at writing on a regular basis, so I am going to try to write 2-3 research memos each week, that way I can keep track of how my ideas are developing. If I’ve learned anything with ROW80, it’s that forcing myself to write something on a regular basis is better than waiting ages for inspiration to strike.

Social Time: I wasn’t going to add this in as an official goal until last week, when I was visiting with my best friend and her aunt looked at me and said, “You are too much alone.” I started to protest… and then I realized that she was right. I’ve been trying to go out every so often, but I haven’t really been making much of an effort to invite other people out. With that in mind, I am aiming for one social event each week. It can be as simple as grabbing tea with a friend, or hitting up the happy hour circuit on Friday nights, but I have to do something so I’m not wallowing away in solitude.

Social Media: I’m going to aim for four blog posts each week, along with 1 hour each day of author platform/blog-hopping fun.

Exercise: I integrated an exercise component into last round’s goals with mixed results. Over the holidays, I’ve come to some important conclusions: it’s imperative that I adopt better practices with both exercise and eating habits.

It’s not just about wanting to fit into my favorite pair of jeans, although that’s definitely an incentive. Over 10 years ago I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), an endocrinological disorder that affects somewhere between 15% and 20% of women. Its root cause is insulin resistance, which results in all sorts of yucky effects like infertility and excess weight, but studies have shown that the effects can be reversed by regular exercise and a healthy diet.

I’ll be writing more about my experiences living with PCOS over the next few months, but my goals for the moment are the same as last round: exercise 4-5 days each week. The addendum to that, of course, has to do with diet: I need to ease off the salts and sugars, and aim for lots more fruits and veggies. Training myself out of bad habits is going to be difficult, but it has to be done.


As always, I expect that my goals may fluctuate over the next 80 days, but I think these general benchmarks will be handy to help me move forward and make 2012 a wonderful year for success in all levels of my life.

And now, your weekly dose of inspiration…

Neil Gaiman’s “New Year’s Benediction” is from 2010, but his words continue to be powerful. I’ve reproduced the text below, for anyone who has problems with the embedded video.

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. May your coming year be a wonderful thing in which you dream both dangerously and outrageously.

I hope you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and you will be liked and you will have people to love and to like in return. And most importantly, because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now – I hope that you will, when you need to be, be wise and that you will always be kind. And I hope that somewhere in the next year you surprise yourself.

– Neil Gaiman

Don’t forget to wave hello to the participants who have signed on for Round 1!


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  1. Great list of goals, Lena! You’ll hit them. Once again, you’ve got a full plate in front of you. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, too! I like that you added a social goal. That’s a good idea.
    ‘All work and no play make ______ a dull person.’
    Right? Hmmm…Maybe I should follow your lead and set some type of goal like that for myself. —-Yeah, this is coming from a person still sitting in their pajamas at 10 am. Ha! Happy New Year!
    Nadja Notariani recently posted..A New Year ~ 2012My Profile

    • Thanks so much, Nadja! One of the good things with the upcoming round is that I’ll only be on-campus twice each week, and on Tuesdays, I’m only there for 2 hours. I’m hoping that’ll leave plenty of time for naps and downtime. 🙂

      Happy New Year to you as well!

      • Go Lena! Sounds like you’re on a mission, and I’m sure you’ll accomplish all of your goals.

  2. Hi Lena! I’m glad you’re back this round. It looks like your all set with your goals. I’m sure you’ll do great. I’ve been doing almost all of my socializing online lately. So, I really like your goal to get out more. Something to consider for myself. Good luck with it all.
    Yolanda Early recently posted..Row 80 Goals–Round 1/2012My Profile

    • Thanks so much for stopping by, Yolanda. I absolutely adore all the online socializing that ROW80 and the other writing communities that I belong to have fostered, but it’s been really easy to forget about my offline friends. Hopefully this round I can approach some sort of balance between the two. 🙂

  3. Great goals and I hope you keep me on track with my exercise goal! Think it is a great idea to try and get out and about more and if it involves a happy hour all the better! How much I wish I was close by so we could hang together…how cool would that be!

    Have a great week lovely girl 🙂
    Em recently posted..ROW 80 2012 Round One goals!My Profile

    • Omg, it would be so much fun if we could just grab drinks together! I am telling you, if I ever find myself in England again (and I am just scheming a way to make it back one of these days), you are the first person I am calling!

  4. GREAT set of goals Lena – wowzers! You have a full plate but you pair that up with determination and perseverance so I know you’ll be successful. I had no idea you lived with PCOS and I look forward to learning more about it through your blog posts. I have, as well, added an ambitious exercise and eating healthy goal to my ROW80 so here’s to movitating and cheering each other along! Woot woot!
    Natalie Hartford recently posted..Kitty cat tree houseMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, Natalie! I love that so many of us are adding exercise and healthier living to our goals – definitely makes it a little less scary to try and tackle, knowing that others are doing the same thing.

      I think awareness of PCOS has increased slightly from when I was first diagnosed (back then I think the estimate was that 10% of women were affected), but it’s definitely still not a widely-known. I’ve never really talked about it before, but I think raising a bit more awareness about it is something I’d really like to do.

      Have a great week!

  5. Awesome set of goals Lena! And you deserve to take some time for yourself. Sometimes we get so busy we neglect that. It’s a big step in taking care of your health! I too have health issues and so I recognize that we all must know our limitations. If we don’t, we sometimes push ourselves into exhaustion and fatigue, thus more stress on our bodies making us sick. I’m behind you all the way. Please let me know what I can do to support you. I really mean it. Here’s to a healthy new year! 🙂
    Karen McFarland recently posted..ROW80: Kicking and Screaming!My Profile

    • Karen, thank you so much! And yes, you’re right — taking time for ourselves, and learning when to pause and just allow our bodies to decompress a bit, is so important. It’s a lesson I keep trying to learn, and I’m hoping that one of these days I figure out how to strike the right balance.

      I hope you have a wonderful week!

  6. Great list Lena! Love that benediction by Gaiman 🙂 Good luck on your goals!!
    Coleen Patrick recently posted..The Indefinite Future of SomedayMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, Coleen, and I’m so glad to hear you liked the Gaiman clip! I ran across it on Facebook, and absolutely fell in love with it.

      Have a wonderful week!

  7. I have that same problem with not getting out and being with people enough. I think it’s an excellent addition to your goals.

    Good luck! See you at the next check-in. 🙂
    Kim recently posted..Ding Ding Ding!My Profile

    • Kim, thanks so much for stopping by! It’s so funny — it’s never occurred to me till now to make social time one of my goals. I’m crossing my fingers that it works out well. 😀

  8. Very detailed and specific goals, Lena. I like them, especially the social (face-to-face) time one! I wish I had thought of that.
    We’re here for you. We will do this!
    Fabio Bueno recently posted..ROW80 – 2012 – First Round – Goal SettingMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, Fabio! I’m feeling really good about this round. My vacation was great for relaxing (well, somewhat, anyway), but I’m ready to get started again. I’m loving all this community spirit, tool. 😀

  9. I love your goals, Lena. Especially important are the health goals because they affect the other goals, don’t they? I’ll be cheering you on!
    Sheila Seabrook recently posted..ROW80 – Round 1 GoalsMy Profile

    • It’s funny how health can kind of slip by the wayside if we’re not careful. I’m guilty of ignoring things until they can’t be ignored anymore, so hopefully this round I can strive for more balanced living. 🙂

      Have a wonderful week!

  10. good list of goals there – I agree we need time for us – I dont have the problem about meeting people as I run various groups and reg. have dinner out with friends but time to do other stuff I find is lost when writing takes over – so go for relaxation I’m sure time out has to make us better writers. The health blogs will be interesting – changing eating habits can be more difficult than any others so best of luck – sure you can do
    alberta ross recently posted..A New Year Tidy Up!My Profile

    • Alberta, great to see you back again for this round! It’s so funny — I fall into such a trap of enjoying my solitude that I definitely forget about hanging out with people, so hopefully I can get better about that. As you say, downtime from writing does make us better writers (there’s nothing like a little people-watching to help me through a patch of writer’s block).

      Hope you have a great week!

  11. Been trying to hop over here to comment since you commented on my blog but was getting a “site temporary unavailable” — glad you back up and running 🙂

    Those sound like very doable goals Lena and I wish you the best of luck with them! Great benediction by Neil Gaiman.
    Raelyn Barclay recently posted..Tuesday Book TalkMy Profile

    • Sorry for any inconvenience! I ended up switching the primary domain on my hosting account, and didn’t realize that it would mess everything up…. I’m just glad that the tech support with my hosting company knew how to fix it all, because I’m pretty clueless. 😛

      Thanks so much for swinging by!

  12. great list of goals, Lena I have lots of good goals but need to add fitness to them.
    Louise Behiel recently posted..Before You Set Goals or Make ResolutionsMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, Louise. It took me a full round before I thought to add in fitness. I didn’t do all that well last time, but I’m hoping that I can be a little more successful for Round 1. It’s so nice to have everyone else around with similar goals. 😀

  13. Waving with great enthusiasm from the sidelines! Go you ROWers!

  14. I’m cheering you on. Now go and surprise yourself.
    Pat O’Dea Rosen recently posted..A Bright, Shiny New YearMy Profile

  15. I think its definitly a good idea to include the social stuff in that list too, I have done the same this year. After all why do we do the other stuff? Why work? To get the cash to have fun so make sure you are having some!
    Krissy recently posted..New Driver InsuranceMy Profile

    • You’re so right — all of the work that we do should be so that we can have time to enjoy ourselves. Here’s to indulging in some much-needed social time in 2012!

  16. Lena, I can only repeat what others have already said in their comments – this is a great list of goals, well thought and planned. I hope you will find time each day to take a good care of yourself – even those few minutes here and there can make a huge difference.

    All the best in the New Year! I love Neil Gaiman’s speech. He is one of my most admired writers, so thank you for sharing this fabulous video!
    Angela Orlowski-Peart recently posted..The Music That Inspires Me.My Profile

    • Angela, thank you so much! Yes, taking a bit of ‘me’ time each day is going to be a priority for me. I’ve found that reading seems to really help, because it’s a chance for me to be quiet and to slow down my brain a little — no worrying about writing or research or any other responsibilities. I’m hoping I can integrate a little reading time into each day, maybe before bed.

      Isn’t the Gaiman video wonderful? I am so glad that I found it, and happier still that I was able to share it with you all.

  17. I like reading other people’s goals because it helps me think about what I want to accomplish in my writing and in life. I really like that you made a social goal. It is true, sometimes we have to make a concious effort to see friends and make plans. Thanks for the inspiration.
    Emma Burcart recently posted..Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby!My Profile

    • Yes, I agree! Reading other people’s goals always remind me of important life elements that I’ve forgotten about. I think one of my ROW80 friends had a social goal last round, and it really stuck with me.

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Emma!

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