Lena Corazon

Flights of Fancy

ROW80: New Goals for Round 3

2012 is moving so quickly that I feel like I have whiplash. Somehow it’s already July, and I’ve completed my fourth year in grad school (?!).

I write this post having just completed the “Big Move” from Santa Barbara to my parents’ house in the San Francisco Bay Area. For at least the next year, I’ll be living with them as I work on my dissertation.

Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco, CA, USA) at...

It is SO good to be back in San Francisco. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Of course, July marks the start of Round 3 of A Round of Words in 80 Days, the writing challenge that “knows you have a life.” For more information, visit the “About” page.

My life seems to be conspiring against my ability to write of late; June was an absolutely insane month filled with grading, research, schoolwork, and packing up my apartment. Given the major deadlines I’m facing for school over the next couple of months, I gave serious thought to skipping Round 3, but I think I could use the accountability that ROW80 demands.

More importantly, I’ve been feeling at loose ends with my progress as a writer. Being back home in my parents’ house, living in the bedroom where I wrote my first poems and stories, brings into sharp relief the fact that I still haven’t reconnected with my creative impulse as deeply or as fully as I would like. The prospect of grappling with my dissertation for the next few months without any sort of creative outlet feels unbelievably bleak. Right now I’m less concerned with finishing the WIPs on my plate, and more concerned with remembering how it feels to wield words to bring the worlds within my head into existence.

For this round, I have a few goals with specific timelines, and a few others that will be ongoing. Here’s the breakdown:


Day Job:

  • Finish and submit a 12-15 page seminar paper on etiquette books and cultural theory. Approximate due date: July 15th
  • Finish and submit a 25-30 page literature review on my dissertation topic (19th century Catholic women religious in the United States, with an emphasis on the SF Bay Area). Approximate due date: July 31st


  • Renew creativity with daily journaling sessions and lots of brainstorming. I’m not placing a word count requirement on this, because at this point I need to just get back into the rhythm and flow of writing. I don’t care what I write — flash fiction, current WIPs, random snippets, bad poetry, it’s all up for grabs at this point.

Social Media:

  • Start building a queue of 10-12 blog posts to begin sharing in August.


Day Job:

  • Continue dissertation reading and (hopefully) begin visiting convent archives to assess holdings and materials.
  • Write and submit 2-page dissertation summary. Approximate due date: August 15th
  • Meet with dissertation committee for the “little conversation” to discuss the dissertation proposal and advance to doctoral candidacy. Approximate deadline: August 30th


  • Take part in August CampNaNoWriMo. I know, this might be a little crazy, but I’m not gunning for a 50k win. Instead, I’m hoping that whatever creative juices I unlock in July will allow me to focus on one project and flesh it out a little bit. This is a tentative plan, so we’ll see how July goes. Regardless, I will keep writing everyday so that I don’t lose the habit.


Day Job:

  • Revise July’s seminar paper with the goal of producing (1) a conference presentation for November and (2) a co-written journal article. Due date TBA.
  • Draft proposals for dissertation grants and fellowships. Approximate due date: September 30th.


Day Job:

  • Continue dissertation reading, visiting and working in convent archives, and writing weekly research memos.


  • Write everyday. No exceptions.
  • Read 1 (non-academic) book a week.


  • Work out 4-5 days a week (I’m upping the minimum threshold by 1 day). Continue to eat balanced meals and drink plenty of water.

Social Media:

  • Visit and comment on 10 blogs each week.
  • Start using Triberr on a regular basis.
  • Adopt Anne R. Allen’s slow-blogging manifesto, and aim for 1-2 posts/week, starting in August.

As always, there’s a lot going on. For this round, however, I think this is going to be all about concrete goals and deadlines for the day job, and much looser goals for my writing. Once I unpack all my boxes, finish settling into my room (there’s a major painting project on the horizon), and hammer out a routine, it’ll hopefully be a lot easier to get things done.

I’m looking forward to connecting with everyone taking part in ROW80 this round. If you’d like to add your name to the list, or check out the other bloggers who have joined in on all the fun, visit the linkytools list.

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  1. well thought out plan – room for everything – emphasis on the first priorities – mustn’t waste 4 years of effort at grad school – all the best with diss. and well done for trying to reconnect with creative side – I read the slow blog link and agree combining fiction with non is hard -this is why I don’t seem to be able to manage more than a couple of blogs each week:( I like slow food also:) all the best
    alberta ross recently posted..Mauve roses and swans: alberta’s check inMy Profile

  2. Hey – you got it all going on! But I love how organised you are and focussed. I can totally see this year being a successful one for you and this round and the move will help to kick start it. I appreciate you pointing out Anne R Allen’s slow blogging article to me, that is something I’ve always feared. I spend far too much time blogging and feel I need to pull back, big time. Best of luck – X
    Shah Wharton recently posted..Round 3 of #ROW80 Goals: A Reality CheckMy Profile

    • So glad you found the link to Anne’s blog useful. I LOVE blogging, I really do, but it can be such a time/energy drain if it’s not managed properly. Hopefully this round we can both find a bit of balance between writing, blogging, and life. 😀

  3. Yup, July already. I can’t believe it either.
    Very organized and Lena-like 😉
    So glad to see you again this round. I’m sure you’re gonna do well.
    I’m signed up for CampNaNo in August too, but I don’t know yet what I’m gonna write. I think it’ll depend on how July goes.
    Good luck =)
    Juliana Haygert recently posted..New Adult Pitch ContestMy Profile

    • Whee, another potential CampNaNo victim? If you do jump in, we’ll have to schedule some sprinty time together. It makes it so much more fun doing it in a group. 😀

  4. You are quite organized which is great so expect great things out of you. 🙂 Best of luck with finishing your dissertation. Have you checked out Book Passages yet? Wonderful store with lots of writerly activities going on from what I hear. One of these days I’ll get down there from Sacramento. San Francisco is a beautiful place. Get out, take some walks, enjoy the beautiful sunsets and the water and soon it will restore your creative juices. Once you get settled things will even out.
    Robin McCormack recently posted..First Chapter First Paragraph TuesdayMy Profile

    • Oooh, I stumbled upon Book Passages a few months ago when I was visiting the Ferry Building with some friends! I had no idea, however, that they also did so many author and book events, so thanks for pointing that out. I will definitely be adding them to my calendar.

  5. Wow, you have tons going on! Some ambitious goals to be sure, but the way you have them broken down by month totally makes sense and sounds very doable. Good luck with the day-job stuff, and have fun getting back into your fiction writing!
    Jennette Marie Powell recently posted..ROW80: Worst-Case PlanningMy Profile

    • Thanks, Jennette! When I was first pondering goals, I realized that the month-by-month format is the only way I can (potentially) make it through this summer without driving myself crazy. Here’s hoping it works!

  6. Whenever I read you goals I always feel so motivated and like I really really should achieve more!! You sound organised and very focused and I really hope you have a great round. Also, love the sound of your dissertation topic. Shame you can’t work in some English Nuns so you get to come to England for research 🙂 Have a great week!!
    Em recently posted..ROW80 Round 3: My goals!!My Profile

    • Aww, thanks, Em! I keep promising myself that one of these days I’ll have a somewhat-chill round, but school and life keep intervening. But hey, it keeps things interesting. 😀

      I’ll have to see how I can weave some English nuns into the diss! Maybe I can stretch it a little and add in some Irish nuns. 😛

  7. You slay me with that ambition, Lena! Just awesome goals…so clearly laid out and organized. Best of luck with all that you have …you’re spinning a lot of plates, lady! But you’re so driven, I’m sure you’ll do well. I’ll be anxiously following your progress – and cheering from the background. Ha!
    Nadja Notariani recently posted..IWSG: Is ‘Rest’ A Four Letter Word?My Profile

    • Thanks, lady! I’m trying to make this plate-spinning act as pleasant as possible. It definitely helps to have you cheering in the background. 😀

  8. @Nadja – Lena always slays me LOL!

    Hi darling!! Great detailed list of goals for this round. I think it’s good that you’re sticking with the round even though it will mostly be school writing goals. The accountability will be just as helpful, I’m sure! When I have so many things on my plate (not nearly as many as you!), I try to make the “fun writing” a constant time each day..or day of the week…whatever works. I find that I look forward to it and can deal with the other stuff before and after knowing that I always have my one block as a reward. Good luck with everything this round, and have a great week!
    Lauren Garafalo recently posted..ROW80 2012: Round 3 GoalsMy Profile

    • Yay, thanks for swinging by! I really like this idea of having “fun writing” as a constant time each week. My class schedule totally derailed my teamsprinty time last round, and I apparently wasn’t disciplined enough to make myself do fun stuff on my own. So hopefully this summer I can reintegrate sprinty times and actually get stuff done. 😀

      Great to see you as a sponsor this round!

  9. Karen McFarland

    July 5, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Dear Lena, you are amazing! I’m sure it feels good to back home, although who wouldn’t miss Santa Barbara, eh? Just a little? But San Francisco is so awesome. You just hit the ground and run, don’t you? You go girl! Do take a few days and enjoy being home with your family. And keep up the great attitude! 🙂
    Karen McFarland recently posted..Guest Post by Katherine OwenMy Profile

    • It’s true, I do miss SB a teeny bit — the weather, mostly! There is a chill in the air in SF that just cuts right through a person, even when the sun is out. Brrr!

      So great to see you, Karen. I’ve got to catch up on your blog — I’ve missed so much in the last couple of months. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Hi Lena, thanks for stopping by my blog! I’m glad you’ve decided to join us for this round. You seem to have a well thought out plan, I hope you meet your goals! Have a great week and happy writing!
    EM Castellan recently posted..Valar Morghulis : On killing your charactersMy Profile

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