Stuff

The Sunday Circle: What Are You Working On This Week?

Sunday Circle Banner

The Sunday Circle is the weekly check-in where I ask the creative-types who follow this blog to weigh in about their goals, inspirations, and challenges for the coming week. The logic behind it can be found here. Want to be involved? It’s easy – just answer three questions in the comments or on your own blog (with a link in the comments here, so that everyone can find them).

After that, throw some thoughts around about other people’s projects, ask questions if you’re so inclined. Be supportive above all.

Then show up again next Sunday when the circle updates next, letting us know how you did on your weekly project and what you’ve got coming down the pipe in the coming week (if you’d like to part of the circle, without subscribing to the rest of the blog, you can sign-up for reminders via email here).

MY CHECK-IN

What am I working on this week?

Still working on Project Bee-man this week. I’ve been stuck on a particular scene for a few days, unable to get past it, which is usually a sign that there’s a problem earlier in the draft that makes the current action unbelievable or narratively weak. The fact that I’ve let it bog me down, to the point that my brain is starting to noddle around on other projects and focus on admin-stuff, is probably a sign that ploughing on through has probably stopped being the best approach and it’s time to start looking at the previous scenes to figure out what needs to change.

What’s inspiring me this week?

My major narrative consumption this week has been The Defenders, which is a somewhat welcome return to form after the disappointment that was Iron Fist. It’s fascinating to look at this through the lens of series, as it’s the pay-off for all sorts of things that have been set up in prior Netflix series for half the characters. To see them take things that have been central to Iron Fist and Daredevil, then weave them into the storylines of Jessica Jones and Luke Cage which tend to be more self-contained and stand-alone, is the kind of narrative challenge that very few writers are ever going to face outside of comics-style, shared-world narratives.

I’m also impressed with the cinematography. One of the strengths of the Netflix series has always been their look and the colour schemes, and that doesn’t go away now that they’re an ensemble. Scenes focused on a particular character share the visual motifs of their original series, and when they start interacting the colour palates are blended in interesting ways. It’s a nice consideration that impacts on the way we read the story without being overt.

What action do I really need to take?

I’ve outlined one in my weekly plan, but that’s kinda secondary this week. What absolutely needs to start happening is putting some focus on refilling the well again, as most of my media consumption this week has been He-Man cartoons and old pro-wrestling episodes. I’ll be sitting down today and outlining some overt consumption goals, identifying a handful of books/shows/movies to consume over the coming week.

The Sunday Circle: What Are You Working On This Week?

Sunday Circle Banner

The Sunday Circle is the weekly check-in where I ask the creative-types who follow this blog to weigh in about their goals, inspirations, and challenges for the coming week. The logic behind it can be found here. Want to be involved? It’s easy – just answer three questions in the comments or on your own blog (with a link in the comments here, so that everyone can find them).

After that, throw some thoughts around about other people’s projects, ask questions if you’re so inclined. Be supportive above all.

Then show up again next Sunday when the circle updates next, letting us know how you did on your weekly project and what you’ve got coming down the pipe in the coming week (if you’d like to part of the circle, without subscribing to the rest of the blog, you can sign-up for reminders via email here).

MY CHECK-IN

What am I working on this week?

I’ve still got a little fine-tuning on the GenreCon program this week. Topics and panellists all exist in draft form, but there’s a handful that I’m not yet sold on and want to take another run at before we release them to the public. I’m also moving forward on Project Beeman again – had a lot of luck putting together detailed daily plans that are capturing all the busy work on any given day, which opens up more writing time than I would have thought.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I’m in the middle of my yearly re-read of Todd Henry’s Accidental Creative and his various follow-up books, rethinking processes and soaking up new details. I read these every twelve months and every time I pick up something new – Henry advocates a process with a lot of moving parts and it takes time to get some aspects down before others make sense.

This year, the part that’s particularly resonating is his sections of creative stimuli, refilling the well, and looking for connections between works that aren’t really connected. They mesh particularly well with some of the reading I was doing from Cal Newport at the start of the year about the way to make academia work.

What action do I need to take?

Updating the banner for the Sunday Circle to bring in the replacement question. For some reason I hesitate to do anything that involves Photoshop or InDesign at the moment, and all the tasks that pile up as a result of that keep eluding me.

The Evolution of An Idea I’m Totally Not Going To Pursue, Honest

Me at 9 AM yesterday, a week after watching a trashy 80s movie: Goddamnit, Rad totally wasted a great name. Their Helltrack was totally not helltracky.

Me at 11 AM yesterday: You know what would be funny? A version of hell track that blends cyberpunk and occultism, where demonic corporations are fought by cyborg X-gamers in a bizarre race track.

Me at a 3:00 PM yesterday: Goddammit, so that’s going on the potential project list.

Me at 6:00 PM yesterday:

Me, this morning: I am totally not sold on Ragetrack, but I think I know how to make the others work as a series.

The Future is Weird

Last night the storms sweeping across Brisbane took out my power around 8:00 PM. I nodded and continued working on my laptop for another three hours after that, occasionally pausing to check the internet or chat with friends via messenger and my cell phone’s 4G connection. I could have kept working for another four or five hours, just on the raw laptop power floating around my house.

Somewhere in the middle of that, I realised I no longer owned a battery-powered torch. Eight to ten hours of computer time after a power failure, but no light.

The future is fucking weird.

Also, highly appropriate, given that I kicked off a new project yesterday that is all what would happen to society if dinosaurs came back? and Where in Rockhampton would you hole up to wait out the dino-pocalypse?

The logical answers have no place in the book, of course, because once you start with the phrase dino-pocalypse you can pretty much assume that science and logic are irrelevant. But it’s still interesting to think about.

The Sunday Circle: What Are You Working On This Week?

Sunday Circle Banner

The Sunday Circle is the weekly check-in where I ask the creative-types who follow this blog to weigh in about their goals, inspirations, and challenges for the coming week. The logic behind it can be found here. Want to be involved? It’s easy – just answer three questions in the comments or on your own blog (with a link in the comments here, so that everyone can find them).

After that, throw some thoughts around about other people’s projects, ask questions if you’re so inclined. Be supportive above all.

Then show up again next Sunday when the circle updates next, letting us know how you did on your weekly project and what you’ve got coming down the pipe in the coming week (if you’d like to part of the circle, without subscribing to the rest of the blog, you can sign-up for reminders via email here).

MY CHECK-IN

What am I working on this week?

I’m sent a story out to beta last week and got comments back, so my main goals this week are revising the story draft and getting my thesis synopsis together ahead of a meeting with my supervisor this Friday (and submitting it for assessment a week after that).

What’s inspiring me this week?

Man, so much theory and critical work could get slot right now, but let’s go with John Thompson’s Merchants of Culture. I’m barely a third of the way through Thompson’s examination of the publishing industry, but his break-down of the types of capital at work in publishing immediately got me thinking about how useful it would have been two or three years ago when I wanted to try and explain those concepts in classes. There is a strong possibility there will be blog posts in the next few weeks based upon my reading.

What part of my project an I avoiding?

Finally feel like I got a grip on everything over the last week, so I’m finally looking at the content of what I’m doing instead of my general need to be doing it in this section. In this case, I’ve got a short story revision that I’ve been doing for the last few days that hit a stall point when I realised that sitting down and revising it further would both be a) time-consumingly challenging to do, and b) increasingly likely to send it spiralling out past a usable word count where I can get the thing published. I’ve been reluctant to go back to it for about 48 hours now, and I’ll probably let it slide for much longer if I don’t actually think through those two problems.

Routines

My friend Allan has a useful theory about running weekly games when you’re in your all in your forties and people have lives: you don’t run the game for the people who aren’t there; you run the game for the people who show up. You don’t cancel because someone can’t attend, you game regardless and people will either start showing up or fall by the wayside.

It works incredibly well when you are the one who shows up every week, less effectively when the person running the game is the one most prone to flaking out.

Tonight, I’m running a session of my superhero campaign for the first time in about eight months. It fell off the weekly to-do list months ago, right about the time I started loosing grip on 2016, and by the time I was coherent enough to actually think about running sessions many of the players were doing other things with their Thursday nights.

I kept waiting for a clear spot in everyone’s schedule to restart, but no such spot exists. Even now, multiple people are going to disappear on holidays before the month is out. One of them will move house. We will spend the first few weeks working around absences.

Honestly, the only time February is good for is me, but…

Look, this week has been the first where I felt like I’m settling into a new normal. I’ve gotten things done for GenreCon; I’m writing regularly for the first time in months; I’ve answered my email and maintained my systems and I haven’t lived on pizza and chips and ungodly amounts of carbonated beverages.

This is the month where I add in habits that need maintaining, otherwise I the new normal calcifies and becomes the new routine until something comes along to break things up.

And so, tonight, we game.

Transit

This was going to be a post about productivity systems and white boards, but I spent yesterday playing chess with my dad instead. Now I’m on a train, with the backpack that serves as my mobile office on my shoulder, pondering what the best use of the five hours a week that will now be spent on trains as I commute to and from uni or the QWC offices.

Right now, the optimal use of this time is writing a blog post, so I can erase that off the to-do list.

And, really, this is the point of productivity systems and white boards. They aren’t a magic trick that will make you especially awesome, even if the shiny allure that draws you in is the promise of being like yourself, but better. 

They’re a tool for cutting down resistance that talks you out of doing things – oh, I won’t blog on the train, the phone keyboard isn’t built for it – and makes you aware of everything you’re trying to do and the time you’ve got available to get it done.

It’s the latter that’s important. A to-do list gives you the former, but it doesn’t provide context. It doesn’t aknowledge the limitations of when things get done.

Today, and in most weekdays on the horizon, I have a half hour commute to and from.

That’s enough time to do things, if I stay aware of what can be done in those moments

The Sunday Circle: What Are You Working On This Week?

Sunday Circle Banner

The Sunday Circle is the weekly check-in where I ask the creative-types who follow this blog to weigh in about their goals, inspirations, and challenges for the coming week. The logic behind it can be found here. Want to be involved? It’s easy – just answer three questions in the comments or on your own blog (with a link in the comments here, so that everyone can find them).

After that, throw some thoughts around about other people’s projects, ask questions if you’re so inclined. Be supportive above all.

Then show up again next Sunday when the circle updates next, letting us know how you did on your weekly project and what you’ve got coming down the pipe in the coming week (if you’d like to part of the circle, without subscribing to the rest of the blog, you can sign-up for reminders via email here).

MY CHECK-IN

What am I working on this week?

Still working on the short story for last week, after getting distracted by PhD research through most of last week (it took about eight hours after getting library access for me to revert to a person who paces the length of the house, arguing with theorists and gesturing wildly). I did manage to pull the story draft and identify the major issues I was having during write-club last week, which means there are core problems that need to be solved in this week’s writing time.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I went to see the Amanda Palmer gig at the Brisbane Powerhouse last night. It was an incredibly uneven show compared to other Palmer shows I’ve seen, but what was inspiring about it was less the content and more the approach.

The show ended up being about three hours long, and swung from oh god, really to oh, this is fucking awesome along the way. Which actually makes it a pretty good microcosm of an artistic career, where the good stuff tends to come from doing less-good things and dedicating yourself to the long haul gives the really brilliant stuff a chance to show up.

Couple that with my general fascination with the way Palmer interacts with her fans, and it makes for a really interesting show.

What part of my project an I avoiding?

Still struggling with what my schedule should look like now that I’m not working around a day-job. I haven’t really divided up writing and research elements of my uni project yet, which means it’s incredibly easy to suddenly find myself going down a rabbit hole of productive distraction from the task at hand.

This week is ostensibly a little more controlled than last week was, with a better understanding of what my schedule will look like, so I’m going to try assigning some dedicated writing and research blocks that will at least let me know how accurate my guesses are.

The Sunday Circle: What Are You Working On This Week?

Sunday Circle Banner

The Sunday Circle is the weekly check-in where I ask the creative-types who follow this blog to weigh in about their goals, inspirations, and challenges for the coming week. The logic behind it can be found here. Want to be involved? It’s easy – just answer three questions in the comments or on your own blog (with a link in the comments here, so that everyone can find them).

After that, throw some thoughts around about other people’s projects, ask questions if you’re so inclined. Be supportive above all.

Then show up again next Sunday when the circle updates next, letting us know how you did on your weekly project and what you’ve got coming down the pipe in the coming week (if you’d like to part of the circle, without subscribing to the rest of the blog, you can sign-up for reminders via email here).

MY CHECK-IN

What am I working on this week?

Still working on the draft for Float, although after a slow week of writing I’m not entirely sure where I’m up to. Also trying to get a short story done.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I picked up a game called Inside for the Playstation, based on it showing up on some lists when I went and looked for seminal computer computer games that show what’s going on in gaming today.

Inside is a remarkably simple game in terms of gameplay, but my god, the creators to manipulate mood and feed it into a fairly basic platform/puzzle game is incredible. It’s fairly low-key horror, so it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea – I found myself getting squicked out by how weirdly graphic the death scenes were. If course, I also admired the fidelity of design that went into those scenes, ’cause the game is seriously beautiful, and they’d earned enough trust that I figured those scenes would pay off

What part of my project am I avoiding? 

The usual: I need to get back into a regular sleep routine, and I need to start building my writing routine up again. I’ve got some serious end-of-years blues starting up, and I’d prefer not to let the heat take away my writing practice like it usually does in summer.

The Sunday Circle: What Are You Working On This Week?

Sunday Circle Banner

The Sunday Circle is the weekly check-in where I ask the creative-types who follow this blog to weigh in about their goals, inspirations, and challenges for the coming week. The logic behind it can be found here. Want to be involved? It’s easy – just answer three questions in the comments or on your own blog (with a link in the comments here, so that everyone can find them).

After that, throw some thoughts around about other people’s projects, ask questions if you’re so inclined. Be supportive above all.

Then show up again next Sunday when the circle updates next, letting us know how you did on your weekly project and what you’ve got coming down the pipe in the coming week (if you’d like to part of the circle, without subscribing to the rest of the blog, you can sign-up for reminders via email here).

MY CHECK-IN

What am I working on this week?

Finished up the first act arc of Float last week, so I’m going to spend this week attempting to get down the first sequence of the second act in rough draft. Maybe five or six scenes, all up, plus continuing work on some short-story rewrites.

What’s inspiring me this week?

To no-one’s surprise: Luke Cage. I’m not sure if it’s the best of the marvel Netflix shows, but it’s definitely the smartest they’ve done so far. Cage draws on some pretty cheesy source material, but it does a great job of updating the Blaxploitation origins of the character to the 21st century. Cottonmouth gets the best villain introduction they’ve done since Kingpin in season 1 of Daredevil, complete with a scene that is just magically shot.

Also, a whole lot of Misty Knight, and Clair Temple.

What part of my project an I avoiding?

I’m meant to be finding a certain amount of time each day to focus on writing, but Saturday’s are proving to be the hard ones on this. I need to sit down and figure out how to get myself working on the weekends, so I don’t succumb to the temptation of goofing off.