Sunday Circle

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 put two major projects to bed recently, courtesy of GenreCon wrapping up and uploading The Birdcage Heart collection to all sales sites in preparation for Nov 30. That opens up a lot of tie to work on other projects, much of which will get funnelled towards the first PhD Chapter (this week’s to-do list: 3 readings and a new chapter plan after my old one was a little too ambitious) and the next Brain Jar Project, Helltrack (this week’s to-do list: nail down the voice and tone I’m looking for, figure out how to write the first race).

What’s inspiring me this week?

I picked up Nic Pizzolatto’s short story collection, Between Here and the Yellow Sea, because I figured I’d need something post-GenreCon that got me inspired to write. It’s definitely delivered on that front – Pizzolatto may be better known for True Detective these days, but I first encountered him through his debut novel, Galveston, and this delivers the same taut, controlled narrative voice. 

What action do I need to take?

I need to schedule some downtime this week, because my system is still in con-mode where I feel like I should be doing everything and it’s really easy to keep rolling with the high-focus panic that engenders. The need to be productive is overwhelming, but the ability to make decisions is minimal.

It’s also a really bad idea to stay in that mode – the last week was hard on my mental health – and I keep trying to over-schedule my week and do everything at once. I really need to sit down and cross half the things off my list, giving myself a chance to focus on a few tasks that will really be important rather than a hundred tasks that aren’t essential.

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?

This week is all GenreCon, all the time. Pretty much everything else takes a backseat to getting the whole thing launched on Friday and running over the weekend, which means my checkins will be pretty sparse this week and next.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I’m about halfway through Caliban’s War, the second book of The Expanse, which I picked up after going through the first book at a pretty steady clip. I love the TV version adapted from James S. A. Corey’s books, but it’s definitely one of those series where the books are the better format. Reading this and the Game of Thrones books in relatively close succession has been really useful, as I can start seeing how they both do the big, sprawling conflict with multiple stakeholders.

What action do I need to take?

Schedule breaks that are meaningful, rather than just collapsing in a heap. This week is kinda constant and it takes conscious effort to keep myself from checking email and checking hashtags for potential problems with the con, and it’s hard to set aside that impulse and get away from the conference.

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?

We’re two weeks out from GenreCon, so creative goals are largely taking a back seat to con management, answering last-minute questions, and whatever minor Brain Jar/Writing tasks I’m fitting around the edges. My main focus this week is making progress on the thesis chapter, and setting aside two hours a day to do some serious reading and annotating as I scan the key texts for quotes I need.

What’s inspiring me this week?

One of the projects I’ve got planned for 2019 or so involves writing in the late Victorian era, right up at the end of Victoria’s reign. I keep putting this one off because I can’t picture it in my head, reverting to Jane Ausen-esque regency trappings whenever I start putting the story together simply because I’ve got a lot more reference points for lie in the 1830s than I do life in 1901.

I mentioned this to my partner and she immediately started looking for stories and shows that would start to fill that gap, and this week we sat down to watch The Paradise – a BBC adaptation of Emile Zola’s Au Bonheur des Dames that moves the story over to England. The first season is an incredible amount of fun, visually spectacular and very sweet, although the second season embraces a kind of absurdity that only makes sense within the context of the show what with everyone engaging in elaborate plots.

What action do I need to take?

Self-care. And not the do-something-relaxing-and-take-care-of-yourself kind, but the somewhat harder lets-be-realistic-about-whats-fucking-you-up-and-manage-boundaries kind, since the combination of con-running, press launching, and upcoming PhD confirmation have moved me over from stressed to the kind of prolonged anxiety that means I’m spending about 70% of my waking hours in a state of fight-or-flight.

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 fleshing out my notes on the first chapter of the thesis exegesis, refining the first act of the thesis novella, and doing a deep dive on the planning for a Brain Jar project, Hell Track, where I try revising the current plan and locking things down the how-and-why of all the character actors.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I’ve been continuing my reading of the hardboiled detective cannon over the last week, picking up Mickey Spillane’s first novel, I, The Jury. The book’s copy draws a connection between Spillane’s Mike Hammer and current character’s like Jack Reacher, and there’s definitely something too that. On the other hand, it’s a book that’s incredibly problematic in its depictions of psychology and pretty much anyone who isn’t white, male, and a cop; that’s the kind of thing that gets me interested in seeing how it can be updated and subverted in other works.

What action do I need to take?

I’m rolling through the to-do list for getting Brain Jar Press off the ground and realised that I’ve been shuffling the question of a web presence down the list several times. Part of me is contemplating just keeping it as a landing page here, on my site, as an interim measure, but it will mean investigating plugins since they’re not a default option with my WordPress theme.

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?

This week I’m revising the first 5,000 words of my thesis novella, do the paperwork for the American tax system that will allow me to get Brain Jar’s books into a bunch of the sales systems, setting up the options that will allow me to sell books here on the site, and putting together a plan for the first chapter of the theory side of my thesis.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I’m doing a lot of novella reading at the moment, nailing down the structure now that my brain seems to default to a 50,000 words narrative instead of 25,000. This week’s was Cassandra Khaw’s Hammers On Bone, which is a really nice blend of hardboiled detective tropes and the weirder end of Lovecraft’s cannon. The voice and the metaphors in this one are great, and I can see why a bunch of friends rave about Khaw’s work.

Incidentally, it’s currently available as part of an ebook four-pack with three over Lovecraftian themed novellas from Tor.com. I’ve read Agents of Dreamland already, ’cause Kiernan is one of my must-buy authors and the book is outstanding, and I’m halfway through The Ballad of Black Tom and enjoying it immensely.

What action do I need to take?

Man, so many things. I sat down yesterday morning and put together a list of 34 things that need to be done before the end of October just so I don’t miss something. The biggest task is going through all my bookshelves and sorting out books that can go into storage, books that are going into storage as “unread,” and books that are definitely staying in the apartment as I start making room for my significant other to move in. A lot of the choices are about figuring out what research/reference books I’ll need when, based on the projects planned over the next year or two.

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?

The final phase of Project Countdown hits its end this week, as I finally get Brain Jar Press officially started and prepare The Birdcage Heart and Other Strange Tales so I can open it up to pre-orders on November 1 and delivery by November 30. This means finalising the copy, setting up the files for the print edition, and running through a pre-launch checklist to make sure I’ve got everything ready to go. It’s a bit of a soft launch, as I’ll be working on the press in earnest in 2018, but I wanted to get all the publication processes down before I moved on to adding new work to the mix.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I’ve been reading volume one of the Shadow Unit project, which is a bunch of professional writers getting together to create fanfic for the best TV show that doesn’t actually exist. It’s one of those interesting not-quite-crowd-funded projects that would have made a lot more sense a decade later, with the existence of Patreon, and it’s interesting to look at how they’ve implemented the concept in light of my PhD project. 

The whole series has been online for a while, but I’ve been collecting them in ebook and reading everything that way.

What action do I need to take?

I’m due to show my supervisor progress on the thesis novella this Friday, and I’ve been distracted enough that I still need to do some final drafting and rewriting before it’s in a state where I can do that. I keep putting it off because I’ll also need to cut about six to eight thousand words out of the final draft, based on the wordcounts I’m meant to be hitting, and it’s frustrating to know that before the project is done.

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?

With five weeks to go, my brain is largely focused on GenreCon logistics and planning out work for the post-GenreCon writing period so I can bounce back fast and get to work. My only writing focus this week is doing some rewrites on Project: Red ahead of meeting my supervisor.

What’s inspiring me this week?

Rewatching Game of Thrones with my partner, and I’m becoming increasingly appreciative of the way the series frames its conflicts. There is almost always a series of scenes early in the season that will be mirrored in the later parts, either playing out exactly the way someone predicted or serving as an inversion of the earlier situation. The set-up and reward is incredibly tight, and something I’m interested in stealing for my own work.

What action do I need to take?

I meant to do an October checkpoint earlier in the week, but time got away from me. I really need to sit down and map out all the important deadlines and commitments in the next month, then figure out what can be done around that. It’s particularly important now, because I get a little fuzzy-headed and distracted in the lead-up to the con and I’ve already jumped on the wrong train at least once and ended up an hour out of my way.

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?

Last week week was rough on the writing front, courtesy of two projects moving into their final quarter at the same time and the looming point where GenreCon starts to take over my thinking. I’ve hit the point where raw word count ceases to be a useful benchmark, so this week I’m taking those to projects apart and setting up a list of scenes that either need to be revised or created anew.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I finished watching the first season of The Tudors and reading/watching Game of Thrones in the same week, and it’s interesting to see the parallels between English history and the way GoT is set up. The War of the Roses has always been an obvious reference point for Martin’s series, but there was a scene in the Tudors where Henry offers the role of chancellor to Thomas Moore and the immediate parallels between the portrayal of Robert Boratheon and Ned Stark leapt out.

I also started playing X-Com 2, courtesy of Kevin’s video project, and it’s starting to get me excited about a project I’ve had in mind for a while. I won’t be starting it just yet, but I’m locking down a bunch of research and planning in advance of getting time in my schedule.

What action do I need to take?

I’ve got to put together a bunch of meta-data that’s serving as the penultimate major task before Project Countdown moves into its final phase, but I’ve been putting it off because there’s no clear list of everything that needs to be done. This week I need to move that task back a step and establish the list and word restrictions I need to put together.

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 running through the mix of projects this week.Both Project Beeman and Project Red are in the final neck this week and next, and I have to keep reminding myself that the final scenes never feel right on a first draft because they’re victim of all the problems in the earlier drafts. This means one of the big task that’s occupying my attention is fleshing out Project Beeman and doing some corrective rewrites on a bunch of scenes that are using the wrong POV or simply don’t work after the story changed around them.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I spent some quality time being introduced to The Tudors this week, where I spent a lot of time failing to recognise Henry Cavill and basically being surprised at the number of people who went on to be more recognisable in other things. It has had the unexpected consequence of getting me looking at a lot of the history, winding back to the War of the Roses for the additional context it provides.

What action do I need to take?

I’ve got three emails that really need to be sent that keep getting put off and about 500 words of copy, all of which advancing Project Countdown to the point where it hits the pointy end.

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 mentioned a whole bunch of things in Friday’s post that are still very much on the cards, but my priority for the coming week is running down the checklist of things that need to be done to get Project: Countdown finalised by the end of September.

Splitting my focus continues to work for me. Three of the five writing projects that get my time on a daily basis have deadlines within the next three months and all are ahead of where I expected to be at this point. I had a big epiphany about Project Beeman on Friday that has basically made the entire book fall into place, and set up a bunch of the things that will follow it in the months to come.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I put out a call for books with great racing descriptions this week and a friend suggested S.B. Divya’s novella Runtime which features cyborgs running ultra-marathons. It’s a neat little cyberpunk concept with some great worldbuilding, but reaction to it has been mixed as people either love it or find that it falls into that perennial critique of novellas – “it feels undercooked and I wanted more.”

I feel on the latter side, and given that I’ve written a bunch of novellas and plan on writing more, I spend a lot of time paying attention when I have that reaction in an attempt to figure out where it’s frustrating me. I’m still not sure yet, but reading reviews and comparing my reaction to other people’s is intriguing.

What action do I need to take?

That checklist of things for Project Countdown? I need to revisit it and rebuild it from scratch at this point, since I’m still working on the next-action list I put together a month ago and things have progressed much, much faster since then. I’m now at the point where there’s a bunch of vague things I know I need to do, but no clear guidelines about when or how they’re going to occur.

I also need to keep a close eye on the site’s spam list this week, as it swallowed a bunch of incoming posts from last week’s Sunday Circle.