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

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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 playing catch-up this week, since it’s the last week of my holidays. There’s  a bunch of small writing tasks that have stacked up while I was focused on bigger projects, so I’m going to clear the off the decks before I go back to work.

What’s inspiring me this week? Mozart in the Jungle. Phenomenal performance by Gael Garcia Bernal, great plotting, phenomenal casting. It’s an Amazon series about the world behind orchestras which heads off into some surprising directions.

What part of my project an I avoiding? My sleep routine has fallen apart over the last week, which tends to have some pretty catastrophic knock-on effects for my writing. I really need to put some concerted effort into re-setting all my habits in the coming week.

  22 comments for “The Sunday Circle: What Are You Working On This Week?

  1. 10/01/2016 at 9:47 AM

    What am I working on this week? Now that I’ve survived Christmas and the inevitable post-Christmas cold, I’m back to the queerish PNR. Actual words have been committed this week! Chapter Five is moving on! Ridiculously, now that I’m on a scene I was looking forward to, I’m a bit hesitant to put words on the screen. Performance anxiety, I guess.

    What’s inspiring me this week? Final Fantasy VII (ahh, nostalgia) and a particular, largely irrelevant bit of my hero’s backstory, which is obsessing me for some reason. (In the grand scheme of things it’s not totally irrelevant, it’s illuminating various bits of his character that I find interesting, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t need page time in the book. So I’m curious why I’m obsessed with it.)

    What part of my project am I avoiding? The actual writing words bit. Again. I’m beginning to feel like a broken record, a bit. Also one of my projects for the new year is really to get a proper routine sorted, one that includes writing as a regular thing, and not something that only happens at my weekly writing meet-up. I struggle with (read: loathe) routines. Or something. Anyway, that’s something I’m avoiding, too…

    • 10/01/2016 at 10:18 PM

      Hooray on words happening – that’s awesome! And the nervousness about the scene you’ve been anticipating makes sense from over here: now that this shiny toy is finally here, what if you break it? (at least, I’m guessing that’s what the internal monologue might sound like?

      Would it help to give yourself permission to write a crappy first draft of the scene just to get it out on paper, or is that telling you what you already know?

      Was wondering as well, with regards to word count: while ritual might rub you the wrong way, what about setting slowly increasing word counts, starting at something easily achievable to help unpick that avoidance?

    • 10/01/2016 at 10:42 PM

      Have you heard about the Final Fantasy VII remake, BTW?

    • maggiedot
      10/01/2016 at 11:38 PM

      I hear you on scene-fright about a favored section! In the past when I’ve hit a scene like this that I really, really, really wanted to get right, I’ve found it helpful to spend a chunk of time (like, 30 minutes-1hr) listening to music that fits the mood/tone of the scene, and then just thinking about it for a while. Really mentally mapping it out so that I’m even more psyched about it and have a better feel for the flow of the scene. (You may do this already, too, in which case, I second Ken’s suggestion: give it a go, and if you hate it, at least you’ll know what you *don’t* want to do on your second attempt! I’ve found that helpful, too, because sometimes the way I *thought* a scene would work best actually falls apart on the writing of it, in which case, I’ve saved myself the worry-time by realizing that and being able to reimagine it from a different angle.)

      Good luck! I hope it click into place soon! 🙂

      • maggiedot
        10/01/2016 at 11:40 PM

        KEVIN, not Ken. Sheesh, I’m not awake yet. >.<

  2. 10/01/2016 at 10:08 AM

    This week is pretty much going to be all about clearance. The past week has seen a slow but steady cull of my previous career/life, which has been pretty exhausting.
    Yes, the storage unit and all contents within are going to be moved on Tuesday. Which means a sorting of donation/recycle, trash or keep process for a lot of stuff.
    The books are also part of this but a slightly longer term plan (ie before new semester commences).

    This week, not expecting anything on the word front.

    I may or may not be inspired by all the new energy and head spaced cleared (though exhaustion may overwhelm me to lose the inspiration).

    • 10/01/2016 at 3:13 PM

      I hope the cleared space is everything you need, Nicky! Can you build in some exhaustion-time before needing to be creative?

      • 13/01/2016 at 10:23 AM

        I always build in exhaustion-time/rest days (joys of ongoing illnesses). It’s the not beating myself up for some extended versions of this I have to conquer (you’d think after years of dealing with it LOL). But yes, I have given myself permission and the luxury of no grown-up/real deadlines to meet 🙂

    • 10/01/2016 at 10:27 PM

      I can completely relate on how draining that is. I’ve just gotten through the work of a full sweep across everything to start the year myself.

      Two things that might help with the sorting/culling:

      1) Use large boxes to categorise stuff as much as possible (eg. ‘trash’, ‘e-waste’, ‘ask about’, or boxes for a particular room) That way you can do most of the work from one physical space, and limit draining decision fatigue around exactly where something needs to go until later, and just worrying about a broad category that it fits in.

      2) Maggie had a great suggestion last week for something similar, breaking down time into 40 minutes work / 20 minutes procrastination/fun. Like you’ve already flagged, the work ahead is mentally exhausting.

      Looking forward to hearing how things go on the other side of it all, and apologies if any of that advice is blatantly obvious.

      • 13/01/2016 at 10:27 AM

        Thank you for the tips. Most of the storage unit (*cough*my half*cough*) was already organised in that way, so it was keep/toss.

        The librarian/archivist in me has this well and truly under control – on both the clearing/sorting and even the culling. To the point of getting the other half to consider how he wants me to store the books ie author/genre/topic/media tie-ins etc.

        Now we’re up to the Great Book Cull – which is made *slightly* easier on the decision front because we have a relative setting up a community library and needs books.

    • maggiedot
      10/01/2016 at 11:48 PM

      Oh yes–for the clearing out, definitely try the 40/20 if you have time. It really helps keep the energy generally up (and therefore, may keep you a little less exhausted by the end of the day!). Also, my mother recently read a book about reducing belongings, and it had an interesting concept: if you pick up the thing and ask, “Does this make me happy?” (a silly, but focused gut-test, really)–the answer then dictates if it’s something that should be kept or not. This may not be relevant in your situation, but I’ve found it very useful in culling a massive book collection (and other assorted objects, furniture, etc.) for moving. (Previously, I’ve hauled headboards for bedframes I no longer own, and a dresser for which we no longer had the drawers all the way across the US before realizing I 1) didn’t need them, and 2) didn’t even like them enough to keep most of their parts! ^_^) But you may already be far better at culling than I am, in which case, you can get this done! Just one thing at a time. 🙂

      As for not feeling creative afterwards, I’m a huge fan of giving my creative self time off if needed, but if you’d *like* to get work done, have you tried setting a timer for some small amount of time, maybe 5 or 10 minutes? Sometimes, that’s all I can manage on an exhausted day, but sometimes just getting started will jumpstart something great. Otherwise, at least give yourself the time you need to recuperate! ^_^

      • 13/01/2016 at 10:31 AM

        Thank you! I had heard of the Japanese lady’s technique (I’ve forgotten her name to hand as I type). Be very useful for when it comes to the more “memento” style things. This clean out was as much stuff that was placed in storage when we combined our two houses (the “what if” we don’t work out thing…..we’re now married nearly 4 years lol).

        We had also been spending the past week getting the stuff sorted into recycle/donate/bin/keep piles before we even hired the ute. Yesterday we had to just go through “all the heaps” – which just a lot of stuff (and exhausting in Bris Vegas’ humidity & heat – but no rain so yay).

        On the creative front – I’ve been battling ideas of what “others” say “is the way” and have after a few years of illness had to re-find my feet. Too exhausted (asleep by 8-8.30pm) means I just let the mermaid swim in my subconscious – she’s waited a few years. What’s a few more days/weeks LOL.

        If I find it tricky, I may well instigate a smaller/shorter version of the ‘pomodoro’ technique. Thank you for the reminder! 🙂

  3. 10/01/2016 at 3:09 PM

    What am I working on this week? Reducing a short story to about half of its current wordcount while making it work. Editing the Regency manuscript. Getting through the admin and follow-up for some upcoming art projects.

    What’s inspiring me this week? I was trying to watch some shows, but accidentally got distracted by the wonderful, terrible Memoirs of Harriette Wilson, courtesan and mistress to just about everyone in Regency London, and basically a slightly sweeter and much more successful Lydia Bennett. This is the “publish or be damned” book (Wellington, who said that, and Brummel were among her court). It’s frequently hilarious and occasionally touching, with the oddest, charmingly human moments. It’s on Project Gutenberg: Memoirs.
    Also by general creative life, including a backyard concert just down the street on Friday night and new musician friends.

    What part of my project am I avoiding? I’m developing my time management skills, and art is pottering along, but writing needs a more concerted effort – it’s been something I’ve done previously in the hours which couldn’t be used for other things, and now all hours are at my disposal. But January is about working out when things happen naturally and when I need to use force of will.

    • 10/01/2016 at 10:32 PM

      Much love for the fact that you feel bedded down and surrounded by a creative life. That’s got to feel wonderfully nourishing! (and yay for musician friends!)

      Regarding structuring the day, if you haven’t read it before you might find this useful food for thought: http://99u.com/articles/15882/manage-your-day-to-day-the-new-book-from-99u-is-now-on-sale

    • maggiedot
      10/01/2016 at 11:55 PM

      That memoir sounds fantastic. I may have to check it out! 🙂

    • maggiedot
      11/01/2016 at 12:06 AM

      What am I working on this week?Putting together a new flash story (and hoping it’ll actually be a flash story, after last week’s which exploded out into 4.7k–oops), and continuing edits on the novel Draft Two. Last week I didn’t get as much time put into the novel due to the short story’s overflow, so this week, I’m going to be a bit more ruthless on what idea I choose for the flash story to keep it…you know, actually flash… 🙂

      What’s inspiring me this week? The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo about Alexandre Dumas’ father, General Alex Dumas. The man is just…amazing! Plus, I’m learning a lot about the French Revolution I didn’t know previously, and I’ve got a morbid fascination with revolutions (particularly from my background in East Asian Studies with a focus on Chinese history–the Cultural Revolution is a fascinating chunk of history I often return to, so it’s interesting to see essentially the equivalent happening in France in the 1700s). But seriously, I knew so little about race relations in France at this time period, and it’s really interesting. Complex, fraught with conflict, but also surprisingly advanced for its time. Plus, Tom Reiss is a fantastic writer and makes history feel so accessible (and mixes in just the right amount of humor and snark), like if you could just cross the page, you could shake General Dumas’ hand. Fantastic read! (As a sided note: the audiobook of this is excellent, too!)

      What part of my project am I avoiding?There’s this one scene in the novel rewrite project that is just…it’s kicking my butt. I’ve tried a few things (changing up the characters in the scene, adding a connection to a third off-stage person that previously wasn’t there–which, actually, does have interesting repercussions, cutting parts that just didn’t work before), but I feel like I’m running up against a “fact I need” and “so much other crap I don’t” wall. I’m realizing how much I could get away with not knowing in the first draft that at this point I really *do* need to know, so I’m rather frustrated with my rough-drafting self for skimming over some of this stuff. *sighs*

      I think I just need to do some background work to build up what I know about some of these characters and their positions/jobs/roles in the conflict, and see if I can’t actually used the frustration I’m feeling about this scene to fuel it, too. We’ll see, we’ll see…

      • 13/01/2016 at 10:41 AM

        I think I’m humanly incapable of short, let alone flash fiction, good luck on the new one.

        You sound like you know what you need to do to tackle that scene, when you’re ready to tackle it head on (or sideways or sneaking up from behind).

    • 13/01/2016 at 10:33 AM

      That memoir definitely sounds fascinating.

      You’ll find your new rhythm and will learn where/when to place writing into that mix. Always “takes a minute” to recalibrate when a big change in routine occurs.

  4. 10/01/2016 at 10:41 PM

    What am I working on this week?
    This week I’m working on:

    a small conceptual update for a commercial video game project
    recording a large role for a non-commercial video game project
    recording a short explainer video voice over

    …and happily/scarily, once that’s done I’ll have my backlog of work for other people done with for the moment, but I’ve got PLENTY of my own tasks to keep me busy.

    What’s inspiring me this week?
    Digging deeper on Cyberpunk. Still loving it. Without turning it into too much work, writing some short words around the art I’m consuming here: http://blog.kevinpowe.com/tagged/cyberpunkhomework Watched Blade Runner again recently, and that is a timeless film. Gorgeous score, incredible cinematography, beautiful world and story.

    Also, getting out there and talking with and enjoying the art of other creatives. Heading along to a spoken word gig in February which I’m super-excited about, because hearing live and vibrant narration from other creatives? HELL YES.

    What part of my project am I avoiding?
    Pretty much everything except daily study is firing on all pistons, so I need to make sure I dedicate the time for this each day, otherwise the practice will stagnate and so will I.

    • maggiedot
      11/01/2016 at 12:11 AM

      Just checked out some of the films on your Tumbler, and I’m going to have to check out Automata. That sounds fantastic–I’ve been so out of the loop movie-wise, I’m always on the hunt for new stuff.

    • 13/01/2016 at 10:35 AM

      Woot for getting through backlog – that will also free you up head-space wise to tacking the “avoiding” areas. I find when I have stuff like that for others getting a routine for my own stuff kind of goes sideways (to another alternate universe at times).

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