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).


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.

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

  1. 13/08/2017 at 11:25 AM

    Peter: how did you find Cal Newport’s writing in general? I found him pretty insufferable in So Good They Can’t Ignore You – maybe it’s a misplaced instinct towards humility, but I got ticked off with him using himself constantly as the example.

    Regarding the banner, if you can shoot the Photoshop file my way I’m happy to update it for you.

    • 17/08/2017 at 9:16 AM

      He’s like Steven Pressfield for me – I spend a lot of time and effort filtering out the tone and the batshit lunacy in order to get at the stuff that’ useful. Newport dedication to his evangelical narrative hook irritates the hell out of me, but he comes out of academia and his advice for actually delivering in that space is pretty good.

  2. 13/08/2017 at 11:38 AM

    What am I working on this week?
    This week I’m closed up shop for the first of two weeks of skilling up and self-development. Illness last week has bumped a couple of critical recordings to this week by necessity, but other than that, I’m focusing on reading and skilling up. I’m working through Self Management for Actors at the moment, and going to move on to Wonderbook after that. It’s. Pure. Bliss. At the moment, I’m working slowly through my CRM system and getting rid of cruft. I’m also meeting with a fitness coach this week to start putting together a routine I can work through daily to build strength and flexibility for motion capture/performance capture work.

    What’s inspiring me this week?
    Pirates pirates OMGPIRATES. I’ve been listening to The Pirate History Podcast this week (pretty much mainlining it) and I’m loving the amount of world history I’m learning about how the stage was set for the Golden Age of Piracy. (spoilers: international politics and corporations)

    What action do I really need to take?
    This week, it’s staying disciplined and building routines back up after the last couple of weeks being a bit of a mess. (last week was a sick bub with conjunctivitis and a nasty cough) I need to commit the necessary time and energy for those recordings to put my best foot forward, and between those two it’s pretty much it.

    • 13/08/2017 at 6:27 PM

      “Cruft”- what a great word, Kevin. I’ve never heard it before but I immediately got its context. Spending a couple of weeks focusing on upskilling sounds fantastic. How have you made decisions about what to focus on, and how to upskill?

      • 13/08/2017 at 7:28 PM

        Great question! I started by looking through the long, looong spreadsheet of books I had listed ‘to read’ at some point, and culled that down to what I thought was a fairly achievable list (if slightly optimistic) for the next quarter. From there, it’s basically moving from one book to the next as efficiently as I can. The idea is that each book in the list over here is solving a particular problem:

        – Self Management for the Actor – improving strategy around career management
        – Voice and the Actor – improving voice skills and my grasp of theory outside of what the vocal coach provides
        – Respect for Acting – reading a text developing acting skills recommended by a peer who is further along in their own journey
        – Wonderbook – developing writing/narrative skills for personal projects
        – Stop Saying You’re Fine – self-development to help get rid of some bad self-deprecating habits, and light up the room more
        – The Whole Brain Child – removing some of the current frustration around parenting by improving toolset
        – After the Future – following interest in cyberpunk
        – Under the Black Flag / A General History of Pirates – following interest in pirates

        and slide:ology and presentationzen for developing skills around presenting information, as skills development for video content.

        I’ve no idea how far I’ll get, as Self Management for Actors alone suggests a LOT of side activities that are time-intensive, but that’s the general idea. Choosing the next book with a combination of priority & whim.

  3. 13/08/2017 at 6:29 PM

    That’s great that you’ve found more time to work on Project Beeman, Peter. When you say “detailed plans” to free up time, exactly how detailed are they? Is it a bullet point to-do list or something more substantial?

    • 17/08/2017 at 9:18 AM

      It’s a two-page spread in an A4 journal, Timeline for the day goes down the left-hand side, and the rest of the left page is a list of tasks and goals based on the various project areas I’m working on that day. The right side of the spread is devoted to thinking through challenges, making a list of anything I need to talk about with people I’m interacting with on a particular day, and a post-game report at the end of the day where I evaluate what went right and what went wrong.

    • 13/08/2017 at 7:35 PM

      Kudos for crossing the rubicon on what’s happening next – hope that the full time work treats you well!

      One thing to consider as you move over to that new routine might be how you could create a mental buffer between the work day and your own writing time, especially as you have such a short commute, which normally provides that transition for people… maybe a 5 or 10 minute walk enjoying the tail end of the day? (Or is this the point behind the cup of tea on getting home?)

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