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).


What am I working on this week?

I’m rebuilding the novella plan at the moment, after realizing that it’s somewhat counter-intuitive to have a stranger-comes-to-town story where the stranger leaves town in the second act.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I picked up Joan Didion’s South and West because it was basically raw notebook material rather than finished work. It’s basically daily notes as Didion travels through the American south, for a book that never never ended up getting written, followed by some short notes for a book about California. I’m a huge fan of Didion’s essays in general, and the clarity of the notes is pretty incredible.

What part of my project an I avoiding?

The combination of Easter and university holidays have largely resulted in me becoming fairly antisocial and feral. The coming week is going to be fairly heavy on social events, and I am totally not prepared for the shift in gears and the impact that’ll probably have on getting writing/research done.

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

  1. 23/04/2017 at 9:56 AM

    Re: your novella, I kind of love narrative fake-outs / false protagonists if they’re satisfying? Like, Psycho does it so, so well with the Marion Crane character. Not sure if that’s what you’re after, but it could work!

    My Sunday Circle is here.

    • 23/04/2017 at 10:13 AM

      This was less narrative fake-out and more mission drift. 🙂

    • 23/04/2017 at 12:57 PM

      Go Team Horror!

      If splitting the focus between editing and new projects isn’t an issue for you, can you define concrete goals around editing for the week to stop that chatter in the back of your head about what you ‘should’ be doing? (just wondering if that might help)

    • maggiedot
      23/04/2017 at 11:49 PM

      Oh, and I wanted to tell you: that article on Rachel Dolezal was AMAZING. Thanks for sharing that on your Friday Finds!

    • 24/04/2017 at 9:59 AM

      Oh yeah! I love narrative fakeouts by way of stunt-casting in films. Like when Gabriel Byrne pops up in Enemy of the State and purely because of movie-making logic you’re thinking “Oh, this character is going to be important!”

  2. 23/04/2017 at 12:53 PM

    Do you have something that works for you as a way of charging batteries between events, Pete? Make sure you don’t run yourself down too hard with the socialising, especially if it’s a definite change of pace for you from how things have been.

    • 23/04/2017 at 4:53 PM

      Ordinarily, yes,but the next two weeks are basically a perfect storm of commitments and deadlines that reduce recharge time to zero. By this time next week, I will be highly upset that bourbon is no longer an option 🙂

      • 24/04/2017 at 9:55 AM

        Ah, poot. Maybe blast your ear worm du jour during transit times between things? Even five minutes timed out from the world completely might help with the overwhelmed feeling…

        • 24/04/2017 at 9:56 AM

          Transit times are when I’m reading papers for the thesis 🙂

  3. 23/04/2017 at 1:11 PM

    I’M BACK! Last week was a bit full-on, so I wasn’t able to get around to the circle until too late in the week to be practical.

    What am I working on this week?
    Film project is almost finished – so hopefully closing that out. Progressing the commercial demo to next steps, spending some time on lead generation, and also looking at a potential project around videos talking about efficacy.

    What’s inspiring me this week?
    A few things. I bumped into this video by Henry Rollins on 10 Rules for Success, which has inspired a doubling-down on grit and application, and looking for the next set of gaps/waste in the week to plug to be more effective.

    I’ve also started Stephen King’s Danse Macabre, which I’m absolutely loving. I stalled a bit on Wonderbook due to work commitments, but I’m also digging that. I’m starting to get the itch to make something tangible again – something narrative-focused where I’m not beholden to other collaborators, so starting to think about a series of short audio diaries – definitely inspired by listening to The Magnus Archives, as well as recent tinkering with sound design. Just looking for a solid way to frame them in a premise. Hence, both of these books are absolute soul food at the moment.

    I’m normally fairly immune to nostalgia, but I’ve been hit with a fairly strong wave of that pointless YOU’VE WASTED YOUR YOUTH voice that crops up from time to time. Particularly in the tune of TOO MUCH TIME FOLLOWING OTHER PEOPLE’S RULES JOYLESSLY. So I’m trying to lean into that somehow and see if I can throw it into the audio diary project and burn it off without it coming off as bad teen poetry. (hence the need for a solid framework for the fiction)

    When I used to create convention roleplaying games, I found the process extremely useful as a cheap form of ersatz therapy, burning off parts of psyche I didn’t want any more. Actually pretty jazzed to try and invoke that process again.

    What part of my project am I avoiding?
    There are a couple of key steps I could be taking at the moment to generate more leads that are taking backseat to what feels like higher priority tasks. A little leery of sinking too much time and energy into passion projects when I need to be paying bills.

    Phew. That was probably a lot longer than it needed to be. Thanks for taking the time to read. I’ll be back to respond to other comments later this evening, and Tuesday after that.

    • 23/04/2017 at 2:44 PM

      Ah Kevin, most of us waste our youth, and those that don’t, don’t know what they’ve missed!

      • 23/04/2017 at 8:00 PM

        Yeah, completely understand that it’s a fairly universal feeling. It just feels like a pointless waste of cycles when it pops up (because no matter what else, the past is writ in stone) that I’m looking at ways to try and silence it. 🙂

    • 23/04/2017 at 4:56 PM

      Transforming Henry Rollins into a video in motivational series just strikes me as *so incredibly wrong* on a deep level. Not because he isn’t motivating, but…man. It’s like John Lydon selling butter or William Burroughs selling Nike sneakers levels of cognitive dissonance..

      • 23/04/2017 at 6:53 PM

        Hrm. Admittedly I’m not a huge Black Flag fan (I dig his solo stuff and spoken word more) but that seems like buying into the myth rather than the work of Rollins. He’s never struck me as anything other than furious, focused and intelligent.

        The video is more along the Stephen King “Just write FFS” style of motivation rather than woo woo head games. Hustle. Hustle harder.

        • 23/04/2017 at 7:51 PM

          Furious, focused and intelligent sums up Rolllins perfectly Did either of you see the interview Marc Fennell did with him on The Feed last year? It was fantastic. Check it out if you can, it’s only around 5-7 mins.

          • 23/04/2017 at 7:55 PM

            I didn’t! Thanks for the recommendation!

        • 23/04/2017 at 9:40 PM

          Had Rollins put it together himself, I would have nodded. Having someone remix interviews into an obviously commercial YouTube channel in the Tim Ferris mold is what throws me.

          • 24/04/2017 at 9:07 AM

            The lifting of other content is a bit gross, yes. But the message remains the same – it’s the same sort of message you get out of just watching say, his Big Think video or other interviews in isolation. It’s just an aggregate.

            But I’m not a Henry Rollins expert, so I’ll stop counterpointing. 😉

    • maggiedot
      23/04/2017 at 11:53 PM

      Ditto what Ree said! I think everybody thirty and older probably has this feeling from time to time (I certainly do!). But the main thing to remember is that although it feels like those years were wasted from the perspective of hindsight, they got you where you are now, and without them, you might not have the creative revelations as to what you want your life to look like now. It’s just some stepping stones, and like you said: the stepping stones ahead of you are the ones that matter more at this point! 😀

      • 24/04/2017 at 9:57 AM

        Thanks for the kind words, Maggie! I do understand that on a rational level. I’ve probably explained this poorly (or it might be that the goal is an unrealistic one) but the challenge for me this week is looking at ways to try and silence that feeling, at least for a time. Hence folding it into a creative narrative.

  4. 23/04/2017 at 2:37 PM

    I hear you on social events, Peter. But if you’re going to the science fiction book club at Avid Reader tomorrow night we can be grumpy and isolationist together 🙂

    • 23/04/2017 at 8:02 PM

      PSST: Link is borked!

      • maggiedot
        23/04/2017 at 11:55 PM

        It’s here! Ree’s Sunday Circle

        • 24/04/2017 at 10:03 AM

          Hope the novel-writing goes well, Ree!

          Do you have any books you’ve really loved on neuroscience you’d recommend? (I loved Your Brain At Work and Delusions of Gender as a reference point, but I’m not sure if that’s more watered-down than what you dig into)

  5. karinacoldrick
    23/04/2017 at 8:10 PM

    Ree, could be my computer (I’m running a personal hotspot via my phone), but your link wasn’t working…

    I agree with everything said about Henry Rollins – quite extraordinary to see live and yet “motivational” is not the adjective that comes to mind when I think of him. Also, I hear you Kevin, on passion projects, and yet – to not do them is to lose your bliss. The balance is the trick.

    What am I working on this week?
    New scenes in the new work. The Fun Flimsy is now a side project for the time being.

    What’s inspiring me this week?
    We say Druid Theatre Company’s take on ‘Waiting for Godot’ and much as I am NOT a fan of absurdism, it does show how compelling dialogue can be, if delivered well. We saw Sir Ian Mackellen perform this a few years ago and it was a morose production, very real with 70+ year olds playing 70+ year olds. By contrast, hearing Irish accents play quintessentially Irish dialogue was transformative in terms of both context and meaning – and the energy of the Druid actors lifted the despair into dark comedy.

    What part of my project am I avoiding?
    It’s a timing thing this week. I have a karate belt grading on Wednesday and much to practise – this system enumerates whole sequences of movement and I have to know the numbers by rote. Writing will be squeezed in until after Thursday, alas.

    • maggiedot
      23/04/2017 at 11:58 PM

      Break a leg on the karate belt grading! It’s has it’s own stresses and pressures, but it’s exciting, too! (I did Kung Fu back in the day–stressful but so satisfying!) ^_^ And sounds like taking a step back from the Fun Flimsy is maybe just what it needs for now. You’ve put a huge amount of time and energy into it, and sometimes a project (like dough!) needs to just rest for a bit. And maybe during that resting, it’ll develop some useful insights, too!

    • 24/04/2017 at 9:53 AM

      Good luck for the grading!

      Interesting to hear a different take on Ian McKellen’s Godot performance, too – I found it grim, but still humorous. Would have loved to see the lighter take via Druid Theatre Company!

      Hope the writing goes well later in the week for you!

  6. maggiedot
    23/04/2017 at 11:48 PM

    Belated Sunday Circle this week, but at least I got to it!

    @Peter: Best of luck with the story redirect and with all the socializing going on this week!
    My Sunday Circle is here, and I’ll make sure I get to everybody to comment either today or tomorrow!

    • 24/04/2017 at 10:08 AM

      Two quick questions – apologies if I’ve asked this before, but how do you track issues when you hit them and get them out of your head while writing, so your brain doesn’t keep throwing them up?

      Also regarding audiobooks – is there a point in the day you could make space for a short walk (say, 20-30 minutes) outside? If art’s really jazzing your brain at the moment, the visual stimulus alone might be something you dig. Only suggest that because post-move, I’ve now got a 15 minute walk or so from the train station, which I’m finding really useful if I just let the brain wander…

      • maggiedot
        24/04/2017 at 11:36 PM

        That’s a good question! At the moment, I’ve got pages of notes trying to puzzle out the answer, but in the end, I’ll probably just jot a short note on my printouts to come back to the issue in the next version. I’m not sure how good I am at keeping things from spinning in my head, but at a certain point I can get rather bull-headed and just plow forward.

        As for the audiobooks and walking–I used to! But where we live, the sidewalks aren’t all that great, and a lady got hit by a truck last year while walking, so I’ve been avoiding listening to things on my usual walks. But! I just learned that a fairly local park has a nice, paved one mile loop (off street), so that might be a great place to get some walking in and listen safely!

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