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 packing a bunch of uni stuff into this week so I can get ahead of a few things. I’ve been kicking around rough drafts of the key terms and lit reviews I’ve got to get done over the next few weeks, and there’s a few blog drafts based on research notes in progress where I’m moving ideas off index cards.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I started watching the first season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on Netflix as a Riverdale replacement, and…holy shit. I really should hate this show, since it routinely lapses into being a musical and I loathe the genre, but the show is generally smart enough to navigate its way around the things I dislike. The songs are great, characters are…well unlikable…but kind of adorable in their awfulness.

What part of my project an I avoiding?

I’m having one of those weeks where the answer to this is probably everything, but it’s mostly a case of letting habits fall out of whack after working from home a lot more than usual. I’ve been putting off taking a close look at that for a few weeks, but I think most of the systems have wound down and need to be tightened up.

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

  1. maggiedot
    26/03/2017 at 12:28 PM

    Best of luck with the uni stuff, Peter! I think it’s something about this time of year–regardless of season–that makes pinning oneself down and focusing on any given task a little extra challenging. It’s an odd shifty time.

    Have you been watching Riverdale through a TV subscription or streaming? I used to read the comics devotedly when I was a kid, and I’m dying to see it. (A Betty & Veronica Digest was my treat for behaving while my mom did grocery shopping–I got very good at reading and walking without bumping in to people.) I’d love to see how they revamped the franchise, because even back then, the very 1950s vibe was kind of weird to me.

    My Sunday Circle is here! Early for once!

    • 26/03/2017 at 1:08 PM

      Sorry to hear about the illness, although it’s good that you’re getting better! And kudos for the progress on the redrafting!

      I know I’ve asked this before, so apologies for repeating a question, but what’s the breakdown of time in your evening? I’m wondering if there might be something you can do as a complete mental break between writing and reading that’d help flush that text fatigue?

    • 26/03/2017 at 5:08 PM

      Thank you so much for the mid-week shoutout, too!

      • 27/03/2017 at 4:32 AM

        You bet! Anytime!

        Schedule wise, it’s about like this:

        8:30-9:30pm – Come down from putting kiddo to bed, and catch up with hubby post-work and let him decompress prior to returning to work
        9:30-10:30pm – Write. On a good night, this may take me to 10:45 or 11
        10:30/11-11:45pm – Here, I usually tidy up the living room and decompress with Netflix, etc.
        11:45-12:15am – Get to bed, read for ten or fifteen minutes.

        It does just get tight, trying to squeeze much more in. Prior to devoting the time to novel-writing, I’d read or decompress earlier and then read for an hour or so, but I think I’m hitting that point now where I just can’t stretch the time much more. I may just have to resign myself that most nights I can read or I can write, but both is tough. Weekend nights I don’t write, so maybe those need to become my reading nights.

        • 29/03/2017 at 8:20 AM

          Is there any way you can combine the decompression parts of your evening? You and the hubby winding down together?

          • maggiedot
            29/03/2017 at 12:13 PM

            Unfortunately, not really–he typically scrapes together about five to six hours of sleep (he’s a medical resident, currently, so = indentured servant to the medical behemoth), so he usually falls asleep by ten-thirty (if he’s lucky enough to be done with the home-based work by then). Sometimes we watch something together before he does his notes, but then I find I’m completely drain-brained after my own decompressing. But I did get some reading snuck in this afternoon (the kindle is nice–no pages for the little guy to pull on or bookmarks to “disappear” with an evilly adorable cackle), so I may just have to try shoving reading in earlier, somewhere…

    • karinacoldrick
      26/03/2017 at 7:24 PM

      Sorry to hear you’ve been unwell. Here’s to getting to 90%+ energy levels this week!

      My reading also dropped off big time lately – it became a choice of write or read. The husband and I, however, have started this thing where we now sit in bed and read a book (no screen) about 20 mins before lights out. We feel like we’re in an American Sitcom but it does help adjust from sitting in front of a backlit screen.

      • 27/03/2017 at 4:33 AM

        That does sound lovely! The 20 minute decompression without electronics is definitely a wise idea. May have to see how to introduce that, too…

    • 27/03/2017 at 12:42 AM

      Good luck hitting the end of Act 1, Maggiedot!

      I get what you mean about struggling with staying motivated with reading- I’m struggling lately, which is kinda unforgivable as a reviewer. Short bursts of reading is a great way to get some momentum back, though! Good luck!

    • 28/03/2017 at 3:02 PM

      Streaming via Netflix, since we don’t have the CW here in Australia. The revamp is…well, very revampy. Entirely in keeping with the way the comics have been revamped over the last decade, but pushing it even further – there is definitely no 50s vibe in the TV show.

    • 28/03/2017 at 3:12 PM

      Your mileage may vary with this one, but with reading one of the things that really helps focus me when I’m feeling like I should be reading more is taking the end goal of “reading enough” and then breaking it down into a daily/weekly allotment of pages.

      It’s kinda like writing – when I put “read more” or “write story” on my to do list, I never get anything done. When I figure out that I need to read X number of pages as day, or write Y number of words, then mark them off with check marks, it’s a lot easier to overcome the little voice that swears that watching pro-wrestling is a far more acceptable use of my time.

      • maggiedot
        29/03/2017 at 12:15 PM

        This definitely helped me today! I did try to keep it in mind–at least that I really wanted to get back on the wagon of reading 20 minutes a day, minimum–and managed to sneak it in a little earlier. So I may need to really focus, but that might help get a bit more in, at any rate.

  2. 26/03/2017 at 1:03 PM

    Peter: how’d you go with the quarterly planning last week? And for the uni work you’ve got this week, do you have more time/brain-draining readings to do, or are you past that stage now?

    • 28/03/2017 at 3:13 PM

      Its ongoing this week. I’m doing a lot of things with a lot of rolling deadlines and moving parts, so just plotting out the calendar is proving to be challenging.

  3. 26/03/2017 at 1:17 PM

    What am I working on this week?
    Video game gig Tuesday (in-studio, WOOHOO!), continuing ADR recording for the sci-fi film, and moving the commercial demo forward. (last week saw progress on this, so WOOHOO again!) Also, preparing to move house.

    What’s inspiring me this week?
    Almost done with Art of Possibility, and really loving it. This morning it worked through how apportioning blame to others removes your ability to be present and effective in the circumstances you’re in, which kind of blew my mind.

    In terms of pop culture, the girl and I are watching Santa Clarita Diet in occasional snatches, and loving it. It’s so well crafted, and Drew Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant have such amazing comic timing. It’s great seeing Olyphant in a less hard-edged role, too.

    I also watched Green Room (WARNING: link is red band trailer, which is FULL ON) finally on the weekend, and HOLY. CRAPBALLS. The film is exquisitely shot, has a fantastic cast, and a wonderful sense of timing. When it really hits the gas on the tension and horror, it goes real dark. Anton Yelchin steals every frame he’s in, as well.

    What part of my project am I avoiding?
    Website/promotion work. Need to be sending out newsletters for multiple things, but triaged thanks to limited time.

    • karinacoldrick
      26/03/2017 at 7:25 PM

      Congrats on the in-studio gig! On the newsletter work, is it production or posting holding you back?

      • 26/03/2017 at 8:21 PM

        I use Mailchimp for list management, so getting stuff out is pretty straightforward. It’s just the prioritising of time that pushes it to the Eisenhower Square of Important, but Not Urgent.

    • 27/03/2017 at 4:34 AM

      Woohoo for exciting work this week! I may need to check out Art of Possibility–it sounds really interesting.

      • 29/03/2017 at 8:22 AM

        I definitely recommend it! Almost at the end now, and it’s proving to be a good manual for breaking out of scarcity mindset and being more generous emotionally, without it being woo-woo and impractical.

    • 27/03/2017 at 9:48 AM

      I love Drew Barrymore – she’s had an incredible life and has such resilience along with bucketloads of talent. Congrats on the video game gig – hope the work keeps rolling in!

      • 29/03/2017 at 8:23 AM

        Absolutely! She’s a great example of someone who got her life back on the tracks after what could have been permanent derailing, and always seems to bring such joy and playfulness to her on-screen roles.

  4. karinacoldrick
    26/03/2017 at 7:41 PM

    What am I working on this week?
    Ok, so this week I flipped out and went Bugger All This for a Game of Soldiers. Heading for wordcount and, dabnabit, PRODUCTIVITY, I have temporarily ditched the Fun Flimsy in favour of a kind-of sequel and BOOM – 5000 words later, I am in a happy place. Also, some of the scenes I wanted in the FF can now work in this new ms, which will streamline the original when I get back to it.

    What’s inspiring me this week?
    Debra Dixon’s “Goals, Motivation, Conflict”. This book is the romance novelist’s bible and I’ve read it before. This time, however, I’m diving in and out whenever I’ve a spare moment and using it to prompt writing ‘formal’ character notes in advance. (School pickups and post-it notes are proving handy here.) Key learning: the shorter the work, the stronger (and more obvious) a character’s GMC has to be. I especially like her point on coincidences – outrageous becomes believable only when driven by GMC.

    What part of my project am I avoiding?
    Hah, the Fun Flimsy, obviously. But while the words do flow, I’ll run with the Unsequel a little longer.

    On a completely irrelevant point: what is with this weather? It snowed here on Tuesday, but yesterday the kids wore shorts and I had to open all the windows to cool the house down.

    • 26/03/2017 at 8:22 PM

      Is GMC something that you’d recommend for structuring solid characters in fiction in general, or is it romance-specific?

      • karinacoldrick
        27/03/2017 at 12:18 AM

        GMC is like Stanislavski – it should be part of the repertoire of anyone writing, but how far you take it is an individual matter. Romance writers, being character-driven, are the Daniel Day-Lewis level of practitioners.

    • 26/03/2017 at 8:23 PM

      Kudos for the big leap forward with the pseudo-sequel, too!

    • 27/03/2017 at 4:36 AM

      Sometimes tackling a story from a completely different angle is crazy helpful in re-establishing the excitement in an older project. Go you! GMC sounds really interesting, and probably like something I desperately need to work on. Will have to check it out at some point!

    • 27/03/2017 at 9:51 AM

      It’s wonderful when the writing just clicks, isn’t it? The writers’ nirvana! Sounds like the writing you’re doing on the new piece will complement Fun Flimsy anyway, so a win-win for you!

  5. 26/03/2017 at 8:11 PM

    Hope everyone has had a good week. Here’s my Sunday Circle.

    • 26/03/2017 at 8:27 PM

      Hope the refurbishment of the novel goes well! (kinda funny that at the same time, you’re digging a series about structures left to rot and decay – which sounds awesome, by the way!)

      • karinacoldrick
        27/03/2017 at 12:19 AM

        Oh, I second that comment. Love it!

      • 27/03/2017 at 9:52 AM

        Rot & decay are my favourites 🙂

    • 28/03/2017 at 3:14 PM

      What’s the title of the doco series?

      • 29/03/2017 at 7:46 AM

        “Abandoned”. It’s showing on SBS but so far only the first ep is up on On Demand.

  6. 27/03/2017 at 12:36 AM

    I posted on my blog again: (clearly, my attempt to shorten that link died painfully somewhere in transit).

    Also? Sorry for the lack of chatty me on these- minimal internet for the next week or so.

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