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

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Four days left in the year, but there’s still seven days in the week. What are you trying to get done, fellow creative types? What’s inspiring you? What’s keeping you from getting your work finished?

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. 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 week two (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? Starting today, I set the space marines aside for a while and start rewriting the Gothic YA novel I wrote in the lead-up to GenreCon. I’ve got three weeks remaining on my leave and two notebooks worth of novel to redraft.

What’s inspiring me this week? I picked up John Steakley’s Armor after reading this piece about it on LitReactor. It’s a very weird little book written in a very distinctive style, and the switch between third person and first after the first quarter completely does my head in, but its depiction of the high-tech armor in question is one of the best I’ve come across since starting off my space marine reading stint.

I also watched In Your Eyes, which is probably the most interesting thing Joss Whedon has written in years and made me wish for a period where we saw more of him as a writer than a director. It’s a weird little SF love story that will annoy people who want their SF to be strong on the speculative, as the conceit is utterly subservient to the character story and never really explained.

What part of my project an I avoiding? It may be the most clichéd thing imaginable, but I need to clean my house. Yes, instead of writing, although it will technically be something I do after writing. My house of a den of filth at the moment and it’s hit the point where it’s affecting my writing habits. I’ve actually avoided sitting down on my desk-top for the last week ’cause the chair is covered in laundry and the desk piled high with books.

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

  1. 27/12/2015 at 9:51 AM

    What am I working on this week? In theory, still the queerish PNR. In practice, not a damn thing.

    What’s inspiring me this week? Trying to learn all the languages. I think this is a displacement activity. It’s also necessary because it’s absorbing, and I’m in a house with five people and one bathroom and i’m completely out of cope for social activity. Don’t you love Christmas?

    What part of my project am I avoiding? All of it. I’ve been stuck for over a week, which is probably stupid, because I know roughly what needs to happen in the scene I’m stuck in the middle of, but I’m SO TIRED and have completely lost faith in my ability to finish anything ever. (I have never completed a book-length thing. I have no idea how such a thing is done. Why did I do this.) Even worse that my sister’s novel (in a very different genre) is a bestseller and so I’m consumed with jealousy and also the conviction that my own book is completely unmarketable even in the tiny niche genre in which it might possibly one day find an audience.

    In summary, it’s been a shitty writing week and I can’t wait for the Christmas season to be over.

    *ceases whining all over the check-in*

    • 27/12/2015 at 10:02 AM

      The holidays are a pretty crappy time to try and get stuff done in general. Disrupted routines are a killer for everyone, particularly when there’s a crisis of faith happening with regards to the work.

      If you’re really and truly stuck on a particular scene, try applying what has been dubbed the Kress Protocol around these parts. It’s one of those things that’s been enormously useful when I find myself in a funk and unable to move forward.

    • 27/12/2015 at 2:20 PM

      Make sure you’re kind to yourself over this period, LC. Like Pete said better already, the disruption is a killer, and it sounds like a lot of your capacity is getting eaten up in just dealing with people.

      And as far as the jealousy of your sister’s book goes, I completely get that. There’s a great quote by Oscar Wilde you’re probably familiar with already: “Anyone can sympathize with the sufferings of a friend, but it requires a very fine nature to sympathize with a friend’s success.” I find that no matter how much I’m cheering for fellow v/o’s success in their projects, there’s still a part of me that quietly whispers “Why not me?” when it happens. It’s a bummer, both because of the comparison, and then because of the double-whammy of feeling bad about the jealousy.

      How’s the language learning going?

  2. 27/12/2015 at 2:27 PM

    What am I working on this week? The next big thing on my plate is processing all of my notes and plans from a full GTD sweep into an overall plan for the year to come. That’s my big focus this week, particularly with an eye to time-sensitive projects for the year to come. That, and a couple of auditions.

    What’s inspiring me this week? Still digging on cyberpunk, but the infatuation is fading. Now I’m finding that I’m looking at it beyond a surface level without the infatuation, which is nice. Morning pages continue to be a crazy-valuable tool. Three pages of being my own therapist/cheerleader, in tiny scrawl.

    What part of my project am I avoiding? I’ve managed to pick up a headcold thanks to Christmas day heat + napping with fan but no aircon, so I’m almost back at 100%, but not quite. That makes shiny distractions much easier, so the answer for today is pretty much ‘almost everything’. I’ve stripped back expectations to working out a couple of useful high level bits of thinking, and structured ways of exploring those passions, which hopefully helps.

    • 27/12/2015 at 4:34 PM

      Kevin, I’m curious about how you process/classify/justify the time to do morning pages? I do appreciate them when I do them, but it’s a struggle to allocate the time on a regular basis. “Justify” sounds dreadful, I know, like I expect you to defend the concept – I know they are worthwhile, I’m just in the process of unlearning some bad breakneck-efficiency habits and curious about the mental templates which let other people allocate time the way they do.

      • 27/12/2015 at 5:29 PM

        No, I get that question completely!

        I started doing them a little on faith late this year while reworking daily routines. I’ve found that it takes about 30 minutes, and it’s invaluable for dealing with a lack of motivation, or clarity about what I’m doing. So on days where I’m feeling “Ugh” about rolling up sleeves and getting to work, it makes a huge difference because investing that time turns my mindset around for the rest of the day (typically in an almost-frenzy about just how much there is to do!)

        That being said, they didn’t solve *everything* today, but they did help at least with my mindset. 🙂

        I’d suggest committing to a short timeframe of trialing them – maybe somewhere between a week and a month… and see if you notice any benefit from them afterwards?

        • maggiedot
          28/12/2015 at 1:24 AM

          It’s a very cool idea, these morning pages. I used to journal regularly, which I loved for that ability to work through my mental reframing of a day (and thus, let me sleep better without stewing over things), and I’ve been meaning to pick that up again. There’s something about hashing out one’s thoughts on paper that I do find concretely helpful somehow. I love the idea of doing it in the morning, though–what a great way to start the day!

    • 29/12/2015 at 7:48 PM

      I remember doing the morning pages routines for years when I was wrangling a toddler. Helped to clear the dross out to let the story step up onto the stage. Must remember them if I get stuck during 2016.

  3. 27/12/2015 at 4:30 PM

    What am I working on this week? There are others, but the big three which require conceptual effort/readjustment are: the retro book cover; Regency research; planning next year.

    What’s inspiring me this week? The framing and joyful simplicity of old movies. The simple headlong earnestness and/or enthusiasm of early aviation pioneers. Amos Root, the Bee-Man of Ohio. I’m also trying to relearn stopping and relaxing. I still can’t quite get my head around cooking as a thing people willingly spend time on (I used to cook a lot), but I’ve been able to sit down and do some fan art purely for fun, and I’ve felt a couple mental knots relax over that.

    What part of my project am I avoiding? Sitting down and spending some serious time on the cover, which may be all it takes to either (a) get it done or (b) work out what the hold-up is. I’m at my parents’ until Tuesday, but the cover and a comic are due by 1 January, so I need to keep moving. The comic at least is moving along.

    • maggiedot
      28/12/2015 at 1:21 AM

      Cooking can be such a challenge to get into, though I’ve found watching The Great British Baking Show and other cooking shows to be particularly energizing for getting me to think about how cooking time could be fun. If you’re looking for something inspiring, food-making related, I’d highly recommend (if you haven’t seen it already) Jiro Dreams of Sushi, about a top-notch sushi chef in Japan. It’s an amazingly soothing documentary, too–inspiring and soothing…weird combination, now that I think about it. He just has such laser-focus on his life, it’s fascinating. And I found it pretty visually beautiful, too!

    • 29/12/2015 at 7:49 PM

      I have to be careful cooking does not slip into procrasti-baking (for writing or uni when it’s active).

  4. maggiedot
    28/12/2015 at 1:12 AM

    What am I working on this week? Not too much, actually. I’ve voluntarily allowed myself to take the last two weeks off from direct writing after completing a somewhat aggressive writing goal the three weeks prior. I’m beginning to get itchy for the keyboard, though, which is always a good sign. In the meantime, I’m trying to get a couple blog posts together for my own site and plan out a regular updating schedule for it, which I’ve been terrible at this year. I’d also really, really, really like to get as close as I can to finishing The Black Count by Tom Reiss, which is a fabulously interesting biography of General Alexandre Dumas (the novelist’s father), but reading time has been scarce these past weeks.

    What’s inspiring me this week?I received a copy of Booklife by Jeff Vandermeer for Christmas, so I’ve been kind of flipping through that, which has me thinking a lot about goals and plans for the long-term/short-term. I’ve also been drooling over Lee Hammond’s Amazing Crayon Drawing book and How to Sew Little Felt Animals, which has me chaffing to paint/draw/sew again. I used to paint all the time, and I’ve always loved making small felt creatures/dolls, but with free time so limited these days (with a very active 18 month old), finding time to both write and art has been challenging. But maybe…maybe this next year… 🙂

    What part of my project an I avoiding?Brainstorming a flash fiction idea to work on for the first week of the new year, and reviewing the novel rewrite I’ve promised myself I’ll pick back up on the 1st. I’ve got the entire second draft kind of mapped out and ready to go, I just have to…DO it. Partly the challenge is having the headspace to stew over projects, which is especially hard to come by these days, and partly the problem is after two weeks off, I’m feeling super lazy. And that’s probably just a matter of kicking myself in the pants and getting excited for the work ahead. 🙂

    • 29/12/2015 at 7:50 PM

      It’s that week of in-between-ness post Christmas and not yet the New Year calendar-turned. Sure you’re kick in the pants will happen shortly after Friday 🙂

  5. 29/12/2015 at 7:46 PM

    What am I working on this week? Catching up on the long hand to become typed in words. I want to finish the year with everything in a file (the backlog gets too overwhelming otherwise).

    What’s inspiring me this week? Music. In particular the soundtracks of studio Ghibli.

    What part of my project am I avoiding? Making a plan to implement a new way of recording progress as word counts are not helping. Rather they hinder. In avoiding this, I am also avoiding the creation of new words. Going to Gibbs smack myself before the new year kicks over.

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