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?

With my day-job contract finished up I am basically back in writing-land. I’ve got a short-story to redraft and some notes for one that’s following it, which should keep me busy as I get back into the swing of things.

What’s inspiring me this week?

So I basically inhaled the first season of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries in the space of twenty-four hours, which I’ve been meaning to do for ages and bumped up the viewing list after Theodora Goss’s post about Miss Fisher and the Female Gaze. It’s an extraordinarily charming show, but also incredibly clever, and I am looking forward to tracking down all the books now as part of PhD research.

What part of my project an I avoiding?

I’ve been letting planning slip for a few weeks now, while finishing off the day-job contract. Ironically, I’ve been doing this while re-reading Work Clean, which has large chunks about putting planning in the centre of your process rather than treating it as a time-consuming adjunct, so I am both avoiding like crazy and increasingly aware how useful actually sucking it up and doing the planning will probably be..

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

  1. 29/01/2017 at 8:12 AM

    Peter: do you think you could squeeze in some time somewhere this week to revisit your notes on Work Clean to look at some possible practices to lay down for the start of your next exciting phase?

    (I say this knowing full well that my read-through stalled late last year, and that and Essentialism are due to be picked up again on the other side of Big Magic.

    • 29/01/2017 at 8:15 AM

      Oops. That’s what happens when you don’t close a bold tag.

    • 29/01/2017 at 11:46 AM

      Not really a time issue anymore – time issues are rarely going to be a concern for the next few weeks. The bigger concern is the relative lack of effective best practices in my toolkit when it comes to the current situation, so everything is effectively being built from scratch when it comes to figuring out how to work.

      Which is necessary work, but not fun work.

      • 29/01/2017 at 11:56 AM

        I know it’s my answer to everything, but would time-boxing a little bit to work on this each day help at all? Or do you need to swallow the medicine and attack this with a block of time all at once?

  2. 29/01/2017 at 8:25 AM

    What am I working on this week? Battle stations on the long form narration gig continues, along with juggling balls re: other voice work.

    What’s inspiring me this week? Just finished listening to the audiobook of Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit and probably the biggest benefit I got from it was removing the fear and self-consciousness around exploring a space. While So Good They Can’t Ignore You drilled home the importance of deliberate practice, this underscored the very important idea that a lot of what you throw at the wall won’t stick, and that’s OK. Twyla’s humbler use of such an incredible career to illustrate her examples was much less abrasive than Cal Newport’s tone, which I’m now realising is the embodiment of Mediocre White Guy Voice.

    Continuing to play through Witcher 3, and continuing to be impressed with the nuance of the writing. Given that it’s become a regular habit, I’ll stop mentioning it for now.

    New Mac arrives this week, which will remove a major source of friction at the moment – my trusty 6 year old Macbook is on its way out, and runs slow enough to make doing some things a chore, and any video projects non-viable for the moment.

    What am I avoiding this week? Some of the regular practice habits have been pared back to make way for the volume of work, which isn’t ideal. Commercial demo prep is on hold by necessity as well. Starting to feel the drain from extra hours thrown at editing, and losing most of evenings to work, so looking with a careful eye to March as a possible time for a holiday.

    • 29/01/2017 at 3:38 PM

      Good news on the new computer!

      Are you any good at taking holidays, Kevin? I ask only because I’ve realised recently I need to make a list of Acceptable Holiday Activities because otherwise I end up either working or brooding.

      • 29/01/2017 at 3:57 PM

        Pretty good at them, yeah. Already planning a weekend away with the fam. I’ll be taking a travel recording setup with me for auditions, and one habit I can’t get away from is checking email regularly (because time-critical communication is, well… critical) but otherwise I find it pretty easy to leave work at the door. I had to learn how to do that during a particularly stressful period in the day job quite some time back, and I can’t recommend it enough.

    • 29/01/2017 at 6:53 PM

      “Mediocre White Guy Voice” – I laughed out loud at that! And hooray for your new Mac – hope it smooths work out for you a bit and frees up some time.

  3. 29/01/2017 at 12:23 PM
    • 29/01/2017 at 12:31 PM

      How strongly would you recommend the Douglas book, in terms of useful insights? More “oh, wow, that’s a new way of looking at it” or more “yeah, that makes sense?” It definitely sounds like the sort of thing I’d enjoy, but the sticker shock on the ebook pricing is enough that it’s not quite an automatic buy 🙂

    • 29/01/2017 at 3:36 PM

      Congratulations on getting the first draft done, Charlotte, as well as your confirmation documents!

    • 29/01/2017 at 4:04 PM

      It Ends With Us sounds equal parts transformative, and daunting.

      Wishing you boundless energy and focus for the work on the presentation!

      One question that occurs to me after finishing The Creative Habit: when you’re leaving a project like your PhD novel to rest for a while, do you have any sort of physical indication or ritual around that? What happens with the physical artifacts of the work while you’re leaving it to steep?

  4. 29/01/2017 at 3:40 PM

    Peter: Huzzah for Miss Fisher! I always feel it’s a show in which Careless Murder Threatens Hats. But fortunately Dot is there to mend it all.
    And I am looking forward to seeing what you make with the new time available.

  5. 29/01/2017 at 3:56 PM

    What I’m working on
    – The novella. Which exists!! I have a… thing, in order and printed out. It’s ugly and 1/4 again too long, but I only need a first draft for the end of the month. I was resisting printing and working on it that way, it felt like double handling. One day I hope to remember in advance that it is in fact efficient, effective and therapeutic.
    – Art for an art show. The theme is stories/themes which have always been important to you as an artist. Fortunately this overlaps very easily with the novella, so I can also use it to work on the illustrations for that.
    – The hours-per-day process is going well. At the moment, 6 dedicated art/writing hours, plus one of admin, is doable on an otherwise unallocated day. If I have a broken afternoon or morning, 4 is feasible. On errand and campus days, 2 hours is more likely. I’m going to use this as the benchmark for February, and then I can look at adding efficiencies. That this is working for now is great. I do like checking off the little boxes. I note, however, that 6 hours of art takes a lot less time than 6 hours of writing.

    What’s inspiring me
    Ripper Street. I’ve just finished the second season (while working on art) and it does wonderful things with tropes and expectations. Not twist/reversals, but just never going exactly how I expect it to. Gorgeous colour and language, too.
    The Road to Middlemarch, or at least the bits by and about George Eliot – how she dealt with ability and ambition, doubt and hubris, limitations and mortality. Mostly it’s making me remember how much and why and how unexpectedly I enjoyed Middlemarch when I abruptly had to speed-read for art the other year.

    What I’m avoiding
    – It’s more a situation of doing too many things, and not having time to do all of them. At least now I can see how much work I’ve done, and that for the most part I’m not *wasting* time. Even if I’m not allocating it incredibly wisely, I’m working on things that need to be done.
    – Admin has suffered, due to deadlines, and I need to catch up. Also I wasn’t keeping useful notes of what I’ve been reading. I’ve rolled that into allocated admin time now, and it’s eaten up a bit of that but I’m nearly caught up.
    – Relaxing. I’m… not good at it. I haven’t done it properly since uni, at least. If I’m going out or to the movies, etc, that’s okay, but just being at home I either lose time to the internet or do more work or go to bed. I need to dig out some handwork and… I don’t know. I *like* writing and drawing, but my back can only take so many hours a day.

  6. 29/01/2017 at 6:55 PM

    I’d love to hear more about the art show. Is it an online show or will it be coming to a gallery near me (in Brisbane)?

  7. 29/01/2017 at 6:59 PM

    Okay, I’m going to have to come out as a non-fan of Miss Fisher. Don’t hate me. (I blame Shaun Micallef’s parodies.)
    Here’s my Sunday Circle.

  8. maggiedot
    30/01/2017 at 12:25 PM

    Best of luck to you on getting back to the planning, Peter!

    Phew! Finally getting back to normal around these parts. I’ll try to get to everybody tomorrow, but I’m running on empty tonight.

    My belated Sunday Circle is here!

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