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?

Still working on my thesis chapter, and putting some serious work into the draft for the second Brain Jar book, You Do’t Want to Be Published, which is a collection of blog posts and articles about writing. The main task this week is going through and making sure everything in the collection makes sense once removed from the original context, then doing some ‘directors commentary’ around each.

What’s inspiring me this week?

Georgette Heyer’s The Reluctant Widow is one of the more light-hearted Heyer novels that we’ve read for book club, but it’s also delightful and a slight shift in the usual expectations that I tend to bring to her work. Great, bantering dialogue and a surprisingly complex mystery plot lie at the heart of the book’s appeal – it’s possible this is going on my list of novels I use to introduce people to Heyer (or, at least, a close second or third book to solidify their appreciation).

What action do I need to take?

I need to go do some work on the Brain Jar website, getting The Birdcage Heart information upon the page and setting up a news page where things can be announced.

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

  1. 03/12/2017 at 12:25 PM

    Peter: where’s the best place to send people for The Birdcage Heart at the moment? Or is that part of the reason behind the Brain Jar site rework?

    • 03/12/2017 at 5:52 PM is the best bet. There’s no particular benefit to using one sales site over the other, and that link will take people to the vendor of their choice (and remember for later purchases). I’m purposefully leaving direct sales for a while – until there’s a larger direct readership, the algorithms connecting readers to books on most of the sale sites are more valuable to me than the extra money I’d pocketl

  2. 03/12/2017 at 12:45 PM

    What am I working on this week?
    Sitting down today to get these taxes finalised finally, GODDAMNIT. Other than that, continuing to put as much time as I can aside to get the last v/o for the film done – we’re at a point where each pickup has fairly specific requirements behind it, so it’s sometimes taking quite a while to nail an exact take.

    Other than that, trying to put aside time for narrative upskilling – I’m still finding it tricky to get back to weekly study at the moment due to the time pressures of clearing everything else off my plate.

    What’s inspiring me this week?
    After being sparked by both David Hollingworth’s tweets, and an article about the upcoming Tolkien TV series, I’ve started re-reading The Silmarillion. I’d forgotten how much I love it, and there’s a real temptation to race through passages that are often dense with meaning that can be extrapolated, or otherwise missed entirely. Reminds me of Joseph Conrad’s writing more than it does Tolkien’s more flowery prose in the Lord of the Rings.

    Continuing to move through The Punisher slowly. The story has paid some lip service thus far to the idea of marginalised, damaged veterans, but it feels like, at the point of episode six, it’s yet to say something really interesting dealing with that space. Also continuing to play through the new Wolfenstein in pieces, and it’s gotten to the point where it’s gone full gonzo with its story, which I’m digging. I still haven’t seen how it plays out yet, but it’s amazingly prescient how, developed prior to 2017, the game was keen to explore the strong sympathy in US society to the rise of the Nazi party.

    Having listened to a few The Dollop episodes talking through aspects of how the US’s racism instructed Nazi ideology, it’s taught me that the answer to problems is most often it’s complicated, and that feels like a really important lesson to keep hold of at the moment, when quick-fix black-and-white ways of looking at things feel seductively quick and simple.

    What action do I really need to take?
    Getting these taxes done, which I’m off to do now. It feels like the biggest mental block taking up unwanted space in my head right now.

  3. 03/12/2017 at 3:16 PM

    You Don’t Want to be Published already sounds like an awesome resource. Can I ask how many projects you have planned as a part of the Brain Jar at this stage? All of the ones you’ve mentioned so far sound great.

    My Sunday Circle is here.

    • 03/12/2017 at 6:03 PM

      How many? is kinda complicated. The three books that I’m leading off with (with scheduled release dates) are largely targets of opportunity. I’ve got 50-odd short stories that I have the rights too, plus about ten years of blogs posts and writing articles, so it made sense to repurpose them into income streams rather than letting them lie fallow. There’s pretty minimal investment required to get them up and running; the work is already done, and everything else consists of a few hours work to do layout and editing, about $20 for the design elements, and the time spent putting together copy.

      Everything after that is putting stuff out when it’s done. One of the benefits of indie publishing is being free to just do stuff because it seems interesting, and the business model is largely based on having a deep backlist, so the goal is to put out between 5-9 books in the first twelve months. A lot will depend on how much I get done that I’m happy to have out there, and how much time gets pulled away for PhD/teaching/me going batshit crazy because of anxiety (Although, on the anxiety front, knowing what will happen to a book once it’s finished makes it a lot easier to stay focused on finishing it).

    • 07/12/2017 at 8:25 PM

      How’s the dedication to the writing rituals going now, Ree?

      • 07/12/2017 at 8:36 PM

        Going well thanks Kevin. It’s getting home early from work that really helps. I don’t think I’d realised how tense commuting made me! It takes no time at all to wind down and get into my writing in the afternoons 🙂

  4. 04/12/2017 at 8:45 AM

    What am I working on this week?

    Continuing to set up my online outposts.

    There is a reason this sounds like last week’s update. My online writing group is partway through an eight-week series of exercises in setting up and populating a blog. I signed on because it struck me as a good way to get through those tasks. The weekly exercise comes out on Monday and last week’s was to set up a contact page. So I made that Priority 2 for last week, after working with the cover artist as Priority 1.

    It was worth doing. I should still get one or two more outposts up this week.

    What’s inspiring me this week?

    I’ve temporarily abandoned Ready Player One after running into yet another section heavy on tell rather than show. It occurred to me he might be trying to do an 80s movie style montage, which he even mentions in an earlier point in the story, but it got sufficiently boring that I couldn’t handle both it and waiting in an airport at the same time.

    Currently reading Dungeon Lord by Hugo Huesca, which is unashamedly LitRPG. The characters can literally see each others’ stats and abilities. It’s very silly but I’m enjoying it quite a lot.

    I earmarked “The Fate of Empires” by John Bagot Glubb for reading. It’s a novellete sized piece published in 1976 or 78 about how most empires of the last three thousand years follow approximately the same 10-generation cycle, give or take. But it seems to get a lot of traction amongst people who want to blame feminism for the decline of modern society, so I want my wits about me when I read this. Not quite a light holiday read.

    What action do I really need to take?

    I think I really do need to knock down those outposts. I’m not going to start pushing anything until I have that cover art finalised, but I think that’s close now.

    • 07/12/2017 at 8:25 PM

      Fate of Empires sounds interesting, but yeah. The audience a book attracts can really be a warning sign.

      How’s the outpost building going now?

      • 07/12/2017 at 10:30 PM

        I seem to have reached the point where I require an actual book in order to create a profile. The cover art is almost ready, so it won’t be long.

        I haven’t set up a Facebook author page though. Need to put some thought into that one, I reckon.

  5. 05/12/2017 at 9:34 PM

    Late to the party but at least I GOT here again, and will try to continue doing so!

    What am I working on this week?
    Not a whole lot, because my computer died. I’m picking up a new one and the repaired old one tomorrow. Until then I’m on phone/ancient iPad and mostly getting a lot of reading done. Once I’ve got a(two) computer(s), the work is:
    – Getting a draft of my critical essay for uni done
    – Working out whether it’s better to think about the realities of work and budget next year, or ignore them
    – Putting in some edits on the Regency and sending it out again
    – Lots of art

    What’s inspiring me this week?
    – I’ve finally read Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, which along with The Manual of Detection and a few books about cities and guidebooks I picked up in recent travels are brewing into… something.
    The Man Who Invented Christmas, which I expected to dislike and actually quite enjoyed, although its depiction of writers is so over the top and melodramatic. The creation of characters and the interactions with illustrators felt real on a mythical level, at least.
    How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One, which is not at all the same animal as Strunk & White and shouldn’t be compared, but which was inspiring on a sentence-and-word level, which is refreshing occasionally.

    What action do I really need to take?
    – Write before: planning; reading; researching; outlining; thinking.
    – Sketch a LOT of layouts for ideas.
    – Work out what to do with an intern now that I’ve caught one.

    • 07/12/2017 at 8:28 PM

      Nice work on landing an intern!

      And thank you for the pointer to Invisible Cities – that sounds like an invaluable research read for a project – muchly appreciated!

      How’s the reading going – any relief in sight on the computer situation?

      • 11/12/2017 at 11:25 AM

        I now have two computers. Sigh.

    • 07/12/2017 at 8:43 PM

      Number 1 job for the intern is getting you coffee/tea isn’t it?? Other than that I’d put the intern onto some research tasks but of course it depends where you are on various projects.

      • 11/12/2017 at 11:24 AM

        At the moment she’s setting up an Etsy shop so I can sell originals between art shows, but she’s great at internet shopping so I keep getting her to research things I need:)

    • 07/12/2017 at 10:32 PM

      Do you get to address an intern as “Minion”?

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