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?

Setting aside creative work entirely this week and focusing on getting the rough draft of my Thesis Prospectus written. It’s not a big document – just 4,000 words – but that’s a deceptively short amount given what I’m trying to pack into it (and my lack of familiarity with the format/voice required after nearly a decade away from academia).

What’s inspiring me this week?

As you can probably guess from Friday’s post, I’ve been enjoying James Ellroy’s Black Dahlia this week, and in particular the first four chapters. The write-up of the boxing match is incredible and I’ll probably spend the next few weeks pulling it apart so I can better understand the blocking and techniques that went into making it so good.

What part of my project an I avoiding?

Not my project, inherently, but my sleep schedule has gone to hell over the last few days, which is probably a sign of how much I really, really dislike the idea of doing the prospectus write-up. Much as I love the research side of the thesis, and banging on about literary theory in general, I still really dislike the writing-up and assessment side of things.

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

  1. 30/04/2017 at 7:44 PM

    Hi Peter, make sure you talk to your PhD supervisor about any worries you’re having about your prospectus document, or anything to do with the PhD process. A good supervisor has seen it all before and is there to support you through the milestones. They want you to get it right.

    • 30/04/2017 at 9:36 PM

      Apart from the Sunday Circle Ree, do you do weekly/daily checkpoints to help keep a focus on what your goals are for that day? Just wondering if that might help with keeping laser focus if there’s a lot on your plate.

      Second question there too is if there’s anything non-essential you can drop from the week’s goals to focus on the key stuff. 🙂

      • 01/05/2017 at 8:52 AM

        No, Kevin, I’m not that organised! I work better with a little chaos 🙂

    • 30/04/2017 at 10:59 PM

      Congratulations on getting into your stride again! Scene notes are helpful.

  2. 30/04/2017 at 9:18 PM

    Pete: is it possible to use Lois or someone similar as a sounding board to just yammer some of this stuff at while recording it, to potential hijack your preference for teasing this stuff out in conversation? I remember that worked really well in the opposite direction for Lois when we were talking about games and narrative a while back…

  3. 30/04/2017 at 9:53 PM

    What am I working on this week?
    LAST WEEK. FFS. Lost two days to tracking down a problem that turned out to be a fried mic, and then lost a chunk of time today to the iMac threatening to fall over and die. JFC.

    THIS WEEK THOUGH: Should be closing out the film recording this week. The commercial demo is moving forward in a way I’m really happy with. Also looking at funding options around the voice acting consultancy business to help build things and make GDC (Games Development Conference in San Francisco) next year more viable.

    What’s inspiring me this week?
    Seth Godin’s All Marketers Are Liars has stripped a few scales from my eyes, particularly with regards to political campaigns, and how to market in general. It might be common sense to others, but the point of telling the right people what they already believe makes a lot of sense, and the book couches that in terms that don’t come off as cynical, but rather bedded in an understanding of both modern life and also the machinery of our psychology.

    Stephen King’s Danse Macabre has been really blowing my hair back, too.

    What part of my project am I avoiding?
    At the moment, I’m conscious of the fact that I haven’t given any meaty, strategic projects to my virtual assistant to work through, which leaves her underutilised at the moment. That probably would have happened last week if it hadn’t been such a shitshow.

    • 01/05/2017 at 8:55 AM

      Technology can be our worst enemy, Kevin. Hope things go more smoothly this week.

    • maggiedot
      03/05/2017 at 11:47 PM

      Ugh, sounds like the tech issues were no fun this past week! Sorry to hear it. I’m definitely going to have to check out All Marketers Are Liars, because it sounds really interesting, especially from a consumer standpoint. Sometimes just a little glimpse behind the curtain is just what one needs to see the world with fresh eyes. ^_^

  4. 30/04/2017 at 10:44 PM

    Peter: That change in voice is the worst.

    • 30/04/2017 at 10:45 PM

      Although it’s made me think that I should try copy-typing some examples to get back into the rhythm.

  5. 30/04/2017 at 10:57 PM

    What am I working on?
    My big three for the week, which is BY NO MEANS an exhaustive list:
    – Thumbnail sketches for 35 illustrations for Big Exciting Secret Project #1.
    – Thumbnail sketches for map and ornaments for Big Exciting Secret Project #2.
    – Travel plans and prep for June/July, which will at some point include portfolio preparation AND an illustration project.

    What’s inspiring me?
    – An obscure memoir, published in 1951, by a doctor born in the 1870s. It is neither earth shattering nor brilliantly written, but it’s pleasant and human and calming.
    – Driving out to the local airport with a coffee and sitting in the sun watching planes land.
    … these are more relaxants than inspiration. So be it. My hair is clenched.

    What am I avoiding?
    – Substantial quantities of writing/editing, although I’ve been doing a little bit nearly every day.
    – The kitchen.

    On the other hand, I tracked my dedicated admin and working hours through April (including tutoring, lesson prep etc, but not counting general muttering around, picking up, incidental email checkings). I averaged 39.9 hours/week, 14% of which was admin. Which is not enough, but is acceptable for the purposes of satisfying myself that I have, in fact, been working, which I frequently doubt.

    • 03/05/2017 at 12:56 PM

      Out of curiosity, what do you use for tracking time consistently? I’m trying toggl at the moment, but I find that keep bouncing off timesheeting tools because of needing to remember that additional step…

    • maggiedot
      04/05/2017 at 12:02 AM

      Phew! Sounds like a fully-loaded week! Best of luck getting everything wrapped that needs to be! Airports are great fun, and very relaxing. I wish I had one nearer to me–used to have a great little one just a few minutes drive away, and very much enjoyed coffee or quick lunch there on lovely days. ^_^ (As for the kitchen–that’s my audiobook place. Nothing makes dishes and all that day-to-day stuff go by faster than mentally being somewhere else!)

  6. 01/05/2017 at 9:00 AM

    Sounds like you have heaps on! I’m fascinated by people who are fascinated by watching planes. My daughter’s best friend in Brisbane goes to the airport to watch the planes,too. And every time I go to the airport there are always cars parked, just watching. Does it help with your creative process? Or is it just something that calms you?

    • 01/05/2017 at 7:36 PM

      “That amazing moment when twelve tons of metal leaves the earth, and no one knows why.”

      • 01/05/2017 at 7:39 PM

        (That’s a quote from “Cabin Pressure”).

        I like the romance of the air, and that nothing currently rides on me retaining any accurate information. I love aviation history, the pioneering adventure of the early anecdotes and the high-ocatane elegies of the late jet age.

        And watching it is calming. A great big glass-clear sky and field, the tiny planes slipping and swinging in the air, the humming *quietness* of it all.

        • 03/05/2017 at 2:12 PM

          YES! The romance of early air travel and seeing far-flung places is a huge part of what makes pulp exciting to me. That red line tracking across distant corners of maps in Indiana Jones…

  7. maggiedot
    01/05/2017 at 11:32 AM

    Sometimes just focusing in on the one thing you don’t want to do is the best way to get it done. Best of luck with the prospectus, Peter!

    My super late Sunday Circle is here! I’ll get to commenting on everybody’s stuff tomorrow or Tuesday!

    • 03/05/2017 at 1:58 PM

      Why on earth would something inspiring you for a period of time be tiring? BAD MAGGIE FOR BEING SELF-DEPRECATING.

      Given the aggressive schedule you’ve got for writing, I wonder if there’s the possibility to free up some emotional bandwidth by tackling one of those lingering “Must do” issues every couple of days, as the first thing in the day?

      • maggiedot
        03/05/2017 at 11:43 PM

        Ack! You’re right! It slips in there so insidiously, I didn’t even notice. Thank you for calling me on it! ^_^

        And yes! I probably should tackle those things in the AM, because by mid-afternoon it’s just a lot easier to say, “Oh, I’ll do that tomorrow.” Excellent reminder! I’ll try to pre-assign just one task for the next few days in the AM to see if I can just knock them out one by one, and not try to overload one day.

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