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?

Running a little late on this check in today because Saturday/Sunday was swallowed by GenreCon promo as we counted down the last ten tickets. Ten minutes ago we sold out, so my brain is switching over to this week’s project list.

Still working on Project Beeman this week, as a bunch of unexpected demands on my time (and a computer glitch on Monday that wiped out a days work) meant very little forward momentum. I’ve now hit the point where my reluctance to work on it may also mean that I’m actually stuck on a part of the plot, so I’ll be going back and do a read-through of what’s already done tomorrow morning.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I ran an In Conversation with CS Pacat on Friday evening, which mean there were plenty of chances to ask another writer about their process and the parts of their practice that they’re obsessing about. Talking to other writers about what they do is pretty much the best part of my job, and Pacat talked a lot about the notion of narrative traction which plays into a lot of reading I’ve been doing lately.

What action do you really need to take?

I’ve got a small mess of admin tasks that are important enough to bother me, but not important enough that I put them ahead of other tasks during my week. It’s little things like updating the Sunday Circle banner to include this question, instead of the old one, and actually sitting down and figuring out processes for some projects I’m looking to kick off after GenreCon is over.

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

  1. 30/07/2017 at 7:19 PM

    Great news that Genre Con has sold out Pete (well, it is for people like me who already have their tix). It’s an achievement for it to be fully booked more than 3 months in advance. Testament to the hard work put in by you & the Genre Con team.
    I don’t really know what narrative traction is. Can you give a quick precis?

    • 30/07/2017 at 8:22 PM

      I can completely sympathise on the Facebook/time-wasting website trap. Have you found using tools like Forest helps at all? (sites where you can specify websites to block for a period of time, or that reward you if you go for a specified period of time without accessing them?)

      I find it’s really tricky to avoid getting sucked into Facebook when professional communication happens via FB, too!

      Regarding the short story – if you can maybe leave it for a week, and take a walk to mull over it perhaps? Your advice to shelve the video production project really helped me – it came to me via just letting it percolate that it was a fear of Not Making Something Perfect that was making me drag my feet. Maybe background processing will point out what the missing element is more efficiently than perseverance?

      • 31/07/2017 at 6:47 PM

        thanks Kevin. When it comes to FB I just need to close the browser down! But if I continue to have problems I might give Forest a go.
        I went back to this particular short story after a 6 or 7 week break and although it’s better than what it was, it’s still not quite there. I do have an inkling about what it might be so I’ll give it another go this week. If not, yes, then it’s rest time again.

  2. 30/07/2017 at 8:10 PM

    What am I working on this week?
    More meetings this week to get advice around the tentpole animated series project – had a string of generous people willing to give time for advice, yay! (I really need to come up with a consistent codename for this project as per Peter’s musing on his own work, otherwise it gets confusing)

    Progressing the film recording (feels like we’re on the final stretch now) and also necessary logistics around proposing a panel for PAX on narrative and performance in video games. Also continuing training in stage combat for quarterstaff! Whee! I’m actually excited about the prospect of doing a quarterly review this week, too. Looking forward to charting a course through the next three months with some strategy (feeling like the purpose behind these routines is starting to click more firmly into place)

    I’m also tinkering with a little mock trailer idea that occurred to me after taking some video in the snow a couple of weeks ago – I think this sort of unnecessary creating (as per Todd Henry’s terms) is probably the most useful way of moving the idea of creating video content forward in a meaningful way and scratching that itch./

    What’s inspiring me this week?
    I’m finding that the weekly dashboard is really helping focus on the numbers that need to move to make a difference. It’s still been a bit of a lean week waiting for invoices to get paid, but I’m choosing to focus on the part of the equation I *can* influence. And it feels like moving forward.

    Media-wise, there hasn’t really been anything that’s stopped me in my tracks over the last week, although I’ve been enjoying the final stretch of Dead Space 2. I’m looking forward to sitting down at home and watching VVitch (or, Witch? the 2015 horror film) tomorrow night, seeing as it’s available free on Foxtel Now, which I’m SUPER-surprised works with our dodgy internet.

    What action do you really need to take?
    I’ve been revising advice on auditioning recently, but I really need to double down on this to make the process of analysing copy as painless as possible. Getting more auditions in the door is secondary to making the process of responding to them more automatic.

    What resources can be we bring to the table to help you in your work?
    (being cheeky and bringing this question in, as I could use some help this week)

    I’ve been finding it more and more difficult to keep creeping doubt and negativity at bay when numbers week-to-week haven’t been what I’d hope for. I still think objectively I’m doing good work, as the feedback from coaches (and clients) is really positive, but I’m starting to get white-anted psychologically by the creeping negative self-talk. Any suggestions on practical steps to take to combat this would be VERY much appreciated!

    • 31/07/2017 at 6:57 PM

      Training in stage combat with a quarterstaff sounds awesome Kevin.
      As for dealing with the negative self-talk, it can be a bugger, & I think most creative types struggle with it. But what works for me is going back over the good feedback I’ve had from people about my work. People don’t give positive feedback for no reason. They mean it. Depending on what form the feedback is in, you could write it on a whiteboard in your work space, or on a card stuck on your wall. Our brains can sometimes be quite stupid but when the objective feedback from others is there in black and white, it’s harder for the brain to argue back 🙂

  3. 30/07/2017 at 8:14 PM

    Peter: it sounds like those admin tasks are taking resources from you on a day to day basis – can you start strategically closing loops by picking them off one at a time?

    Huge congrats on selling out GenreCon, too! I wish I could be there this year, but planning for GDC next year is sadly gonna take up any spare financial resources.

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