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 the short story for last week, after getting distracted by PhD research through most of last week (it took about eight hours after getting library access for me to revert to a person who paces the length of the house, arguing with theorists and gesturing wildly). I did manage to pull the story draft and identify the major issues I was having during write-club last week, which means there are core problems that need to be solved in this week’s writing time.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I went to see the Amanda Palmer gig at the Brisbane Powerhouse last night. It was an incredibly uneven show compared to other Palmer shows I’ve seen, but what was inspiring about it was less the content and more the approach.

The show ended up being about three hours long, and swung from oh god, really to oh, this is fucking awesome along the way. Which actually makes it a pretty good microcosm of an artistic career, where the good stuff tends to come from doing less-good things and dedicating yourself to the long haul gives the really brilliant stuff a chance to show up.

Couple that with my general fascination with the way Palmer interacts with her fans, and it makes for a really interesting show.

What part of my project an I avoiding?

Still struggling with what my schedule should look like now that I’m not working around a day-job. I haven’t really divided up writing and research elements of my uni project yet, which means it’s incredibly easy to suddenly find myself going down a rabbit hole of productive distraction from the task at hand.

This week is ostensibly a little more controlled than last week was, with a better understanding of what my schedule will look like, so I’m going to try assigning some dedicated writing and research blocks that will at least let me know how accurate my guesses are.

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

  1. 05/02/2017 at 1:48 PM

    Hi Peter, sounds like you’ve thrown yourself right into the PhD. And while structure is important in the PhD process, the “rabbit hole of productive distraction” is equally important. That’s why it’s a long haul research project because what you end up with is never what you start with. It’s a truism that the PhD is a marathon, not a sprint, and you never know where the rabbit hole will lead you.

    • 07/02/2017 at 12:59 PM

      Have you seen Dior & I? It’s a modern documentary, and the best bit about it was the contrast of the Haute Couture world with the often very ordinary teams scrambling behind the scenes.

      • 07/02/2017 at 5:27 PM

        No I haven’t heard of it. I’ll have to add it to my to-watch list. Thanks for the heads up.

        • maggiedot
          12/02/2017 at 11:39 PM

          Ooo, yeah! Dior & I is great too!

  2. karinacoldrick
    05/02/2017 at 8:53 PM

    Hey guys, Happy New Year! Congratulations on getting into the PhD, Peter. And, wow, Ree, no procrastination. Keep that momentum rolling…

    What am I working on this week?
    Key Scenes. I have the characters where I want them, the story flowing, and now I want it to move, move, move to those major plot points. Although this is still the Fun Flimsy, I took a break last month and finished a short story with lots of sci fi elements just to see if I could be productive in a short time frame. Getting that done really improved my overall writing mood and shows that sometimes it’s the project that’s the problem.

    What’s inspiring me this week?
    So, late as always to the party, we’ve just finished watching series 1 of Supergirl and I SO LOVE THAT SHOW. The positivity, the characterisation, the proactive approach to diversity, the tips-of-the-hat to the original Christopher Reeve Superman movies which were FUN rather than existentially angsty. Problem is, it’s over now and all that’s coming in from real worlds news feeds are retrograde, negative bigotry. Hence, we’ve booked flights to Australia so I can see family and friends and go to the Romance Writers Conference in Brisbane.

    What part of my project an I avoiding?
    I’m actively avoiding my tendency to overcomplicate my plots and second guess myself. This is what keeps holding my productivity back. Adding hoops and circuits I run around trying to link to another subplot by deleting or rewriting. No more! I don’t have the word count in this story to do that while keeping character arcs consistent and relationship development meaningful.

    • maggiedot
      06/02/2017 at 12:37 AM

      Hi Karina! Congrats on the short story! (And also congrats so much on the shortlist you got a month or so ago! I kept meaning to email a proper congrats, but I kept getting caught up in holidays and travel. But SUPER CONGRATS! :D)

      Best of luck roping in the complications. There are so many lovely subplot branches one could explore, but like you said, at the end of the day, each additional subplot can draw strength away from the central plot. But they’re so shiny! ^_^

    • 06/02/2017 at 5:28 PM

      Sounds like you have everything under control Karina. Avoiding over complication makes all things better!

    • 07/02/2017 at 1:02 PM

      Happy New Year, and this means I WILL SEE YOU AT THE CONFERENCE! Huzzah!

      Regarding your last paragraph, have you read Henry Lawson’s short story “The Loaded Dog”? I find it an incredibly useful metaphor to stop me doing exactly that.

  3. maggiedot
    06/02/2017 at 12:59 AM

    @Peter: Best of luck with the short story reworking! Identifying the problem always seems to be the biggest part of the battle, though implementing the fixes can be tricky. Good luck!

    For once, I’m actually posting on the right day! Hooray! Hopefully post-travel/post-holidays things will get back to a reasonable norm. My Sunday Circle is here!

  4. 07/02/2017 at 12:55 PM

    What am I working on?
    – A piece of art for an upcoming group show in Minneapolis, which is also an illustration for my Masters project.
    – Working out how to make the beginning of a manuscript more Gothic.
    – Setting up for a series of illustrations I didn’t mean to avoid doing, but which now have the weight of several months’ dust on the initial momentum.

    What’s inspiring me?
    – I’m reading The Road to Middlemarch, and the glimpses of George Eliot’s working process and choices and personality are fascinating. Quite interesting to keep reading this after the Amanda Palmer show, actually, for the contrasts but career-focus.
    – I just finished season 3 of Ripper Street and continue to find its use of tropes and time shifts very interesting.
    – Just how charming the 1980 Love in a Cold Climate is, and why – a kindness even about its most dreadful people. I particularly like Uncle Davy: nervous, judgemental, hypochondriacal, judicious, brave (if prepared) and beloved. I.e. not the way That Sort Of Character usually trends.

    What am I avoiding?
    – Reading. Not active avoidance so much as that I’ve been increasing my base working hours.
    – Starting things early enough. I still wait for panic to give me a push. But I’m getting better and start times are creeping back.
    – Admin’s suffering a bit too, but that’s for the same reason as reading.

    • 07/02/2017 at 5:30 PM

      I’ve been finding it hard to put aside time for reading, too. This last weekend I barely did any at all. Of course, that could partly be a reaction to my 2-day marathon reading of the 720 page A Little Life at the end of January… I’m keen to hear more about the Minneapolis exhibition – make sure you keep us posted.

  5. 07/02/2017 at 12:57 PM

    Peter, it will be interesting to hear how the dedicated blocks work out. I’ve found it useful for working out what works, while still getting stuff done!

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