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).

MY CHECK-IN

What am I working on this week?

So the next month is going to be spent doing a draft thesis prospectus for university, which may end up being the 4,000 words most likely to drive me crazy out of all the things I’ve ever written (at least, until I have to write the thesis). I’m also about 1/4 of the way through a novella about dinosaurs, heavy metal, and bounty hunters, but I’m torn between trying to split my time between these two or just going full-tilt at the prospectus draft and clearing it out of the way.

What’s inspiring me this week?

Joe Lansadale’s Vanilla Ride and Devil Red, two more instalments in his Hap and Leonard series. They’re the books where he came back tot he characters after a long delay, so in addition to being fun books they’re also interesting to look at in terms of the thesis, since they mark a series where the characters exist in very different cultural contexts (they suddenly have cell phones and the internet is a thing).

What part of my project an I avoiding?

Making a call on how to balance thesis work and creative work over the next few weeks. Mostly, I suspect, because the call I want to make (‘I’ll just do both’) didn’t work in a way that’s actually useful to me. I always mean to do thesis work, but i’ll usually end up ignoring it after a day writing creatively or dive into it and work obsessively for two or three days where nothing else matters.

This may be a problem with having no way of putting hard edges around the thesis work, so I can measure when a day is ‘done,’ especially since word-count alone isn’t a good measure for these sorts of things.

 

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

    • maggiedot
      09/04/2017 at 11:27 AM

      All the best with the tough edit implementation this week. Sounds like a doozy! (Wonderbook is such an interesting book–I imagine it’s one that brings different revelations at different points in one’s career, too!)

    • 09/04/2017 at 1:32 PM

      You’ve probably already gone through this either with the confirmation readers or in the interim yourself, Charlotte, but just in case:

      Can you take your statement about what interests you in the thesis to the next step – ie. you’ve stated what interests you there, but what is the goal/benefit of knowing the neuroscience behind how writers make their stories work?

      A big hell yeah re: Wonderbook, too! I’m going to try and make the time to dig into my copy this week myself, as it’s been sitting in the “To read next” pile for a while.

    • 09/04/2017 at 5:10 PM

      I feel your rewrite pain, Charlotte. I’m in the middle of something similar myself. And I’m not sure if it will help your PhD project or not but I was initially looking at neuroscience in young adult fiction for my PhD (it ended up morphing into posthumanism) and found that Brain Culture by Davi Johnson Thornton was excellent. It gives insights into the many ways neuroscience has infiltrated western culture and I highly recommend it.

  1. maggiedot
    09/04/2017 at 11:23 AM

    @Peter: Would it be helpful on the prospectus front to set aside a specific amount of time you’d feel good having put towards it in a day? Sometimes getting those “must be done” things out of the way helps give some momentum to other projects too!

    My Sunday Circle is here!

    • 09/04/2017 at 11:59 AM

      Not really. It suffers from the same problem as word-count goals – I don’t yet have enough context around what I’m doing to feel like an hour of work is actually forward progress, or to be confident that devoting set times will result in everything I need to have done by the deadline associated with it.

      It’s kinda like the feeling that comes from switching from short stories to novels, once you’re used to the former. All the processes look the same, but the structures are different enough that everything is unfamiliar and you have to relearn what progress really feels like, plus you have to learn how to edit and structure differently. It’s why i’m considering a NaNo type approach, which sheer quality of content becomes the primary focus, to get me past it.

      • 09/04/2017 at 4:56 PM

        Hi Peter, I think for the thesis the NaNo type approach could definitely work. Sometimes with thesis work you really need to write your way into it with an all guns blazing approach.

      • maggiedot
        10/04/2017 at 7:06 AM

        Yeah, sometimes splitting the attention just doesn’t work when it’s all brain work. Sounds like cranking through it is probably the best and most efficient option in the long run!

  2. 09/04/2017 at 1:26 PM

    Peter: What about approaching the management of time from the other end – setting modest goals on creative output each week, and giving the rest of the time to the thesis? That would allow you to tune and tweak over time from the side of the equation you’re much more familiar with.

    Hope the prospectus is gentle on you this week!

  3. 09/04/2017 at 1:49 PM

    What am I working on this week?
    This week has a booking for a video game gig, progressing the commercial demo work, a mentoring session with the lovely QUT graduate I’m working with, and attending the private screening of a film I’m in about five frames of. 😉

    What’s inspiring me this week?
    I’ve been all but inhaling The Rusty Quill’s Magnus Archives podcast. It’s fricking amazing. It’s a masterclass in choosing modest goals, and knocking them out of the park. The conceit of the podcast is that an archivist at an organisation tasked with investigating reports of paranormal/supernatural incidents reads written statements as part of transcribing them to a new, organised system. The archivist character then gives a closing summary of his opinion of the statement.

    An overarching plot slowly emerges along with a broader cast of characters, but for a long stretch it keeps things uncluttered and simple, and is so. damned. good. I love Black Tapes and Tanis, but they suffer from the same sorts of grand overcomplication and baffling motivation problems you see in stuff like Lost and anything Chris Carter-related.

    I’m also feeling very excited about what the next month holds, as this’ll be the first stretch of time I’ll really be able to take advantage of working full time on voice over for. We get our internet connected Monday, too. WOO! There’s a whole separate conversation about why things feel clearly delineated between an old era and a new at the moment, but this isn’t the space or time to dive down that rabbit hole.

    What part of my project am I avoiding?
    It’s not so much a project, but part of my lizard brain is convinced at the moment that the voice over booth isn’t set up right, and is going to collapse. Which is irrational, but draining.

    A SMALL FAVOUR TO ASK:
    If you have somewhere you could share this link that might not have seen it already, it’s a fantastic help and very much appreciated: http://dev.kevinpowe.com/please_share.html

    • 09/04/2017 at 5:00 PM

      Sounds like lots of good things happening for you Kevin. And life with internet is always a hell of a lot easier than without it.

    • maggiedot
      10/04/2017 at 7:11 AM

      Have fun this week! Sounds like a lot of positive stuff on the slate. And best of luck conquering the lizard brain–at least you can already isolate out the rational from the irrational in what it’s spinning on, though it’s always a bit exhausting dealing with it.

  4. 09/04/2017 at 5:01 PM

    Here’s my Sunday Circle for this week.

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