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?

Managed to rough out a first act for the novelette I started last week, but there’s a lot of gaps in the narrative. I’m experimenting with a particular approach to workflow at the moment – working quarter by quarter, revising as I go, so I’ve started typing up the hand-written draft and fleshing out the scenes that need it. Probably leaning a little stronger towards novella as a result, and my goal this week is to get the next quarter hand-written and the first act fully typed up.

What’s inspiring me this week?

I’m spending some quality time on the Inhabitat blog again, collating articles like this one and this one about the intersection of algae farming, architecture, and air quality. I’ll be on-deck to start drafting the first instalment of my thesis series next month and there’s an awful lot of space-based settlement involved, so I’m starting to think through the look and feel of the setting alongside the science of keeping humans alive in the vacuum or hostile environments.

What part of my project an I avoiding?

I got a lot better at hitting a work/life balance over the last week, but I’m rapidly coming up against the problem of too-many-tasks, not-enough-time. There are currently three things I’m trying to cram into the 9-5 work day: GenreCon work, creative work, reading and annotating theory for the thesis. Getting the right balance is tough, and I still haven’t quite got it down yet.

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

  1. 09/07/2017 at 12:55 PM

    Peter: how’d you go last week with making a start on thesis reading & notes? (kudos on the novelette progress, too!)

    • 09/07/2017 at 7:48 PM

      That was the part that got squeezed out, unfortunately. It’s been transferred over to this week’s goals.

      • 10/07/2017 at 3:38 PM

        All the best re the balance. I have so many thesis books to hit once I’m home.

  2. 09/07/2017 at 1:00 PM

    What am I working on this week?
    The cough persists post-cold, making recording difficult. So this week is working on video content, and some promotional/back-office stuff for both the voice acting consultancy and tech consulting. Also more research and reach-out for the tentpole project, and a mentoring session this Friday.

    What’s inspiring me this week?
    Three separate threads – horror, romanticism, and cyberpunk. I’m still in the last stages of Danse Macabre and loving it, and going to make a concerted effort to polish this off along with Harold Clurman’s On Direction. Brain has started getting tickled by cyberpunk again, so thinking of making another deep dive into that in the near future via films or series. Given how distinct these three threads are, trying to limit them down to at least two separate threads instead of the three for fear of making no real progress in exploration of any of them, and running around in aimless circles.

    What part of my project am I avoiding?
    Video content production continues to stall, or be limited to minor technical breakthroughs. Need to sit and seriously think about where this block is coming from – I suspect there’s an unknown that’s unsettling me, or something about the definition of the project that’s not as good a fit as I thought. Whatever it is, it’s not conscious.

    • 09/07/2017 at 1:28 PM

      Ooh – I almost forgot. As part of falling down the horror rabbit hole, I’ve started playing Dead Space 2 and I’m remembering how good it is to be scared by an immersive horror experience again.

      (things I’d forgotten about the game: it apparently launched with an ill-considered Smashing Pumpkins soundtrack for the trailer. I guess the band was cooler before Billy Corgan went way off the map)

    • 09/07/2017 at 1:42 PM

      Hi Kevin, maybe you’re better off leaving the video content production for a while? Sometimes a break from a project can give you the clarity you need to sort out what’s blocking you. Sometimes, the creative answer just needs to show up in its own good time.

      • 11/07/2017 at 11:11 AM

        I think you’ve hit the nail on the head here. Thank you!

        I need to put this aside for a while, until I can come at it from a surprise angle.

    • 10/07/2017 at 3:40 PM

      Oh, SURELY you can combine those threads- that would be awesome!

      • 11/07/2017 at 11:15 AM

        That’s… an interesting puzzle. I’m not sure how romanticism and cyberpunk would mesh, given that they’re almost intrinsically opposed.

        Puzzle aside, trying to run down all three back alleys to get a sense of them does feel a little scattered at the moment, and something that’d benefit from tighter focus. 🙂

  3. 09/07/2017 at 1:38 PM

    Hi Peter, I envy your ability to hand write drafts. My handwriting is so awful I can barely read anything I’ve written. I’m interested to know, what do you think are the main advantages handwriting gives you in terms of the strength of your writing?

    • 09/07/2017 at 7:55 PM

      My handwriting is horrible with ballpoints, but I’ve discovered that investing in a better quality of pen tends to improve things a good deal. Pentel Energel’s have been my jam for a little over a year now, and I’m only likely to move on when I finally break down and try a fountain pen.

      My drift towards handwriting is largely a matter of focus and forward momentum – there’s no other projects or distractions attached to a notebook, and there is no choice but to keep moving forward with the rough draft. On a computer I have a tendency to tinker and try and fix things as I go, which isn’t always the method that works for me.

      It also lets me keep working in the hour I usually try to go digital-free before bed.

      • 09/07/2017 at 8:12 PM

        Hmm, I’ve never thought of trying with different pens. I might give that a go. Thanks.

        • 09/07/2017 at 8:29 PM

          This article was the one that originally convinced me to make the switch, and lays out the logic of doing so pretty well (although it does a lot more correlation equating to causation than I’m comfortable with)

  4. 09/07/2017 at 1:39 PM

    Away last week camping in a no-internet zone but back again – here’s my Sunday Circle.

    • 10/07/2017 at 3:42 PM

      Huzzah for the acceptance!

    • 11/07/2017 at 11:25 AM

      Kudos for the acceptance, and the rejections! Both are good signs of progress.

      The festival sounds fantastic – the resilience of First Nations people is always something to behold in the face of hundreds of years of colonial dickery. Are you ever tempted to bring Aboriginal culture into your own work? I find it a bit of a dilemma personally – ignoring it, particularly in genre work, feels like erasure. But folding it into something feels like appropriation…

      • 11/07/2017 at 7:00 PM

        Hi Kevin, it is tricky not to tread into cultural appropriation territory but the Australia Council has produced a range of protocols on working with Indigenous artists. There is one for writers, which is helpful & has good advice. I have written a couple of stories that feature Aboriginal characters. One is a horror story that will be published later this year, & deals with frontier wars. The other is a time travel story that also deals with the same topic, but in a less confrontational way. (I haven’t found a place for it yet but I live in hope.) I am very, very careful with the way I write these stories and always consult with Aboriginal friends about content (even if they don’t actually read it, I talk to them about the content & get their advice). I never write from the perspective of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. If you’re interested in looking at the protocols you can find them here

        • 15/07/2017 at 9:41 AM

          Thank you for that response – that’s a huge help!

  5. 10/07/2017 at 3:55 PM

    I am typing this on my phone at 1 AM in Minneapolis. So it may be a little stilted. (Actually, I’m trying to dictate it, which may not make it better).

    What I’m working on this week

    – Putting together the workshop for Readercon. Kevin, it turns out the next step, or rather the first step, was to attend a few other workshops and take notes on how they were constructed. So I’ve done that.

    – I’m pretty sure I will have some illustration jobs to finish once I hear from the art directors.

    – Otherwise, I’m taking tomorrow off to see Minneapolis and meet up with some locals before heading to Boston and Readercon.

    What’s inspiring me

    – Mostly workshops and being around artists 24/7. As far as I can tell, Minneapolis is full of illustrators and board game designers. There’s a high from getting to watch how people tell stories visually – and this weekend’s workshop was by a luminary in the alternative movie poster scene, which aded in layers.

    – Getting outside. The gallery folk are very outdoorsy, and we spent part of this scratchboard workshop outside making notes for reference.

    What I’m avoiding

    – There are great difficulties involved in getting any work done on my computer. I need to improve how I work when I travel.

    – I’m not getting enough reading done (see: travel).

    • 11/07/2017 at 11:20 AM

      Thanks for the follow-up on that question, Kathleen!

      It sounds like you’re in the middle of a rewarding, intense stretch! Do you find you need to snatch a little downtime back during periods like this, or are you more extroverted in terms of how you regain energy?

      • 13/07/2017 at 10:24 AM

        I really, really need to get better at taking some time to go and be alone and get work or thinking done. But also I want to talk to all the people and hear all the things and see all the pictures, so…
        At least I made myself spend an hour working after arriving at the hotel and before telling anyone I was here.

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