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?

Top of the list this week is getting about 1250 words on my thesis chapter written, walking people through the concepts I’ll need them to be aware of before I get into the really meaty bits of talking about the differences between writing series and writing closed narratives. I’m hoping that the relatively low pace (approximately 250 words a day on my designated writing days) will be enough to keep me focused and contained, rather than freaking out.

My secondary projects are getting back to work on Hell Track and kicking around the novelette that does not currently have a name. My main goal is to do some work on these every day, through November and December, so I’m still in touch with the projects and ready to pick them up once the thesis chapter is done.

What’s inspiring me this week?

Given that it was mentioned in both my newsletter and the blog earlier this week, it’s probably not a huge surprise that David Mittel’s Complex TV has set my brain buzzing over the last seven days. A fantastic look at how television has changed since the advent of the DVD boxed set, with a prolonged study of how that has affected the way we read character, storyworld, etc. Not just a useful book for writing, but a useful model for approaching the study of series I’m doing for my PhD exegesis. I’ve not had a book get me this hyped up when I consider how narrative works in years, and I can’t wait to start pulling apart the ideas and apply them to fiction.

What action do I need to take?

I fell back into the habit of blogging last week and I’m tempted to go back to daily posting for a while. This does mean I’d need to start developing a content plan and finding an extra two hours a day to write a post (or, it should be noted, look at doing quicker, shorter posts than the 2000-word average I tend to write once I start exploring an idea).

If anyone’s got any concepts they’d like to see covered, drop me a line.

Also: the first Sunday Circle kicked off on the 29th of November, 2015, which means this is probably our two-year anniversary. Thanks to everyone for being involved – hopefully the weekly check-in and discussion has been as useful for you as it has for me.

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

  1. 26/11/2017 at 2:33 PM

    Good luck with the writing and the blogging! I’m looking forwards to more posts from you again. 🙂

    My Sunday Circle is here.

  2. 26/11/2017 at 3:55 PM

    Peter: Quick question about the daily blogging: what do you find is the major benefit behind a daily schedule to justify that time investment? Knowing how careful you are with your time, I’m imagining that 2 hours is justified as well spent…

    • 26/11/2017 at 3:58 PM

      Also, how’d you go with the downtime?

    • 28/11/2017 at 10:51 AM

      Weighting up the value proposition is largely what I’m doing. The real advantage of it is clarifying thinking and creating an ongoing paratext that shapes people’s engagement with the rest of my work, which is something that has both benefits and thinking. It also has the secondary effect of building up profile, which is something that gets much harder when you’re indie publishing than it is when you’re traditionally published.

      The downside of it is the time, and balancing what else could be done with those two hours. Is the paratext and audience acquisition. It’s an easy thing to balance when writing (and life) is going well, but far harder to balance when things are getting complicated.

      • 30/11/2017 at 12:01 PM

        I’ve been a lurker here for months if not years. I’m *this * close to joining, but I’m so all over the map re my writing these days that it doesn’t seem right to join in yet, as I only bring baby steps to the table. I may join/respond as a terrified writer taking her first steps towards essay writing. I love the commitment and accountability inherent in posting my progress, yet have been reluctant to take the first step. Part of me feels too neurotic to join in, even as it feels like a connection not to be missed.
        I’m grateful for your blog, and for all whom post. xx

        • 09/01/2018 at 1:16 PM

          I feel terrible for taking so long to respond to this, BUT.

          PLEASE DO JOIN! Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good – there is no bar to be passed in order to join the conversation, and it’d be wonderful to have another regular participant! And incremental change is the best change, too!

  3. 26/11/2017 at 4:14 PM

    What am I working on this week?
    Clearing tax off the list is still the biggest thing to do. It’s been bumped back thanks to triaging time over the last few weeks again and again. Getting back to a daily schedule of reading for research and starting to build narrative skills. Continuing to push to get the recording done for the film project. Getting some lead generation work done.

    What’s inspiring me this week?
    A change to the weekly schedule to block time a little more cleanly (swapping the day I’m looking after my daughter from Monday to Friday) is already making a huge difference in reducing the stop/start nature of the week.

    Media-wise, I’ve been enjoying Netflix’s The Punisher, primarily for Jon Bernthal’s intense performance. Also reading through Starship Troopers currently and enjoying it – it’s been a long while since I’ve read some fiction to just plow through. Although I’m conscious that both of those pieces of media have… interesting politics that I’m not on board for.

    What action do I really need to take?
    Now that energy levels are back up, and I’ve done my quarterly review, I really need to get that tax return out of the way as the next major strategic thing.

    • maggiedot
      28/11/2017 at 7:33 AM

      Best of luck with the taxes! Blech, no fun. But it’ll feel so great to have it done and out of the way. ^_^ And hooray for streamlining the week!

  4. 26/11/2017 at 8:55 PM

    What am I working on this week?

    All the bits and pieces that go into setting up your author presence online. This is a combination of constructing a WordPress site piece by piece, complete with an unimpressive template, and finding all the other outposts where you need to create a profile.

    What’s inspiring me this week?

    I am a bit too fascinated by the concept of LitRPG. As an ex-MMO gamer, the subgenre has a perhaps predictable amount of appeal to me. The people who write in it seem to consider Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One as a core text, so I’ve started reading that. I have a couple of other samples queued up on my Kindle app.

    What action do I really need to take?

    I need a marketing plan for January. This is a matter of sitting down and working through a lot of bits and pieces I’ve collected for the purpose, to marshall them into a list of actions. Right now, it’s queued up for after I sort out cover art.

    Start researching 1800s England. I should probably be doing this instead of reading Ready Player One, but maybe it’s okay to balance all the author tasks with something that’s more about fun.

    • 26/11/2017 at 8:58 PM

      The above comment was also a test to see which URL WordPress thought I wanted to use. Wrong one, WordPress. Off to fix it I go…

    • 27/11/2017 at 8:20 PM

      Would be interested to hear how you find Ready Player One, Sean. I’ve read some reviews that paint it as a bit of a mess, and on the other hand have friends who really dig it.

      Is the cover art necessary for planning out the marketing actions, or just their execution?

      • 28/11/2017 at 8:20 AM

        At 16% of the way through Ready Player One my impression is “self indulgent” but I think that’s the point.

        The cover art isn’t necessary for the marketing planning I, ah, plan to do. It’s just a matter of bandwidth. I should have concept art early this week and whatever it needs from me is about the most important thing I can do this week.

        Debating watching The Punisher. I always thought he worked best as a contrast character to other superheroes. By himself he’s mostly just an 80s action hero. I take it they give Jon Bernthal plenty to do?

    • maggiedot
      28/11/2017 at 7:35 AM

      Sounds like a lot on your plate this week, but sounds like Ready Player One is a nice way to break up the load. How do you organize/tackle your research process?

      • 28/11/2017 at 8:31 AM

        Research for me is includes a few things. 1) Continuously casting out the nets and saving interesting things away. I have no idea what I’ll do with “The Victorian Internet” (by Tom Standage) but it just seems too useful to forget. 2) Hitting up Wikipedia and finding out about things like “The Clapham Sect”, who apparently had a lot to do with abolishing the slave trade in the British Empire. 3) Cheating by being close enough to go on a walking tour in Rye, in East Sussex, and learning all about how and why it used to be a centre of the smuggler trade.

        If I just keep pouring it into my brain it’ll become useful at some point, right?

        You know, this is probably something Pete has a system for.

        • maggiedot
          28/11/2017 at 9:03 AM

          Very cool. I’m always interested in how people start tackling the massive amounts of info needed to write period-specific pieces! Thanks for sharing!

        • 28/11/2017 at 10:58 AM

          Not for historical stuff. I used to keep badgering historical novelists about this (and programming con panels about it), trying to understand what systems they used for researching their works. Then I sat in on a lunch with various people who did historic work and realised that they it was basically what they did for fun – reading this stuff and absorbing it and applying they stuff they found interesting in stories was where they lived and breathed. A lot of the research was done before they ever actually sat down and started writing, because it had been in their heads all along (and *then* they’d start reading to fix particular gaps that came up in writing).

          After that, I just settled for immersing myself a lot: pick the era, read/watch a bunch of stuff (fiction and non-fiction) about two years before I think I’ll need it, and then go digging when it’s absolutely necessary.

  5. 27/11/2017 at 3:58 AM

    Really enjoying the posts! Can’t wait to see more. 🙂

    @Kevin: Sorry for the late reply! Usually at night before bed, if I’m smart enough to get there early enough. That should probably be another goal for this week!

    My Sunday Circle is here!

    • 27/11/2017 at 9:20 PM

      I hear you on it being challenging to put the necessary time in the work schedule.

      I’ve been having some success with the Streaks app to track behaviour for the things that really need to happy (like the hour a day in your case) – might be worth trying?

      • maggiedot
        28/11/2017 at 7:36 AM

        Ooo, I’ll definitely check it out! Anything that helps me get a better gauge on my time…

    • 28/11/2017 at 11:01 AM

      The Project Runway thing is interesting. One of the things that I learned from two years of watching *terrible* movies is the difference it made when a film had ambition and failed spectacularly, rather than simply setting out to deliver an okay movie that was 100% in the director’s comfort zone.

      I would much rather watch a train-wreck of a film that was trying to do something interesting and surprising than something that just delivered the film I expected from the title.

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