Trying to keep it brief this week so I do it on time(ish)!

To find out more about the Sunday Circle, check out Peter M. Ball’s blog, Man Vs. Bear.

This week, I’m working on: Summary Draft! I got through the questions that needed thinking on (to a mostly satisfactory degree), so after plugging those into my notebook, I’ll be plunging ahead with the summary draft of the rewrite. I’m going to try to put in an hour a weekday working on the summary draft and see where that gets me by end of Friday. That should give me a better idea of how fast (or slow) this quick draft will take.

This week, I’ve been inspired by: More last week than this week, but Season 16 of Project Runway just wrapped up, and this season more than any other has made me think about creative confidence, aesthetic comfort, and what it means to push oneself creatively. All four of the final contestants were very unique designers, and their method of approaching their final shows were very different. It really drove home the balance between aesthetic/thematic vision and confidence in one’s ability to create (and how that confidence works with or is undermined by (both good and bad) criticism). One of the finalists had a really concrete grip on his aesthetic vision, but was so confident (and had gotten very little criticism) that he didn’t really push himself outside his usual (and somewhat surface/detail-oriented) comfort zone. One was a train wreck of lack of confidence, heavily impressed-upon by negative criticism, until she put confidence in the aesthetic she liked most, and then found confidence in herself through exploring that and ignoring criticism, which served her very well. Another had a very clear thematic vision, and confidence that she had a point of view that needed to be shared, and yet also felt the push to always go further, to apply whatever criticism she received in the way that truly spoke to her (even if it counteracted judging criticisms), and in that way, grew and strengthened her work. (The thematic rather than totally aesthetic vision seemed to help, too: thematic allowed her to reinterpret challenges and diversify her own work, without losing the core of her vision. The designer with the clear aesthetic vision knew what he liked in terms of details and silhouette, but struggled to get outside of that specific style.) The last was confident, then destroyed by negative criticism, and instead of just giving up, he allowed his lack of confidence in his ability to win to drive him to do exactly what he wanted to aesthetically without fear of “not winning” (since he took that as a guarantee), and that ease and joy in his work not only showed in the final products, but also took the pressure off of him and allowed him to take risks he might otherwise have tried to reign in to please the judges. It was a very interesting viewing experience.

Also just started Poldark which I think is my new go-to show.

What action do I need to take this week? I need to commit to a regular work schedule, since I’m getting back to prose-words rather than purely thinking. An hour a day is do-able, but still plenty challenging to fit in.


Oh man, I was completely planning to have a Sunday Circle up on time this week, and yet here we are again, Monday night. Ah well. Sundays must just be tricky days for me to get online. On the plus side, I’m not often on my computer much over the weekend, so I suppose that’s not a terrible thing.

Still chunking away at the novel rewrite. I’ve gotten some good feedback from a few beta readers, and am rounding the bend on getting down some concrete (ish) solutions to all of those issues prior to sitting my tail down and getting a summary draft of the rewrite together so I can truly see if the changes I’m thinking of will be functional fixes.

This Week, I’m Working on: Getting the last handful of issues resolved and answering some final questions regarding secondary character motivation and world-building concerns. I’ve been carrying around a pocket of notecards with the questions scrawled on them, and I’m trying my damnedest to answer at least one a day. If I can manage that, then by Saturday, I should be able to import the solutions into the revision notebook, and hopefully kickstart Sunday by beginning the official Summary Draft – Version 2.0.

This Week, I’m Inspired By: Just finished reading A Question of Balance: Artists and Writers on Motherhood by Judith Pierce Rosenberg, and it’s been very helpful in squaring my inner critic with reality. The vast majority of the women interviewed were fairly career-established by the time they had children, but it’s been really comforting to see their takes on the day-to-day struggle of creating things with small children about. I definitely came away from it feeling charged, challenged, and in many ways vindicated that yes, it is hard to create with toddlers around, particularly because producing art of any kind is so much a mental process, and mental space is often hard to come by when surrounded by little ones. It’s also helped me to recognize where I may at times excuse myself for not getting quite as much done when really, I could get a bit (not a lot, but a bit) more accomplished with a little more time given to achievable goal-setting, and by simply (—AHHHH, since typing this paragraph I’ve had to get up three times to get my son various items for the game he’s playing, and the near incessant stream of chatter is making it very difficult to concentrate on writing a cohesive sentence…AAAAANd…I’ve lost my train of thought…) ANYWAY: It’s hard. Pro-artists and pro-writers find it hard, too, so it’s not just me. It will get easier. It will get harder, in ways, too. But I picked up quite a few nuggets of inspiration and support along the way, so I’m feeling a bit rejuvenated and ready to hit the words running.

Also, any notebook threads on Pinterest. PILES OF NOTEBOOKS. They make me so happy… <3

What Action Do I Need to Take?: Well, I actually kind of tackled this yesterday night, but I needed to sit down and take a serious look at long-term goals and what smaller steps I might take towards the end of this year and into next year to get closer to those goals. And I did that! So I’m feeling pretty confident that I can end the year strong and be a little more focused next year. Otherwise: reading. I’d really like to wrap the year with a couple more books under the belt, so I need to make sure I give myself that time.

To be fair, I wrote this up yesterday, but then completely forgot about posting it. >_O Naturally.

It’s been a productive-ish week, I think, though most of the work has been brain-work, so there’s not much to show for it. BUT! I did spend quite a bit of time just thinking and testing out some ideas, and managed to do a fair bit of backwards-facing world-building (not from the creation myth as I’d expected, but from much nearer at hand, building backwards, which has been…interesting, but also possibly very useful). Everything’s still in that primordial soup phase, so nothing’s set in stone, but I feel like the current I’m on is drifting in the right direction, so that’s something.

Also got back to a regular yoga practice, and oh MAN, that’s been nice. I had no idea how much it helps stretch out my side and back, and I need that more than I ever realized. So that’s something to continue this next week, too.

What I’m working on this week: More thinking. The past week’s brainstorming sessions, though weird and wispy, have produced some good nuggets of character and world-building that have given me some handholds for moving forward. There are a lot of little world-building details I still need to work out, and still hammering on about the villain’s motivations. I’m closer now, but nothing has quite clicked into place yet.

What’s motivated me this week?: Finished the mask for Bug’s costume! It actually turned out pretty well, and I’m kind of delighted with it. Now the question of whether or not he’ll wear it for Halloween… XD

Also just broke open my quill/pen and ink set and started messing around with that which has been immensely fun, even just in the short term. Not sure where it’s going yet, but I’ve got lots of techniques to practice, so that’s fun.

Media-wise, we just finished the first season of The Good Place, which was pretty fun, though I’m not 100% convinced they knew where they were going, though I didn’t dislike it. Also just watched The Boss Baby (because we’re in that phase), and was a bit disappointed. I kind of expected them to rely heavily on the Baby-Talks-Like-Alec Baldwin gag, but by the end of the film, I didn’t feel they’d done anything all that surprising or interesting with the story, and my eyes were completely dry at the emotional peaks (which since the birth of my son, is a sign somebody missed the emotional mark, because I am an easy cryer, especially for anything cute and or “zomg brothers love each other!” *sobz* I literally (literally, for the whole 2 hours) sobbed through Wall-E the first time I saw it, simply because it was so cute and so sweet and zomg the planet neeeeeeedzez us! (My husband was worried I hated the movie and that I was that disappointed, I was crying so hard.) So if you can’t get me at least tearing up by the end (I mean, my word, Trolls got me crying!<–EASY TARGET), the emotional arc hit a flat note. (Storks got me crying, too! <–I’m serious! EASY TARGET!) Pretty much anything with kids should get me to tears. (Play the opening theme of Kiki’s Delivery Service, and I’m practically sobbing. Because it’s so happy.<–EASY TARGET.)

*ahem* Also been inspired by the writing process. I think I’m finally starting to admit to myself that I am not a pantser. I want to be a pantser. I like the idea of being a pantser. But the more I tackle this edit, the more I realize that other processes of planning and extensive outlining I’ve used in the past are both more fun for me, and don’t hinder my excitement or creativity in the writing, and they do keep me from falling into structural pits later that I’m loathed to crawl out of… I’m recognizing that with a strong lazy streak, taking the time to plan ahead and take my time could very well be my salvation. I’m hoping to test a little of this theory in the coming rewrite.

What action do I need to take this week?: Un-writing related, but I’ve got to finish Bug’s costume. I’ve got a shirt to dye, a tail to sew (and maybe dye a little), and then it’s done, but I know it’s something I could so easily put off, having worked most of the weekend on the mask already…

Turning in this Sunday Circle (á la author Peter M. Ball‘s site) a tad late this week, post-weekend travel. It’s been a good week, though we’re getting into a period of the editing process I’m not quite sure how to quantify. I did have some lovely fresh ideas bubbling up for possible solutions to some of the story problems in the novel, and feel like I’m moving in the right direction, but there’s still a lot of legwork to be done. That said, I did get my problem list organized and imported into the work notebook, so that feels good. Didn’t get much reading done, though, so that’s a bit meh, but my priorities on reading may be shifting a bit as I start work on some of the big-picture issues.

Did restart my minimal yoga practice, though, and man that helped. Stretches out all the places where perpetual slumping really gets to me, and it made me more aware of my overall posture, too, during the week. So that’s definitely getting some priority attention this week.

What I’m working on: This week, I really need to sit down and do some mythic world-building for the novel’s background. I’m hoping that by starting with the creation myth(s), I may be able to isolate the real-world facts to build on and direct them where I need them to be by the start of this particular story. I also need to spend a little time focusing on the major motivation and goals of my villain, which were squiffy at best in Draft One, but really need to be hammered down for story-logic purposes. I’m trapped between the two boulders of “weak world-building” and “weak driving villain,” and they both kind of need to come together simultaneously, which I’m a little worried about…

But by this time next week, I know I want that creation myth hammered out, and maybe have spend an hour or two brainstorming on the villain.

What’s inspiring me this week?: The yoga practice, actually. It’s been a major physical game-changer, even though it’s so short and not particularly hard. Yet somehow it makes a noticable difference in the day-to-day, and it’s made me realize how much I slouch. Like…constantly. So I’m working on that and inspired by the positive changes I feel.

Also, just started watching The Good Place, which is…interesting. I like it, I’ve gotten a few great laughs out of it, and am very curious to see how it develops.

Oh! And these masks by Wintercroft. We got the woodland creatures set to use as a cardboard base for Bug’s halloween costume (he’s going as Nick Wilde from Zootopia), and it had a rabbit mask in it too, so I now must go as “Officer Hops” whom he’s been asking me to “talk like” for the past week… She’s got…a very perky dialogue style…

What action I need to take: I really need to figure out how I’m going to direct, drive, and track this next phase of the editing process. It’s very think-heavy, but not very production heavy, and it’s not something I want to rush (but, conversely, I don’t want it to drag on and on simply because it can…) It may be a matter of picking a problem to solve and trying to get it resolved by X day, but it’s such a non-linear process, I’m not sure that’ll be so helpful…