(For more about the Sunday Circle, check out Peter M. Ball’s site!)

HAHAHA! For once I’m actually getting this up ON SUNDAY. (WHAAAA–T?!) As you can see, I’m rather excited about this. But I’m also excited that I’ve finally crawled back on the productive writing wagon, and got quite a sizable bit of fiction done this week. I ended up setting the prolonged short story edit aside, as in the end, it’s just not ready to go out yet and there are still quite a few problems to work out in it. I’d given it a good four months to come together, and while it’s better than it was, it’s still got quite a ways to go. So to the backburner it goes for now to percolate.

I started up the novel project on Monday, and am a good 4k deep into it (though 1k of that will probably come out, because boy, the last scene? Dullsville.) But I’m excited to see that I can A) still write long-form after a long period of focusing solely on short work, and B) that the process I used for other long-form projects still kind of holds water, and has produced some good progress. SO…

This Week I’m Working On: Chugging away at the novel. One scene is definitely going to be rewritten from scratch, but I’m still mentally grinding on what I need there, but all in all, I think things are moving along pretty well. I’m aiming again for 1k/day, as that seems a challenging but doable pace after last week.

This Week I’m Inspired By: It’s not much of an input, but I’ve rediscovered Minecraft. Something about building fortresses and grid-mining has been incredibly relaxing (after I’ve gotten my writing done for the day, of course!). I’ve always just kind of played without purpose, but recently, I started poking around in the various Wikis online and have found some really clever ways to orchestrate various tasks. I typically go through phases of interest in Minecraft, obsessing for a few weeks, and then hitting that existential wall of “this productivity is pointless!” But I still have a good time.

I’ve also been plowing through South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami. I’ve read ten of his books at this point, and really enjoy digging deep into one author. After ten books, you really get a feel for their favored themes, style, character choices, and personal obsessions (classical music, for example, and existentially fraught but mellow everyday men main characters). It’s kind of like seeing how the sausage is made, but I enjoy the intimacy of sinking into another of his books and thinking, “Ah, yes. The emotionally fragile romantic female character. We’ve met before.” I do tend to like his weirder fiction better than his straight-up mainstream stuff, though I do enjoy that, too. But there’s something about the way he eases you into truly bizarre and frightening surrealism that his mainstream work doesn’t quite capture for me. It’s interesting, and makes me want to select some other authors to really read through their entire catalog!

This Week I’m Avoiding: Not actively avoiding, so much as working to focus on keeping the energy up for the current project. I recognized in past long-form projects that when I start writing prose without enthusiasm (simply to “get something on the page”) I end up killing the project (even if I get to an ending) in my own mind. So I’m working very hard to find ways to be energized each day I sit down. Even when I don’t feel like writing, I take some concentrated time to think: “What would make this a fun scene for me? What would make this exciting?” And when I feel even the slightest “Yeah! OK!” then I go for the prose. But writing without it is an easy way to grind to a total inspiration halt. (The key being, of course, that I realize inspiration is something I can actively cultivate within myself, not an external force–though I still love those moments of “the zone” which do seem to come from some other magical place. ^_^)

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