The Sunday Circle: Check-In

Every Sunday, author Peter M. Ball hosts The Sunday Circle over on his blog. It’s essentially a spot for creatives of a variety of forms to check in with each other, encourage each other, and it’s a great place to hold myself accountable for personal creative goals. I’m chiming in a little late this week (Peter and the crew are mostly located in Australia, so being way over here on the East Coast means the Sunday Circle for me is more like The Late Saturday Night If I Remember On Time Circle), but here goes!

What am I working on this week?

I’ve been cheating a little this past week, stepping back from a word-pruning project to sneak away into a new novel outline, but I’ve been having a ridiculous blast. And for the first time in weeks, I feel like I’m exploding with ideas! So I’m going to let that energy continue by indulging in the outline process, while also being a responsible writer and getting back to the edit at least ten minutes a day to make progress.

What is inspiring me this week?

Two things, completely unrelated, actually. First, as the warmer weather looks like it’s going to stick around a bit, I’ve been obsessed with lawn maintenance (our lawn is a dirt hole), landscaping (dead bushes), and–in particular–SCRAP GARDENING. Once upon a time, I’d been hoping to have a nice veggie garden, but the financial stars aren’t quite aligning this year for something that ambitious (and, you know, I have about 0 experience points…) So instead of investing in something we’re not even sure we could handle, I’ve been having a ball playing with replanting/regrowing veggie scraps. Our kitchen is now cluttered with various growing things, which is a lot of fun. I’m sprouting a mango seed, a bunch of grape tomato seeds, and an avocado, in addition to regrowing a romaine lettuce head, an onion, and a fistful of scallions (which are doing quite well)!  (Also included a photo of our prolific lemon tree (which currently has about five lemons on it!) It’s just been so satisfying to see things I’d ordinarily throw out or compost coming back to life. Love the green in the kitchen, too!

On the writing front, I spent this past week reading through K.M. Weiland’s Structuring Your Novel, and Outlining Your Novel, which have really gotten the mental cylinders firing. I always take writing advice books with a healthy grain of salt, and there are things–of course–that didn’t resonate with me as much in both books, but I culled several thought-process tools and clarified some structural concepts I’ve struggled with in the past from these books, so I’m happy! Now to see if these new approaches can help me through the next novel draft… :)

Oh! And a third thing: Neil Gaiman’s Ocean at the End of the Lane. I’ve been listening to it as an audiobook, and I’m absolutely in love with the Hempstocks, the mix of realism and magic, and the creepiness Gaiman can conjure from totally unexpected things. I’m enchanted by this story, and it’s been fun to listen to it after picking up a few structure concepts from the other books and seeing how naturally those elements play into the story. Very cool.

What part of my project am I avoiding?

Ugh, the editing project. I’m hitting that point with it where I’m just…bored. I can’t see its potential. I can’t see any of its strengths. It just seems blah and cliche and dull and the writing seems flat, flat, blah, blah, blah… It’s one of the reasons I stepped back from it for a few days (I’m not on a deadline for it, so there’s no rush). Sometimes a little distance is what I need to get energized enough to jump back in. Hopefully starting back up in small doses will help ease me back into it.

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