Weekly Check In: 2015 Week 28 33 comments

bee on a white flower

1. Let us know how you fared with last week’s writing goals (whether you shared them with us here or not). If you’re feeling retrospective, recap the writing year so far for us, too.

2. Share your goals for the new week.

3. Don’t forget to cheer for each other!

New to the weekly check in? Our first check in of the year includes tips on setting writing goals. But the most important thing to know is that everyone is welcome. If you’d like the moral support of discussing your writing progress with other writers, please join the comments and let us know what you’re working on and how you’re doing.

33 thoughts on “Weekly Check In: 2015 Week 28

  • Debbie Moon

    Hi everyone! Progress on the new feature was derailed over the weekend by a terrible sore throat and cold, now turned into a hacking cough… But I did watch some movies and catch up on some comics (if you’re not ready G. Willow Wilson’s ‘Ms. Marvel’, about an American Muslim teenager who accidentally becomes a superhero, you should be!)

    So it’s back to the feature, in between the ongoing spiral of notes calls and rewrites on those TV projects! Also a nerve-wracking week – after trying to sell my flat and move closer to London for some months, the flat goes to auction on Friday. There hasn’t been a lot of interest, but we’ve just drastically reduced the price, so maybe…

    And also on Friday, I get to wear a silly hat and robe as I’m appointed a Fellow of my alma mater, Aberystwyth University! Which reminds me, I have to write a speech…

    • April Austin

      It’s been a minute since I checked in. Hope everyone is doing well and continuing to write.

      @Debbie – Hope you feel better and good luck with your projects and selling your flat.

      My documentary is being derailed a little bit. My subjects are getting cold feet and I’m not sure how to go about it. I recently posted a new blog post about having self doubt and trying to keep busy while waiting for possible rejection letters. I’m rethinking some TV pilots while rewriting my latest one.

      • Debbie Moon

        Oh no! I guess documentary-making is a delicate balance of keeping the subjects happy and cooperative, and it can go wrong easily. I hope things sort themselves out…

      • Shaula Evans Post author

        I’m sorry your documentary isn’t going smoothly right now, April. I know when people pull away most of us have the instinct to tug them harder, but I find that, in most cases, if you give people space, reconcile yourself to the idea that you may lose some of your subjects, and then talk to them and really listen to the nature of their concerns (in order to understand them, not to change their minds), the dynamics change and you may yet be able to work something out. I’m wishing you all the best with this.

      • Shelley Gustavson


        Good luck revisiting the pilots… as for the “cold feet?” I often find if you step back and provide the most open, patient ear possible that does a ton in building trust. Even if they need to vent, a way to simply voice their concerns, all parties may find that expressing doubts–and finding a willing ear to listen, does the job.

        Best of luck with them and can’t wait to hear how the rest goes.

        • April Austin

          Thanks for the words of advice and encouragement, Debbie, Shaula and Shelley! I think giving them space is a good idea and this will allow me to figure out what my next step will be. Will keep you posted!

    • Mystery Failure

      “…back to the feature….”

      Hmmm – that triggered a thought that there might be a time travel inspired story about a writer who tries to go back and rewrite a script that turned sour or made him a success so that he can reverse wherever that left him.

      Or is that just too obviously similar to the original?????

          • Shelley Gustavson

            P.S., MF, how are you doing this week? Hope you’re healing/feeling better.

        • Shaula Evans Post author

          I second that! The closest thing I can think of is The Producers (which lacks time travel, obviously). You could do anything from a story that’s broadly comic to something very dark.

      • Crossfire

        Definite potential. Do you need a flux capacitor which requires 1.21 gigawatts of power? Hehe. (Soryy, I had to.) Seriously, write that. And if it’s bad, go back in time and rewrite the original!

    • Shaula Evans Post author

      Speeches are really just about telling stories–especially stories that your audience can see themselves in–so I’m sure you’ll do a brilliant job.

      I’m so sorry you’re not feeling well. Wish I lived down the lane and could pop over to make you soup and tea.

      Very best of luck with auctioning your flat. It’s sounded like you’ve been living on trains these past few years and I’d love to see you set up somewhere that’s more convenient for your jet-setting life.

    • Crossfire

      Sorry you’re sick. Movies and comics are good medicine! Congratulations on the appointment. You must be very proud. Selling is always stressful. Hope you find a buyer soon. I really admire how you’re able to juggle your creative work and all the other stressors simultaneously. You sound a bit like Ms. Marvel yourself!

  • Shelley Gustavson

    My birthday is this week, so we’re traveling over the weekend and I’m panicking trying to cram in way too much….
    But, this past weekend I was able to sit down with the old Lear adapt/scifi and overhaul the entire first Act and begin inserting the new stuff I needed in the opening of Act II.

    Also been vomit-drafting a few more blog posts/essays working toward end-of-July site launch.

    Had a great phone chat with an old college friend who does TV writing on the side. She’s been blessed with a lot of great family connections (they’re a crazy, polyglot/academic clan of writers, artists, medical folks, and hippies with celebrity friends). Also, she’s brilliant at coming up with ideas people adore in pitches–but she has zero time to write and almost zero organizational skills…. So, after years of back-and-forth brainstorming and her helping me by reading drafts, I think (stressing “think”) that she may be passing me work, knowing I’d actually churn-out typed pages…. could lead to some good development partnerships and networking leads. (I.e. rather than me listening to her stories green with jealousy, and her in awe of my time managemet skills, we may be combining forces.)

    Fingers crossed! (As I said, she’s a bit flaky…)

    Interesting development, however: when I was running through the current state of all my stories she stopped me and gave me some great reassurance–rather than beat myself up over ensemble, rich, layered plots and stories–perhaps think more seriously about (mini)series TV products as the cable and streaming market is where everyone is biting. So, rather than cut and kill-off-babies she was great in identifying a few stories that would sell better to her colleagues vs. languishing in the feature spec pile.

    So, while not technically closer to getting stuff done, had a nice chat that lifted me up a bit.

    Hope you all have good weeks and are not either a) roasting, or b) soaking. Chicago is a bit of both right now.

    love, shel

    • Shaula Evans Post author

      Happy (sometime) Birthday, Shelley!

      You do sound like a natural for TV. I’m excited for you to see what you can do with TV writing. Please keep me posted!

    • April Austin

      Congrats on your progress, Shelley! Can’t wait to read your blog! That would be amazing if you were able to work on some projects your old college friend has. Hope you have a wonderful birthday week and safe travels this weekend.

    • Crossfire

      Shelley, I kind of agree with your friend. I think writing sometimes means trying on different styles and projects. I think it’s very cool that you have that sort of flexibility in your creative work. Happy Birthday, by the way! Hope you get a chance to collaborate a bit with your pal. I know writing can be lonely sometimes. Working with others on a project often can boost motivation. Let us know how it goes.

  • Mary

    I didn’t write much, but I have managed to read. Almost done two books. I am also catching up on House of Cards (american version). It’s the PanAm Games here in Toronto, so hoping to get out and about when not at my desk. I have a meeting on Thursday with the producer, so likely more notes to come for a rewrite. I am hoping to catch some movies. Looking forward to seeing Trainwreck.

    Shaula, how’s your writing going?
    Debbie, feel better!

    • Shaula Evans Post author

      Reading is an important part of writing!

      You sound busy as always, Mary. I’m glad you’re making time to take advantage of what’s going on in Toronto. Balance in all things. :)

      Thanks for asking about my writing. I’m polishing up an old piece that I never intended to submit anywhere but I just saw a submission call that might be a good match. (So why not?) Doing a lot of reading, almost all of it with some kind of research connection. I’m just starting a contained scifi/horror with an ensemble cast that I’m excited about. (You know: that honeymoon phase at the start of a new story.) Life is good. :)

    • Shelley Gustavson


      Best of luck with the meeting–and so jealous of your reading. I’m bedside table is a precarious tower mocking my lack of time and willpower!

    • Crossfire

      Hey, if you can’t write, read. You wouldn’t fault a painter for going to art shows, would you? That’s kind of a passive way to “work”. Just be gentle with yourself and your art. The words will come when they’re ready.

  • Crossfire

    Missed a check in. Happily, it was because I’ve been busy writing! Looks like I’ve gotten my mojo back to some degree. Words on a page, pretty cool, yeah? I’ve been doing a bit of reading on the side. Project management and productivity. In a funny way, the author’s ideas on how to work better in a corporate environment are sort of translatable to my writing I’ve found. Might not be good for everyone, but it’s working for me. If you’re interested you can check out the book, called SCRUM by Jeff Sutherland. (No, I have nothing to gain by this.) Learning more about my process. Figured out, I like outlining, when all my life I thought I was a pantser. This is working better. No more of that “where do I go next?” inertia. Aso learned how to use the Outline view in Word. Pure gold. It hides what I’m not working on, so my OCD editor side doesn’t get me off track. Here’s to keeping up momentum!

    • Shaula Evans Post author

      Words on a page are the coolest. :)

      > In a funny way, the author’s ideas on how to work better in a corporate environment are sort of translatable to my writing I’ve found.

      That makes perfect sense to me. Many of the ideas that have proven most helpful/useful for my writing I’ve picked up in completely different contexts. “Recontextualization is innovation” are words to live by.

  • Mark Walker

    Hey everyone – glad as ever to see so much writing going on!

    Debbie – good luck with the flat sale and hope you are feeling better

    And you MF, just catching up and saw your post from last week – pretty serious stuff, so hope you are taking things easy and recovering well!

    Keep at it April – I think you have had some good advice about the documentary – try to relax and let it come to you – fingers crossed it all works out in the end!

    Happy Birthday Shelley – and good luck with your potential new avenues, sounds like it could be an exciting opportunity – nothing ventured and all that!

    Good luck with the meeting Mary and glad to hear you have found some useful guidance for your writing Crossfire…

    And how are things with you Shaula?

    Everyone is very busy.

    I’ve just been plodding on with a rewrite – which is now finished. So I now have a list of things I want to do to that script that I came up with during the rewrite! But the next one can wait for a bit. Have another draft that is half-way through and needs some work. I was thinking of submitting something to the BBC Drama call that opens soon, but it seems to be only for people with an existing writing credit, so not this time – which is frustrating, but also good as it means I can use the time for other projects.

    I’ve also been having ideas for a children’s book, but I have no idea whether I could write in that form – but I have also been intrigued by NaNoWriMo the last few years, so perhaps I might start planning out some chapters in the run up to November, you know… just for the fun of it!

    So that’s me – good luck to everyone for the week ahead.

    Keep writing!

    • April Austin

      Congrats on finishing your rewrite, Mark! Good luck with your new project and other rewrite. You should try writing a children’s book. It’s always good to step outside the box and try something new.

      • Mark Walker

        Thanks April – although there are more rewrites to come I reckon! :-)

        And was actually thinking of a children’s book – still just cogitating at the moment but, as you say, might be good to step out of the comfort zone for a bit!

  • Angel Mirou

    Hello everybody and Yay, everybody! Very glad to find everybody writing and/or reading around here. Shaula, I’m doing the Mexican wave in front of my computer to celebrate your writing going well. Looking forward to that contained sci fi/horror story.

    I’ve missed several check-ins, but I hope I’ll be excused, because I was writing! writing, writing, writing. My new feature is going rather well, I think. Veery slowly, since I’m still on the treatment phase, but the story and the characters are growing very organically, and I have the feeling I’m saving lots of rewriting time by fixing things now instead of jumping to scene-writing and find myself in a pickle later on. So yay!

    MF, I too love the Back to the Feature idea! I can imagine a Butterfly effect situation where every time the writer changes something in his/her script the whole universe around changes…

    Good luck with your flat auction, Debbie Moon. I haven’t read the new Ms Marvel comics but I have read lots of good things about it, so I do want to. I’ve been suffering from a sore throat myself (evil A/C on the library where I go to write *shakes his fist*) for a few days now , so as the saying goes ‘I feel your pain’.

    I totally agree with Mary that reading is best when not writing. I’ve been reading through the Southern Reach trilogy. The first novel I thought amazing. The second very good. The third one is taking me longer to finish…

    Mary, your mention of House of Cards reminded me of the two weeks in June when ahem I didn’t write that much because I was catching up with lots of tv shows on video. (But not H of C yet!) Penny Dreadful very good (Eva Green!!!!), Walking Dead (ok), Vikings good (love Lagertha the shieldmaiden and Floki the shipbuilder), Masters of Sex (best of all!) Sons of Anarchy (couldn’t watch past the first three episodes. Not engaged)

    April, sorry to hear about your troubles with your documentary. I’ve been working on the screenplay for one myself, and I’ve felt similar trepidations about explaining to the subjects of the story how we should deal on camera with certain unpalatable issues, because otherwise the story would be unfairly biased. It’s hard. I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings but I need to protect the core of the story. Fortunately, they’ve been very understanding about it… I hope you too can find some common ground where you can work with your subjects. And if not, well, it sounds like you have plenty of other projects to work on, anyway…

    Crossfire, great to hear you too have been busy writing! Good luck with your stuff.

    Hey Mark. I need to pay a visit to your blog. It’s been too long.

    • April Austin

      Angel, thank you for your encouraging words and good luck on your documentary! In regards to your latest feature, you have to do what works best for you. Everyone has their own system. Keep writing!

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