Principles of exercise, mental rest, and imperfectionism

I’ve mentioned before that I see what traffic goes where on this site, so I know that people *generally* don’t read the posts I don’t link on social media, and I almost never link SRF posts. Nonetheless, I enjoy the effect of dailyish blogging. For one thing, my sibling often still reads it, and Rory’s basically the only audience I ever care about, period. It’s a nice way to bring up news articles I might forget to discuss. I prefer not to be super-duper verbal irl. It’s always been easier to communicate like this.

Also, just writing informally like this each day is good for me. It feels very good in terms of my writing skills, which feels weird to say, given that I have written so many millions of words that it isn’t worth counting. I am now so deeply sunken into nonverbal hobbies like crochet that I can go hours barely even *thinking* words, much less trying to form a coherent message out of them.

I suspect that doing link round-ups with little life updates is giving me more or less the benefits of journaling. I also journal. But that’s almost all doodles (and 50% of those doodles are penises and boobies) so YES, it’s just good to be writing each day in some format.

If I were motivated, I would try to flog all my friends into starting blogs and tell them how good it feels to stay in the practice of casual writing. Epistolary relationship with the void? But tbh I just want everyone to start blogs so I can follow them there and spend less time on social media. 2005 internet, I still miss you, forever.


My kids put together a couple of gingerbread houses today. My family is the opposite of perfectionist. For us it’s like, we keep at it for a few minutes while the experience is novel and we’re enjoying the Christmas vibes, but then we’re putting these barely-decorated gingerbread monstrosities on the shelf and eating the candy. God knows when we’ll remember to throw out the dusty carcasses of cat-licked half-decorated desiccated gingerbread houses.

We’re weird disasters together so I feel VERY holidays right now.


Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket will return to flight tomorrow after over a year grounded (Engadget)


In Surreal Portraits, Rafael Silveira Plunges Into the Mysteries of the Human Psyche (Colossal)


Olly is going to Sweden for Eurovision 2024! Is this the year I care about Eurovision?? (Variety)


Julia Roberts has opinions about her characters post-movie, shared with Entertainment Weekly. I have not gotten an impression that Roberts is actually fond of romcoms so I’m not surprised these are a little odd. Anna “maintained her waist size.” Mmm.


The FDA is investigating whether lead in applesauce pouches was deliberately added (NPR)



Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf has passed away at the age of 86. This isn’t an area of world politics I know much about. Here is Al Jazeera’s roundup of statements from other world leaders, and NPR’s obituary has some more information about his career from an American perspective.

Pakistan is using artificial rain to fight pollution. (AJE) It’s interesting to hear about geoengineering remedies for such issues, but it sounds like areas of effect are limited, and I gotta wonder what happens once all those air contaminants are in the water supply.


The Marginalian has a fascinating read comparing principles of exercise to writing. I think about this all the time! Actually, I compare principles of exercise to just about everything all the time.

The one I think about most is overload: You need to push past your normal limits in order to grow. I personally think of it as “training to 120% of what you need to do.” If you’re Beyonce and wanna look Beyonce-sharp at Beychella, you can’t just rehearse for Beychella. You commit to an overall training plan that will make you physically capable of doing a performance 120% the size of Beychella, so Beychella is effortless.

I think this 120% preparation principle probably applies to a few areas in life. I wouldn’t describe it as “overload” in regards to writing though. What I usually do is write at least 120% of the words that actually get published. For all the functional, useful words I write, I also write off in other directions to condition myself. (Fanfic, poetry, essays, movie reviews, etcetera.)

Another useful principle is specificity: In order to get better at writing novels, you just gotta write novels. It’s also more granular than that. You get better at writing urban fantasy by writing UF. You get better writing close POV writing close POV. And if you *only* write those things, your skills are not *entirely* transferable; you will need to get specific to learn about writing romance if you’re coming from a thrillers-specific background.

But I would argue the Principle of Rest is actually most important, and it’s the principle I’ve taken everywhere to extremely healing results. When you exercise (especially as you age) (and especially if you do high-stress stuff like heavy compound lifts), you need to rest in a very deliberate way. You can’t just keep running around willy nilly if you’re training for a marathon. You have to make sure you’re sleeping a lot, drinking a lot of water, doing light exercises to keep comfortable, and sometimes you don’t train at all. Sometimes between marathons, you might need to take off months! (I think I heard a marathoner gasp somewhere just when I typed it. But I said what I said.)

The same thing goes with creativity. You can’t push-push-push, even when it feels great. You must consciously, deliberately rest from that kind of creative activity. You need things that help you turn off entirely. And you need stuff that refills your cup.

If you’re a writer, you don’t need to do ice bath plunges out of a hot tub. What you might need is a week away from words occasionally. Stop writing and go for a bunch of walks. Take extra time to nap. Watch a bunch of trashy junk tv. Draw penises in your journal.

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