Weeknotes 2023 W33:

What are these? These week­notes are a reflection on the past week. I write about anything from hobby projects and work to creativity and mental health. I publish my week­notes every Sunday morning. Consider subscribing via email or using the web feed!

Quick bits:

I received great writing critique on Norr, the short story I published most recently. I’m happy with the positive feedback, first and foremost.

A point of improvement would be to give a clearer picture of the location and characters. I don’t mind it being vague in a short story (there’s not a lot of time to be detailed), but in hindsight, the story is too vague. There is no description of the house: in my mind, it’s a single-storey wooden thing, and making that explicit would have helped to contrast it with other locations. There is also no description of the main character: no age, no gender, no appearance, and barely any physical characteristics. A story doesn’t need to describe characters in detail, but I myself didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted this character to be like, and they became too ambiguous and inconsistent as a result.

I applied some grammatical fixes, but I’ll likely not make any larger changes to the writing. I am happy with the story as it is, and I’ll take the learnings from it to the next stories that I write.

Speaking of next stories: the office-themed short story I started last week (see Week­notes 2023 W32: Dreadful) resembles the TV show Severance a little too much. It’s a good show, but I want my story to be distinct. For now, it’s unclear how I’ll proceed.

I signed up for an online library, Perlego. Lots of books available on there, including many that I have been wanting to read for a while. It makes sense for a subscription service for books to exist, as it completely removes the risk of buying a book you might not like.

One thing I’m not a fan of about Perlego is the interface. So, because I know a thing of two about computers, I went ahead and hacked together a custom UI for reading the books, with a nice horizontally scrolling layout — an approach which I wrote about a long time ago.

On Perlego, I started reading Stephen King’s On Writing. There isn’t anything particularly new for me in there, but it’s nonetheless good to get insight in what works and what doesn’t. The book resonated with me: each writer’s approach to writing is different, and my preferred approach might not be too far off Stephen King’s.

Two months ago, I wrote down the daily habits that I want to have. Since then, I’ve been tracking them meticulously (using pen and paper). As a result, I’ve been far more consistent in doing what I want to do. Before that, it always felt not worth the effort, or too difficult.

There’s the inspirational Reddit post from a decade ago that says No More Zero Days:

There are no more zero days. What’s a zero day? A zero day is when you don’t do a single fucking thing towards whatever dream or goal or want or whatever that you got going on. No more zeros. […]

(The whole comment is worth a read.)

Many months ago I told a friend that I did not have time to read. She told me to make time, and I did: I forced myself to read every single day. No more zero days for reading. I’ve read far more than I ever thought I could. And you know what? I found out that I absolutely love reading.

Being away from home throws sand in the gears, but the trick is to pick up the habits again as soon as possible. Habit-tracking apps overvalue streaks (unbroken sequences of successful-habit days), which I dislike: it’s not about getting the longest streak, it’s about doing what’s good. Breaking streaks is fine, and I’ve done so — against my wishes, but with no regret.

I’ve adopted three practices that I loosely call meditation:

Look, I don’t really know what I am doing, but I found these practices to be helpful in staving off depressive thoughts, reducing anxiety, alleviating boredom, and creating focus. I’m not following a recipe here, but, erm, making shit up as I go. Without a doubt, this approach will have changed significantly in a few months, and I’m fine with that.

I’m finally really making progress in giving away books. I wrote about this in Week­notes 2023 W30: Rain, but now I’ve posted in the Free Your Stuff Berlin Facebook group. In that group, for anything you post, in a matter of minutes there are dozens of people ready to claim what you’re giving away. For people who want to declutter, that Facebook group is gold.

With my dining room table topped with a dozen stacks of books, I feel like I’m living in a library, and it’s fantastic.

I attended an evening of student theatre, organized by the acting school where I took classes earlier, and it was thoroughly enjoyable. Seeing what other students have put together is inspiring and motivating.

I’ve been on a break between acting courses, but the break will soon be over: the next course starts this Wednesday. I’m very much looking forward to returning. I’ve been doing some other acting stuff in the mean time: the other day, in a drop-in acting class, I did a semi-improved scene of some sneaky extramarital flirting, which was so much fun (would’ve been even better with more preparation and rehearsal time). I’m glad that this hunger, this craving for acting, remains with me.

I’m still not at all sure what I want to do in the longer term with these skills I’m training for. I’m hoping that as I continue to improve (a continuous effort), I’ll find people and communities where I can contribute and participate in one way or another.



Week­notes for August 14 to 20, 2023. Browse the weeknotes archive, get these week­notes via email or subscribe to the web feed.