Little Links & Notes 8: Writing Hacks and the Pain of Existence

Hi all đź‘‹ Long time no see. Hope you’re having a good Sunday. I’m back with the eighth instalment of Little Links & Notes. Enjoy, and have a good week.

“How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day” (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association – Rachel Aaron°).

You don’t have to be a writer to enjoy this article on how this person used a “Knowledge, Time, Enthusiasm” triangle to improve her daily writing output.

Here’s how she did it:

  • Knowledge: Know what you’re writing beforehand. In the past she knew roughly what she was writing about that day – knowing the plot and the scenes – but it wasn’t throughly broken down, step by step. So she used to waste time finding those steps as she went, which was slow and often needed rewrites. So at the start of each writing session she’d spend some time planning it out. He daily words went from 2K to 5K.
  • Time: She tracked her writing time and analysed patterns to identify the most productive times and writing locations for her. She realised that her words per hour was much higher with each extra hour she spent writing. Writing in short bursts didn’t work. Also her output was higher away from her home. So she optimised for longer, uninterrupted stretches in locations without internet distractions.
  • Enthusiasm: Her statistics showed that her writing output was much higher for scenes she was excited to write. So she got my ruthless on what she included in her book. So she stopped writing any scenes she wasn’t massively excited to write. “If I had scenes that were boring enough that I didn’t want to write them, then there was no way in hell anyone would want to read them.”

Is life more pain than pleasure? (Small Potatoes – Paul Bloom°).

A look at the antinatalism and the work of David Benatar which both have the view that it is morally wrong to bring new sentient beings into existence because life inevitably involves more suffering than happiness or well-being.

There’s some interesting quotes from Benatar in this post, such as:

“Even in good health, much of every day is spent in discomfort. Within hours, we become thirsty and hungry. … When we can access food and beverage and thus succeed in warding off hunger and thirst for a while, we then come to feel the discomfort of distended bladders and bowels. … We also spend much of our time in thermal discomfort—feeling either too hot or too cold. Unless one naps at the first sign of weariness, one spends quite a bit of the day feeling tired. Indeed, many people wake up tired and spend the day in that state. … Itches and allergies are common. Minor illnesses like colds are suffered by almost everybody. … Many women of reproductive years suffer regular menstrual pains and menopausal women suffer hot flashes. … Conditions such as nausea, hypoglycemia, seizures, and chronic pain are widespread.”

[…] “The most intense pleasures are short-lived, whereas the worst pains can be much more enduring. Orgasms, for example, pass quickly. Gastronomic pleasures last a bit longer, but even if the pleasure of good food is protracted, it lasts no more than a few hours. Severe pains can endure for days, months, and years. Indeed, pleasures in general—not just the most sublime of them—tend to be shorter-lived than pains. Chronic pain is rampant, but there is no such thing as chronic pleasure.”

[…] “Would you trade five minutes of the worst pain imaginable for five minutes of the greatest pleasure?”

And Benatar’s counter argument that when people are asked about their happiness that they don’t report they’re utterly miserable is because they’re poor judges":

“People are very unreliable judges of the quality of their own lives.”

[…] “Most humans have accommodated to the human condition and thus fail to notice just how bad it is. Their expectations and evaluations are rooted in this unfortunate baseline. Longevity, for example, is judged relative to the longest actual human lifespans and not relative to an ideal standard. The same is true of knowledge, understanding, moral goodness, and aesthetic appreciation. Similarly, we expect recovery to take longer than injury, and thus we judge the quality of human life off that baseline, even though it is an appalling fact of life that the odds are stacked against us in this and other ways.”

And if people are in more pain the pleasure why aren’t they killing themselves? He says:

“I claim that our deepest cognitive bias is “existence bias”, which means that we will simply do almost anything to prolong our own existence. For us, sustaining one’s existence is the default goal in almost every case of uncertainty, even if it may violate rationality constraints, simply because it is a biological imperative that has been burned into our nervous systems over millennia.”

Colin Farrell in “Sugar”


  • Civil War - 82%. Film, cinema. I love the work of Alex Garland. Ex Machina, Men and Annihilation were all great. And so was this one. Wow was it intense. You need to see this in the cinema as sound is an important part. The film does have its flaws. But I’ll skip over them because a) spoilers. And b) this was just a great experience. It’s got some humour, action, a stance, and more tension than I’ve experienced for a while.
  • Amy (2015) - 79%. Documentary film, streaming. Rewatch. My girlfriend is a huge Amy Winehouse fan so we decided to watch this again. Usually documentaries released so close after a persons death really are lacking. But not this one. It captures her well. The lack of talking heads, and just talking voices, works nicely and even if you’re not a Winehouse fan this is worth a watch. As afterwards you might just be, despite how flawed she was.
  • Scoop - 62%. Film, streaming, About the Prince Andrew & the Epstein Scandal. It’s okay. The makeup for Rufus Sewell playing Andrew is great. As is he. But this film very much felt like a Channel 4 TV movie and it never quite gets into top gear. And the big finale – the interview – needed to be longer and more tension-filled.
  • Also, I’m not going to review it just yet as the season isn’t over. But I am in love with the first three episodes of Sugar. Colin Farrell as a private detective. It’s campy, fun and utterly stylish. I love it. Watch it on AppleTV+.

Related: Little Links & Notes 7

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