10 Writing Hacks for 2017

1) Use the word “hack” as much as possible. Top 10 Basketball Free Throw Hacks. Top 10 Who’s Got the Right of Way at this Intersection Hacks. Top 10 Computer Hack Hacks.

2) Read what you’ve written aloud in an Isle of Man accent.

3) Alternate hands when writing to activate both sides of your brain.

4) Drink coffee and smoke cigarettes to be a “real” writer.

5) Write longhand and keep a Shakespeare dictionary close at hand. Every 20 minutes or so crumple up the paper, throw it on the floor and yell one randomly, pre-selected insult. “Geminy of baboons!” “Giantlike oxbeef!” “Gorbellied knaves!”

6) To catch errors, read what you’ve written backwards, then vertically, then diagonally. Finally, erase all errors by burning it and throwing it in the trash.

7) “Kill your darlings,” but also kill your sweethearts and apples of eye. In other words, if it’s remotely good, toss it.

8) Being a writer means learning how to handle rejection. Being a real writer, however, means dogged persistence. Form rejection letter? Call the publication and leave threatening voicemails or put a flaming bag of poop on their doorstep. Keep at it until they see the light and give your story the recognition it deserves.

9) Ingest mind-altering substances, like mold from vegetables left in the fridge or bleach mixture. Real writers work on a different plane of consciousness; how do you think they get there?

10) Above all, be conflicted, be an alcoholic, be dark and brooding, be anti-social, keep strange hours, and engage in the mystifying activities that separate the real writers from the (ahem) hacks.