Hacks for Hacks by Bill FerrisWarning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody.

Leave the old year behind like a burning house that you nonchalantly walk away from, and consider 2014 your suspiciously large insurance check. Restart your writing career fresh by making these writerly resolutions for the new year.

  1. Lose weight, quit smoking, and cut back on caffeine. Ha! Just kidding. Seriously, can you even imagine? Let’s keep our resolutions realistic and attainable this year, shall we?
  2. photo by gigi_nyc

    photo by gigi_nyc

    Celebrate National Novel Writing Month every month! Remember, remember, the month of November, when you wrote and you wrote till you dropped? If you can write a novel in a month once, there’s no scientific reason you can’t maintain that pace all year long. By the end of the year you’ll have like three entire detective series, or half of an epic fantasy series. I mean, what have you been doing December through October, eating bonbons? Get to work! (Note: This article is published on January 18, so you’re already behind).

  3. Get an agent and get your work published! You’ll now have twelve books to choose from, so your odds are that much greater. Think how excited agents and editors will be when they can look forward to receiving a tome from you EVERY MONTH. It’s like they’ve received a free membership in a book-of-the-month club, which is the kind of thing people give as gifts!
  4. Watch less television. TV time is time you could spend as time for writing time, so it’s time to give up your idiot-box habit. This is a serious commitment, and you can show how serious you are by telling everyone you know how you don’t watch television.
  5. Upgrade your word generation machine. By which I mean your computer. Consider getting an laptop or iPad, too, so you can create on the go. You’ve just signed on to write twelve books a year, bub; you need the ability to crank out words every second of the day. You might start to think of your computers as shackles. Oh, you say you hadn’t until I mentioned it? Well, it’s not, probably. There, now your mind is at ease!
  6. Adopt an animal companion. Writers need a support structure in place to listen to problems and enable your whim-based decisions. You squeezed all the pulp from your personal relationships last year, so it’s time to make some new friends–the kind who won’t say “Sorry, I have plans!” every time you call. Cats are great–they’re cuddly, and just independent enough that you can read human-like emotions into them. If you’re put off by cats’ general disdain for human endeavor, remember that you control their food supply. Also, if they sass you, just get another, cuter cat. Repeat this process as many times as necessary. You might alternatively consider acquiring a brace of hounds. Strong and loyal, dogs will always be glad to see you, and never tell you your protagonist is passive and uninteresting. Plus, they’ll look awesome in your author photo next to the fireplace and a hunting rifle. Speaking of which…
  7. Perfect your authorial look. The harsh winter months are a perfect time to start your Hemingway beard, as well as your Hemingway drinking problem. Invest in a white suit like Tom Wolfe. A Neil Gaiman-like leather jacket will make you stand out whatever the occasion, especially when worn over the white suit. If you’re a fancy lady who wants to dress fancy, please consult your web-pinny thing for outfit ideas.
  8. If you stumble, give yourself a pep talk. There’s a good chance you’re going to break some or all of your New Year’s resolutions. At times like these, it’s important to pump yourself up with a thorough self-excoriation for your failures. I’ve heard it said that we would never be friends with someone who talked to us the way we talk to ourselves. It’s true, and that’s why it’s so important. Nobody else is going to light into your underachieving butt. I’m seeing a therapist because I’m still beating myself up for breaking my 2009 resolutions. How’s THAT for some tough love?

The harsh winter months are a perfect time to start your Hemingway beard, as well as your Hemingway drinking problem. 

You’ve undoubtedly got a few resolutions of your own. I encourage you to heap on some added ideas and responsibilities to everyone’s plates by posting them in the comments section. And remember: If you do manage to achieve your resolutions, there’s a good chance it’s because you didn’t set the bar high enough. Disappointment and hardship have fueled many great works. With any luck, this could be a positively disappointing year. Let’s get to it!


About Bill Ferris

After college, Bill Ferris left Nebraska for Florida to become a rich and famous rock star. Failing that, he picked up the pen to become a rich and famous novelist. He now lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with his wife, Jen, and his sons, Elliott and Wyatt, and he looks forward to a life of poverty and ridicule.