Archive for the 'Humor' Category

Forthwringing Tonguishness

A client recently asked me why English is so bizarre.  She was trying to explain its quirks to a precocious, bi-lingual eight-year-old, and not doing very well.  Not that I did much better – English is a genuinely freaky language, with random spelling rules, no particular sentence structure, and far more words than any reasonable language needs.  Part of the reason it’s so confused is that it’s perfectly happy to steal useful words from just about anywhere it can get […]

The Hacks for Hacks Guide to Writing Awards

Warning: 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.

Let’s talk literary awards. Specifically, your tragic lack thereof. It happens. Vonnegut never won a Nebula. Nabokov got snubbed so many times he had to create the PEN/Nabokov Award so he wouldn’t feel like a failure. If these greats can’t win, what hope do you have? Wait, that came out wrong. I […]

Tolerating Uncertainty (and Inefficiency)

photo by Flickr’s Claire L. Evans

I love having a plan, a detailed goal that I can accomplish based on my own timeline. When I was seven, for example, I made a list of things I wanted to purchase. 1. Olivia Newton John record 2. Red clogs 3. Beaded moccasins 4. Mrs. Grossman stickers.

I included the cost of each item, as well as when, based on chores and allowance and collecting out-of-town neighbors’ mail, I’d have saved the money. I got that Olivia Newton John record. […]

Becoming a Stand-Up Writer

Welcome to 2015! For many of us, today is the first real workday of the new year. I always enjoy the “clean slate” feeling of starting a new year, and I’m usually eager to make some tweaks and changes to how I operate.

Some of those changes are simply about breaking some bad habits (e.g., no more chocolate-covered Pringles after 11PM), while others are about creating some new, better habits.

Getting butts *out* of chairs

As the svelte and savvy Porter Anderson observed in […]

Happy New Year


How to Schedule Your Holiday Writing Schedule

Warning: 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.

I heard you’re taking some time off to celebrate Christmas / Hanukkah / Kwanza / Winter Solstice / Festivus. You might think it’s time to recharge those batteries and take three naps in front of the A Christmas Story marathon.

Go writer-caroling. Head door-to-door, full of Christmas cheer, reading your work to people. […]

The Lonely Writer

by Alice Popkorn

I feel lucky. I love being a writer and part of why I do is because it allows me to work alone, be alone. It’s not exactly that I don’t like being around other people (I do, kind of). But when I worked in corporate America, I couldn’t get away from people, couldn’t find time for myself. Maybe because I’m an introvert I love spending time alone. I am actually happiest alone and in my head.

But the […]

Even More New Year’s Resolutions for Writers

Two years ago I posted a set of New Year’s resolutions for writers, which was well enough received that I posted another set of resolutions the following December. This holiday season, since I’m all about tradition (as opposed to being all about that bass), I’ve assembled several more resolutions for writers to consider as the new year approaches.

Some of the resolutions I’m proposing might initially seem to be in conflict with each other, but if you read on, I think […]

Your NaNoWriMo Road Map

Warning: 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.

Happy National Novel Writing Month! At this stage of the process, you may feel like you’re sinking in a morass of flat characters and plot holes. This is completely natural. Lucky for you, I’m here to guide you the rest of the way with a daily regimen that will keep you on […]

Losing One’s Marbles

You’ve all heard the big news: 9 out of 10 dentists agree that the path to publication requires sitting our tush in our writing chair and putting words on the page at least once a day. Even when we don’t feel like it. Even when we have writer’s block. Even when we are busy working two other jobs and have a new baby or an untrained puppy or an ill child or aging parent . . . or all of that at once.

I’m no dentist, but I […]

The Five Stages of New Writers’ Grief

© iStockphoto.com

Earlier this year, at an online forum for writers that I frequent, I watched a familiar scenario play itself out. A new member joined the forum, full of excitement (and not a small amount of hubris) about the novel he’d just completed. As he posted his early attempts at a query letter for others to review and critique, two things quickly became clear:

He was convinced the rest of the forum would be utterly dazzled by his unmatched literary […]

The Secrets to Writing the Best Holiday Stories Ever

Warning: 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.

Have spooky decorations and giant grab-bags of candy put you in the mood to write a Halloween story? Or perhaps you’re skipping ahead to Christmas and writing a tale about the beloved Christmas icon, Krampus? No matter what you’re celebrating, holiday stories are a treat for readers and writers alike. You may […]