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.
Sometime in your writing career, you’re going to be faced with a deadline you can’t meet. The best advice for dealing with this, of course, is to build up a decades-long reputation of professionalism and reliability ahead of time, proving that one missed deadline is a mere anomaly, like a Bigfoot sighting. That’s all well and good for smug pros who worry about things like reputation and getting paid, but we flakes and hacks need something more immediate that doesn’t require a time machine or a work ethic. That’s why I’ve put together this list of excuses guaranteed to get you out of a jam.
These excuses are pretty much guaranteed to work, but don’t go nuts with them. Even the most gullible marks (henceforth referred to as “clients”) will get suspicious if you’re blowing deadlines week after week.
Each person is born with an allotment of fifteen minutes of fame, and every writer begins their career with 100 reputation points. This point balance will go up (supposedly) and down (most certainly) at various points of your career. Each excuse costs you a certain amount of reputation points, which you spend at your peril. Once your balance hits zero, people will stop hiring you. They’ll avert their eyes at parties, and start casually mentioning the younger, more talented, and more attractive writers they’re working with instead. Use your points wisely! Or failing that, have a really good pen name ready to go in case you have to change your name.
Kid stuff (10 points): Whether there’s a snow day at school, or your kid was awake all night throwing up on the mattress, nobody worth working for will begrudge a parent taking care of their children. (This probably goes without saying, but I’m expecting you to lie about these things. Under no circumstances should you poison your child to make them sick, nor should you create some sort of evil weather-control device in your secret underground laboratory.)
Dead computer (15 points, multiplied by the number of times you’ve used this excuse): Dropbox makes this harder to get away with every year, but as of this writing, it still works. Just be very clear you’re emailing them from your phone when you tell them about it. Add in some autocorrect mishaps to make it lock more convivial.
Food poisoning (20 points): Alcohol is a food, kinda, so you’re not even really lying.
There’s an alligator sitting right next to your car, in which you left your laptop (30 points): This excuse is only valid only in Louisiana and Mississippi. In Florida, you’d be expected to wrestle it. [Read more…]