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.
For years, you’ve thought to yourself, “If only I had more time, I could write a bestseller for sure!” The good news is your prayers have been answered. The bad news is they were answered by the God of Unintended Consequences. But the finger of the Monkey’s Paw has already curled, and I’m afraid we’re now stuck inside during the Coronavirus pandemic with no company but our thoughts, the blank whiteness of the word processor, and thousands of distractions including (but not limited to) TV, movies, books, and the abject terror of whether you’ll live long enough to finish any project you start.
At a time like this, writing may seem daunting, or not all that important given what’s happening in the world. However, being a writer gives you the freedom to work when you’re at home, and the ability to feel inadequate about your significance anywhere, so you really have no excuses.
People are suffering and dying, but the important thing is to make this moment about yourself and your writing career. A pandemic is like a really long writing retreat, except you can’t leave, and you don’t know when (or if!) you’ll see your friends again. Whether you’re social distancing, officially quarantined, or just deeply unpopular, you’re already doing the retreat part, so you may as well do the writing, too.
They say Shakespeare wrote King Lear during the plague. This is not inspirational; this is the baseline. Shakespeare didn’t have wifi. With the tools you have at your disposal, and with the abject terror you have as motivation, you should expect nothing less of yourself than to create an artistic masterpiece that high school English students will write formulaic essays about for the next several hundred years.
Some people like to start with small, attainable goals and expand from there, but I recommend the opposite: set your objectives as high as possible, then watch them wither away as you check Twitter for the hundredth time to see a fresh dose of bad news. I don’t know if this is a productive approach, but it is astonishingly easy to execute.