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Hacks for Hacks (sense of humor required)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.

So you want to be a writer? Maybe you can string together a few good sentences, but good prose can take you only so far. Your daily routine can can affect your writing career just as much (or more!) as the words you type. Set yourself up for literary success by developing these writing habits.

Write every day. The more you write, the better you’ll get.

Go to a prestigious creative writing program. These programs are competitive and costly, but you’ll get to hone your craft and make connections that will benefit you your life long. 

Get rich and famous before you start writing. Having the finances and social capital to quit your job will free up so much of your mental energy. Having the financial freedom to take exotic vacations and party like it’s 1999 will give you so many stories to tell.

Cultivate a love of reading when you’re still a child. This one will be more difficult for those of us who are already adults, but some of the best writing advice I’ve ever gotten was that if something is important to you, you’ll figure out a way to make it happen. If you first fell in love with the written word when you were ten, see if you can make it happen by age nine. 

Have at least one parent who is a successful author. Our parents are our first mentors, teaching us life lessons and passing on the benefits of their wisdom without the pain of their mistakes. If your parents are famous authors themselves, that will give you a huge advantage in your own career. Talk to your folks about their literary aspirations and see if they’d consider changing careers from motel manager or retiree to having been a literary darling since age twenty-six. 

7 stones stacked on top of each other
photo by Mike Downey

Have your mom read to you when you’re still in the womb. It’s never too early to learn to love literature, or to have that love foisted upon you. Reading to children in utero helps them learn to recognize their mother’s voice, to develop a sense of rhythm and tone, and develop the sort of bond that you’ll need to pull off the habit prior to this one. Talk to your mother to see if this is something she would do for you. If you ask her nicely, I’m sure she’ll say yes.

Be Stephen King. Few writers have had as big an impact on writing than the master of horror himself, Stephen King, so being him instead of you is a no-brainer.

If you don’t develop these habits, you still have a small chance at writing success, I suppose. This is a tough business, though, and if you want to maximize your chances of becoming a Famous Author, I recommend building these habits as soon as you can. I’m going to start on them right now.

How do you set yourself up for a successful career as an author? Share your advice in the comments!


About Bill Ferris

After college, Bill Ferris (he/him) 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, and looks forward to a life of poverty and ridicule.


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