It’s time to hack up a lung…and also some tips on how to make your writing life 10000% easier.
Or maybe that’s a bit ambitious. Perhaps, 2% easier is a little more attainable. Because as they say: why aim big when you can aim small and take a nap after lunch! *
Anyway, as you may know: I am a writer. And I’ve been writing seriously for eight years so clearly I’m a terrific genius at it by now. I’ve picked up tips and tricks and hacks that have been seriously helpful and nothing has ever gone wrong while putting them into practise. Except for the writing hack that involved an actual sharpened axe and the soul of a local boy and twelve goats and–
But that’s not so important.
What’s important is today I’m sharing some writing #lifehacks that you can use everyday around the house, like lemon detergent or murderous knives. Good luck!!
And if anyone asks where you got these tips…haha…it wasn’t from me.
* Actually ok I’m pretty sure no one says that but I think it’s a worthwhile thing to start saying??? We would all do better with more naps.
ALSO WHILE YOU’RE HERE….other helpful #lifehack posts you might like!
LIFE HACK #1: WRITE YOUR BOOK’S SYNOPSIS BEFORE THE ACTUAL BOOK.
We all complain how heinous synopses are to write. Like how do you sum up an 80,000 word book in TWO PARAGRAPHS?!?? So easy: sum up a 0-word book in two paragraphs. It’s honestly easier to pinpoint your plot, character goals, message, and plot twists when your brain isn’t filled up with all the other cool stuff going into the novel.
It’s okay if your book deviates. But you have the BONES here!! It’s so nice to have bones lying around to work with!! *
This is also excellent practise if you intend to be traditionally published, because oftentimes you’re asked to submit pitches before you’ve written the book. Practise now! Save on all the stress chocolate you’ll have to buy later.
* I feel like I’m required to admit I’m talking about, um, metaphorical bones. Those actual human bones in your closet?? Yeah, keep them there. Don’t get them out.
LIFE HACK #2: WRITING A QUERY? WRITE IT LIKE YOUR CHARACTER IS SPEAKING AND THEN TWEAK IT INTO QUERY FORMAT AFTERWARDS.
This is especially if your book is in 1st person…write your query in 1st person, and then switch it to 3rd so it sounds like a blurb. Let your character’s voice shine through to make the summary extra hooky. And if your character’s voice makes the query sound boring?? BOOM. You maybe just realised your character needs work.
Double life hack.
Woah I’m good at this.
LIFE HACK #3: NOT ENOUGH TIME TO WRITE? TRY SACRIFICING YOUR COUSIN TO THE TIME DEITIES FOR EXTRA MINUTES.
Failing a cousin, you can use a sibling or a local neighbour. The annoying ones are the best to pick because we all know annoying people make time go very slow and that’s what you want!! Slowing down time! This hack is best completed at midnight. Not because the ritual works better then, but because you don’t want to be seen and people assume you’re weird.
You’re not weird, hahah, obviously.
LIFE HACK #4: FEELING UNMOTIVATED TO CREATE STORIES? YOUR CREATIVE STOMACH IS PROBABLY LOW.
Usually people say “creative tank” and then follow up with a metaphor like filling a car with petrol so you can continue moving. But I feel like “creative stomach” is MUCH more accurate. Because you need to go eat art. Eating art is very tasty. Sometimes, especially if it’s a painting, it causes death due to paint-poisoning, but don’t let little details put you off!! You need to eat all the art you can.
Consume books, TV shows, movies, music, and visuals. This is 500% a good excuse to use pinterest. If people accuse you of wasting time there — REMIND THEM YOU ARE STOCKING UP ON VISUALS FOR YOUR CREATIVE STOMACH. You neeeeeeeed to consume art if you’re going to make it.
LIFE HACK #5: IS YOUR PLOT BORING? USE TROPES FROM OPPOSITE GENRES.
Okay so your fantasy plot line has everything a good fantasy plot should have. It it’s still dull? I’VE GOT GOOD NEWS = shake things up by smooshing your genre + typical plotlines from other genres together. This is destined to either work really well or send your whole book up in flames. 10/10 recommend.
- Two teens with mental health struggles fall in love (typical contemporary) ON A QUEST TO TAME DRAGONS (oh now it’s fantasy).
- Kid wants to do art, parents want them to be a doctor (typical contemporary) IN A WORLD WHERE ART IS PUNISHABLE BY DEATH (oh now it’s dystopian).
- Orphan prophesied to be the chosen one (typical fantasy) TAKE OUT THE MAGIC AND MAKE THEM LONELY CHILD GENIUS (oh now it’s contemporary). *
* Holy heck I want to write all these I came up with in like 3 seconds flat. NaNo?
LIFE HACK #6: NEED TO EDIT? CHANGE YOUR FONT / SIZE / SCREEN TYPE TO SHAKE YOUR BRAIN UP.
This beats taking your brain out of your skull and shaking it up that way, because apparently that kills. Still open to being corrected on that??? Let me know if you’ve tried it.
It’s easier to catch typos and mistakes if your brain isn’t used to the way something looks. Change your font. Make it bigger. Print it out. Stop your brain being complacent because it “thinks it knows what is coming”. Your brain can be really rude like that. Sit down, Brian, what are you doing.
LIFE HACK #7: EAT CHOCOLATE.
This is the ultimate life hack and if people aren’t giving you this advice, then you’re hanging with the wrong people.
Also put food in your books. It makes it more relatable and gives me dinner ideas. And my welfare is always your #1 priority obviously.
LIFE HACK #8: WANT TO WRITE A BOOK? INSTEAD HOW ABOUT YOU RUN FAR AWAY AND DON’T THINK ABOUT THIS AGAIN WHILE YOU RAISE SHEEP IN ICELAND SENSIBLY.
LIFE HACK #9: MAKE YOUR WRITING MORE DIMENSIONAL BY USING TINY BUT POWERFUL DESCRIPTIONS.
Most of us writers try to describe like the whole DARN HOUSE or exactly what the character is wearing, but it packs much more of a punch if you use really pointed by small descriptions. Her dress is blue but the hem is unravelling. The house is old but there’s moss growing between the bricks.
And don’t forget the underused senses! Like textures and smells!
The aim here is to fully have your book punch your reader. Make your book become one with your reader. Absorb them. Take their soul and sell it in darkest Peru.
LIFE HACK #10: DON’T LET YOUR CHARACTERS’ NAMES ALL START WITH THE SAME LETTER.
Because reader eyeballs are lazy and we only notice the first few letters of a name. So when Molly and Miffy are in the same novel there is a 100% chance I don’t have a clue who is who. And I never know who is who anyway because names are freaking hard, man. What even is my name. I’m not even sure.
LIFE HACK #11: LEAVE YOUR LAPTOP ALONE WITH YOUR EDITING NOTES SO IT’LL GET STARTED BY ITSELF.
I’m totally sure Scrivener has this function and I’ve just yet to figure out how to activate it. But 10/10 recommend giving your laptop a chance to actually be useful in life.
No one wants a barnacle and leech on society, DO YOU HEAR THAT, MY DEAR MACBOOK?????
LIFE HACK #12: CONFUSED ABOUT WRITING?
Ya me too. We should start a club with neat matching shirts and have a stellar afternoon tea with crumpets and jam and get nothing done.
LIFE HACK #13: DON’T LET YOURSELF GET SUPER SUCKED INTO RESEARCH BEFORE YOU WRITE YOUR 1ST DRAFT.
If you’re a research fiend you’ll just end up procrastinating and tHEN you’ll try to incorporate 3989 cool facts into your book and make it about as interesting as eating porridge while sitting in a puddle. Do a small amount of research, but get the preliminary draft down NOW. Once you know the story is good = get thee onto that research in earnest. In fact, get Ernest to do it. You can take a break and eat nine cakes. You deserve it.
LIFE HACK #14: THE TERM “KILL YOUR DARLINGS” ACTUALLY MEANS CUT EXCESS WORDS…NOT MURDER ALL YOUR CHARACTERS.
I’M DISAPPOINTED TOO. I have so so many manuscripts that are confused now…
CUT CUT CUT. Look at each sentence and see if you can condense it. No joke, I just cut 1,000 words from a manuscript taking out silly filler words alone. (Ex: saying “he stood up” when “he stood” is enough. And putting in too many actions like “He walked to the fridge, opened the door, got the milk, poured a glass…” when you can say “HE POURED HIMSELF A GLASS OF MILK FOR GOODNESS SAKES CALM DOWN”.)
Also cut extra scenes that don’t advance the plot.
And kill some characters to ok let’s just pretend the phrase also means that because it’s fun.
LIFE HACK #15: TITLE YOUR BOOK BY CRYING OVER IT AND HOPING YOUR TEARS FORM WORDS.
Because titling is freaking hard. And if we see another book with “throne” or “bone” or “glass” or “game” or “queen” in it, we are going to lose it and burn down the moon.
You can also title your book AFTER you write it and pick out a cool phrase you use in the book. This is why my latest novel is called “CAIT IS FREAKING SCREAMING.” It’s catchy. Totally know my agent will go for it.
LIFE HACK #16: INSTEAD OF CHASING PLOT BUNNIES, EAT THEM.
They taste very good with a little sauce and in a little pie. Also, alternately, when you get thumped with that dying need to write something new even though you’re in the middle of a freaking other project — outline it instead.
It calms the plot bunnies. Settles them down. Sing them a sweet lullaby as you put them in a chill place to mature.
If you outline a plot bunny (even if it’s just a few pages) you (a) won’t forget it, and (b) you chill on that need to WRITE IT ALL RIGHT NOW.
LIFE HACK #17: DON’T BE A PIECE OF FUNGI. FINISH WHAT YOU STARTTTTTT.
You know how your parents said you wouldn’t grow big and strong unless you ate all your broccoli? Well they TOLD THE TRUTH. I didn’t eat my broccoli and I’m only 5’1.
Also. This also applies to writing. You CAN’T GROW AS A WRITER unless you finish that draft.
Even if it sucks and is crappy and is ugh. Finish it. You can edit a pile of limp seaweed. You can’t edit air. In fact I have tips on how to write the perfect first draft. I also have tips on how to get your dog to be your handy secretary and fetch you warm drinks and pretzels so take my advice at your own risk.
LIFE HACK #18: ALWAYS HAVE A CUP OF COFFEE OR TEA ON HAND WHILE WRITING.
This way when you set fire to your hair in frustration, you’ll be able to put yourself out. Very much recommend. Chargrilled author isn’t as pleasant as it tastes.
UM, I MEAN SOUNDS. SOUNDS. I DO NOT EAT PEOPLE HAHA.
Okay we’re done here, since you’re going to look at me with so much suspicious condescension. Gee.