10 Easy Tips to Hack Your Life Into Writing Like a Professional
10 Easy Tips to Hack Your Life Into Writing Like a Professional
by Christopher R. Myers
So, you want to be a writer, but have no possible scenario or way forward other than posting the first thought that slides from your brain early in the morning in a truncated statement on your personal twitter? Well, fret no more friend, you too can learn how to seize the proverbial pen and start writing like a professional if you just life hack your way there with this list of 10 easy steps to get there. Like Lenin moaned in that quiet voice on the Imagine record, “It's easy if you try”.
BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF
The first step is always the hardest! You have to be honest with yourself about who you are and where you came from or are coming from. Are you in a position to get the ball rolling on your own with well placed ads all over social media, knowing that places like facebook boost your “seen” numbers to lure you into buying more ads from them even though the analytics show that it is a waste of your money unless you are spending a cool grand at the least? Cool, that's cool, you'll probably do fine in this broken industry. Just have whoever is bankrolling you spend a few grand on social media ads and soon the freelancing can begin, even if you are rewriting the same article you read an hour ago about whatever it is the algorithm is demanding we care about today, at least you will be getting paid a bare minimum that you could possibly afford to go without, and if freelancing fails you can always just open a boutique publishing house and push a collection of whatever you scribbled in discarded notebooks from when you were 13.
If you aren't an 18 year old with deep family bank accounts and the ability to pay for series social media ads, that doesn't mean you can't write, but you will have to be much more honest with yourself about the class system and where you lie within it before taking the deep dive into “professional” writing. Are you a high school student with lofty goals and great grades? You're probably gonna move into a decent degree program and work fairly hard at getting a book deal by the time you are 32, I wish you luck, but you have work ethic so you don't need luck from me. Are you a lackadaisical sad-boy who can't seem to get out of bed without a drink and can't write without a joint and can't smoke without a hydrocodone but can't write when you're too high yet still seem to be thinking that Hunter S. Thompson wrote on WAY more substances, so ANYONE can do it? Well, you're pretty screwed. I hope you get sober and learn a few things along the way, and perhaps we can reconnect and start over at 28. Don't do anything I didn't do, you useless self-parody. Perhaps, if your economic situation was a little bit better you wouldn't have wound up like this, but let's face it, you're a sub-suburban gutterpunk , and community college drop out, no one is gonna give two nods to your story until it becomes interesting after you've passed though the eye of the storm. Are you nearing 32 with little to no money or connections to the industry? Pay squarespace to let you build a half hearted website on their platform and hope that you can figure out in the last few moments of youth you have left how to get someone ANYONE to come by and pay attention. How do you get attention? Well, you can try making some controversy by writing about a topic you know little of or that you have no business commenting on in the first place in order to garner the attention of a fanbase you wouldn't be caught courting if they were the last set of genitals in the bar at the end of the universe. This is the easiest part and could be sued by anyone of any background or social status. All you have to do is understand the algorithm and exploit the SEO.
What is SEO, you ask?
SEO, WHAT IT IS AND ISN'T
SEO or Search Engine Optimization, is a strategy used by people with time to understand the archaic and obtuse runes written by the old ones into the ancient scrolls we now know as the CompuServe Texts. If you are unable to understand how SEO works there are a ton of websites and articles that make their living on speaking about them in circular doublespeak that would make the occult writings of Crowley appear as Dr. Seuss rhyme schemes. I'm no expert, but what I can understand from the otherworldly chittering that leaks from the walls in my loneliest hours I can explain it to you thusly: To fully take advantage of SEO you have to know what your audience would be searching for in google. What would you audience be searching for in google? I'm not sure, silly, they are your audience, what do YOU think they would be searching for? Another great way to use SEO to your advantage is to get your website or writing linked on some trusted websites. Not through your twitter or personal facebook, but from a website of experts who have mystically decided that you deserve awards and notoriety. Don't know how to get yourself on a trusted experts site? Well, then I guess you don't deserve to write, go back to washing dishes failed peasant, if you had completed step 1 you'd know your place and wouldn't be getting disappointed here. If you are really looking to get your writing linked by trusted websites that people frequent, you're gonna have to write about the topics that people are searching for RIGHT NOW!
PRAISE BE THE ALGORITHM
Now it is time to get into the real work of writing. Google searching! Not for research about a topic you are genuinely interested in, or some innocuous detail that will help you flesh out a fictional world you are building. NO! Writing in the Post-Internet Age is all about giving the people what they want, and if you aren't writing about the topics people are searching for then you might as well use pen and paper again, because you are old news, the kind no one cares about or uses anymore. Here, I'll give you an example, on the day I am writing this a new trailer for a Poke'mon video game violently gunned down our mentions, because of this we have to write about going to battle with Sword and Shield and a mustached Dickensian industrialist poison monster that looks as if it adopts orphans to watch them die in his dank weed fields. Because this new trailer for Pokemon Sword/Pokemon Shield has dropped on August 7th, 2019 and it has given us a Zigzagoon worth of KISS makeup updates to the Galarian region, I am forced to Obstagoon my entire article here and Team Yell about new rivals Marnie and Bede in order to get noticed. I will also probably have to give the Bring Back National Dex controversy it's own middling post that comes down to a conclusion to picks a side in the most pointless fight in all of video game history since the last time a bunch of 20-30 year olds decided to cry that something ruined my childhood because cynicism is currency for the algorithm. We must write for the Algorithm, the Algorithm allows us to have a space on this internet. The Algorithm allows us to draw attention from it's all seeing eyes, the only eyes we see out of, the only eyes we need, the only eyes in existence. The Algorithm has no mouth for it needs not speak, for we need not speak. The Algorithm only has arms. Long arms with shimmering fingertips to point at what will feed us. Praise be the algorithm. Write for the Algorithm. Give your final shred of creativity to the algorithm. Star Wars. Pokemon. Captain America. White. Guns. Politics. President. Watch the wheel spin and feel safe and silent in the caring bosom of our great god the Algorithm. Praise be It. With the Algorithm We Are Whole. With the Algorithm We Are Found.
TIME TO WRITE
A schedule will help you understand the best times to be writing so you can get your poorly edited and haphazardly planned article about the exact topic that you researched in step two out to the masses. Their are peak hours that people will be searching for your topic, and though good writing takes time to get done, the Algorithm cares not for what is good, only for what is most clickable. Make sure to worry only about the most glaring of spelling errors and mistakes grammar make you. Commas? Forget commas, the Algorithm needs you to write quickly and without thought. No pausing. You must get that which the eyes want to see and the hands wish to click off your low-rent excuse for a word processor and to the open air market that we once called the wondrous internet. Their are peak hours in which the Eyes will be searching for the topic you have chosen, which is upwards of 24 hours after the initial posting about it, which makes our lives a lot easier, since your writing should mostly just be cribbing from whatever the initial post was. If all else fails you can always just bang out a word-salad of a summary and let some poor slob who isn't writing for a living sort it out. Once you know the peak hours that folks will be searching for the topic you were told to write about, be sure to know when the best time to share it with your network of absolutely real and in no way bought and paid for audience of social media bots is. Articles go viral quickly and without warning, but you might be able to sneak it in during the hours that most people are sharing, and you need this shared, because if the Algorithm deems your words necessary to read by putting a K or an M under a twitter post that happens to feature a link of your article, you will be on your way to never needing another one of these foul cloying articles again. Then YOU can write a 10 easy steps guide as if you are an expert and didn't get lucky by stacking the deck in your favor.
TIME TO WRITE b
You know what time the Algorithm awakens from it's deepest slumber, and what it's eyes wish to gaze upon on this glorious day that it blessed us with, now it is time to do the laundry. There is absolutely no way you will be able to get anything done today if the laundry is piled up around you like it is. While you are there don't forget that the human body is not eternal and thus needs food to sustain the energy that keeps the Algorithm running. While the laundry is being prepared for cleanliness, be sure to make yourself a bite of lunch. I know you woke up later today then you planned. Skipped breakfast again, didn't we? That's no bother, an hour of chain smoking while the laundry does it's dance should clear up the pesky pangs of hunger. Smoke. Smoke, Smoke and remember. Remember a time in your life that wasn't guided by the all seeing mind. When the internet was open and you could stumble upon a new favorite piece of fiction, or a strange video that you never thought possible. Remember when you weren't fed by the same loop of racist aunts and multi-level marketing moms. Remember when you dreams seemed close at hand in an open frontier where anyone could stake a claim and no one owned every good piece of real estate. Remember how it felt to be young, and hopeful in the face of an uncertain future. When underdogs were winners, and outlaws fought fascists, and the corporate venom hadn't polluted the digital space like it had the air you breathed look before you were old enough to buy the packs of death that you inhale to remove yourself from reality, hoping that for one solitary moment you can seize on the youthful exuberance you once had and chase it into the stars. Hitching your wagon on a passing meteor and riding it into the sunset, remember what it felt like to believe in something.
Hurry back. It is Waiting.
TIME TO WRITE c
Now that lunch is over and your laundry is done. Get your head into the write space for writing. Put on a loop of music and some good background noise, use spotify or youtube, but be sure to take a second just for you and watch a recommended video or two. Your recommended video feed in Youtube will certainly help you know what is happening in the world and how you should rite about it. Being up to date on what the Algorithm thinks YOU should be paying attention to will be an easy way to find what your audience is paying attention to. Oh no, you've lost another hour to the Algorithm. Given up in penance for the time you spent outside, REMEMBERING.
TIME TO WRITE d
Someone you care for and who cares for you deeply has interrupted your vapid staring. Be sure to take out the frustrations you feel in them by way of short snide comments and overblown reactions which are just cover-ups for the emotional fracturing you've felt since you were 15. Spend your time between sharp verbal outbursts looking at the worst news feeds you can find on social media. Whatever relaxing feelings given to you by the algorithm in step 6 should be all but forgotten as you dig yourself deeper and deeper into the existential horrors of the 21st century and the end of a dying decade. Dinner will be soon and shall be the first time the algorithm allows you away for food. After apologizing to it and your wife, be sure to spend the time that you cook dinner to tell your loved one of the stories you would be writing if you weren't currently taking care of yourself and your family like a proper adult is supposed to. Not in a passive aggressive way, because you love those you were allowed to love, but in a way that makes them seem interested in your ideas, that oughta give you the serotonin boost it takes to get you through the evening and carry you till night.
SPENDING TIME WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY
All work and no play makes jack a dull boy, said the popular heath ledger character and batmans best bud the jokester. And he was write. If you don't take some down time you are never going to be able to get this done correctly. So as you eat dinner be sure to watch some of the good old boob tube and enjoy some yuks with a favorite sitcom or any other type of entertainment. As the minutes become hours look at your phone periodically, almost like you are afraid it will leave you if your eyes aren't in it. Take yourself away from the entertainment you were enjoying in order to watch yourself growing older in the mirrored reflection of your device. Understand that you could be something more, if only the Algorithm deems you worthy. How do you prove your worthiness? And where is the time going? Use these thoughts as mental whips to flagellate yourself anytime you breathe without monetizing it. Use these thoughts to dig yourself deeper into a depression you had no idea was a screeching monkey on your shoulder pushing your face into a rising mud puddle. You could peacefully drown here, if the Algorithm did not need you attention energy for it's daily deeds.
SHOULD YOU PROCRASTINATE?
Procrastination is something all writers come to eventually, but how and when you procrastinate is all up to you. Now the dinner has finished and you have loaded the guns full of violent words to harm yourself with later, when the air is still and the home is quiet, can you afford to procrastinate and if you can how will you do it? Back in step 1 we discussed finding your place and being honest with yourself about it. Are you the type that can pay for ads that will appear in the timeline of the audience that the Algorithm has allowed to notice you? You have no time to procrastinate. Even with the money to exploit the algorithm, attention means a need for constant and unending updates. Like Bigward Smallies said, more currency more issues, but aint they the type id like to peruse, I'm subscribed for the articles. If you are being seen you have to make sure you are constantly seen or the lord and grace will turn the eyes to some other shmuck and in today's internet, someone else's success means your failure. You could always find ways to cooperate and collaborate with someone, but you have to be successful to do so, and It is a lot easier to become successful if you collaborate with someone who isn't stepping on your success. So during this step spend time finding a person with success but not on the topic that your are riding, someone tangentially connected will be fine.
Are you not of the group-groups listed above? You have all the time and all the excuse to procrastinate, right now. Find a deeply involving and time consuming video game and dig in boah, cause you ain't going no where till Arthur Morgan gets to be a Rockstar tax haven on the Big Grizzlies mountain. See, you're in the lower echelon of people the Algorithm is giving attention to, but fortunately in the higher echelon of the people the Algorthm wants attention from, so be sure to have something in your phone that can be a great distraction from the thing you are using to procrastinate from the work you wish you were doing. If the powerful eyes wanted to gaze upon you, it would've happened by now. You have all the time in the world.
iT'S EELVEN THIRTYY, DoO YOU kNOw wHERE yoUR iDEAS ARE?
You've wasted so much time. Run to the store for another pack of cigarettes that you can't afford. Wake up in a cold sweat 30 minutes late realizing the most of this evening has been a fever dream. Chain Smoke until you feel your lungs will burst. Burn three incense on the front steps of a dementia addled woman. This will attract three sly felines to your doorstep, answer the riddles that they speak. If you answer correctly one will live a new friend under your pillow. It is three AM. Did the riddle cat leave you a reptile or a small woodland mammal? If it was a reptile cook it raw over an open flame and eat it in a body of running water NEVER STANDING WATER! Do not gaze upon your reflection, or the thousands of red eyes that are watching your form as you maneuver about the waters, silently judging. Find a place to sleep that has neither cotton nor hay, which is one and a half miles away from where you normally rest your wary head. Do not write for three days. If the cats left you a mammal, take your laptop to a crossroads. Don't forget to bring a knife. Open the chest cavity of the small woodland creature and spill the contents if it's insides upon the keyboard while your favored word processor is open. Take the husk of it's body and place it between the 15th and 27th pages of a leather bound notebook. Cut your palm open and spill your blood upon the cover. Go to google and you will know the words to speak unto the Algorithm. Praise the Algorithm in this way for three hours without cease. Gaze into the open maw of eternal knowledge as you are fed what must be written. Never forget what your eyes have partaken of on this moonless night.
A CATCHY TITLE
When you wake up in your bed, and with no clue how you arrived there, you will find that someone or something has written an unknowable language on the ceiling above your head. Translate it into a title, and you will know what you are to write on this day.
SIT DOWN AND DO SOME WRITING
with full ideas, a full heart, and a full cup of coffee it is time to Sit down and begin hammering away at that opus. It takes a lot of time and effort to come up with fresh things to say and new ways to say them, but you aren't in it for being the most clever, you are in it for an undying and unyielding need to make art from words. The greatest of human endeavors is to create invisible pictures for individuals that never knew they wanted to see them, and we need more who willing to do so, so take a seat at your desk and get to work, because the only way anything gets written is by taking the time out to do the hard and laborious work. If you don't do it someone else will, and their perspective isn't quite yours so why let them do it and not you. Get in that lonely warm office and get it done.