Growing up with YouTube, I grew up with the ‘hack testing’ video genre. Five minutes testing ten second micro-clips and showing the ridiculousness of it all. Most of them are beauty related. Be it the clock-work TroomTroom tests by SimplyNailogical or the less frequent social media playground traversed by Safiya Nygaard (or my personal favorite, the off-shoot done by the guys over at SORTED where they play with ridiculous kitchen equipment), I love watching hacks get dragged into the light.

And writing hacks – I’ve heard plenty, so I thought I’d put them to the test. Give me a reason to use that MS of mine. Send me hacks or links to your writing boards on Pinterest, and I’ll test them.

For now, here are a few of my favorites:

  1. If you write in Comic Sans, you’ll write more (because it’s so non-judgmental of a font).

This didn’t work for me at all. Monday through Friday, I average 1.5K words. Good weeks move it up to 2K. My weekends have at least 5K total over the two days.

Monday: I saw an uptick to 1.7K. Every day following? Dropped me down to 1K-1.3K. However, I didn’t associated this with the font. Stress often results in increased word counts for me, but I had a lot of day job overflow, so I wasn’t shocked. All in all, a down-tick of 200 words per day over the full week. Nothing to be horrified about but still ~13% drop. I’d be curious to do this one again to see if a better week would see an overall rise from the average.

When my head stops turning to Undertale every time I open the document, I’ll let you all know.

2.  Write the dialogue first.

This worked. Following the Comic Sans week, I played with dialogue first writing. While this trick isn’t entirely new – I had done it before whenever I wrote an argument, this was the first time I tried it from the onset.

Average writing increased 500 words (33.3%) during the work week, and I managed to double the amount I wrote on the weekend. Whenever I got stuck, I backtracked and filled where I needed. My bad habit of editing as I write actually became productive.

As it worked, I plan to continue for the next month. I’ll report back how that goes.

3. Avoid the can’t-remember-the-word/fact rabbit whole by sticking ELEPHANT (or another word) in the word/fact’s place.

This is my greatest weakness. My brain is rather obsessive. If I can’t find a word, it almost itches in the back of my head until I’ve figured it out. Same when I can’t think of a book name or anything really. It’s unproductive. Whether writing or in life, the sort of mental beat-down that results can veer me off topic and any confidence I had in what I was saying vanishes.

An off-shoot of this – where I can’t envision the character’s response in totality – has also been problematic, but it seemed like I’d just have a page of elephants if I used that every single time my brain stuttered.

While I can’t say ‘elephant’ in my daily life, it helped to some degree. Not in word count. There was no real movement on this one. I often used up what might have been my extra words in a comment attached to the ELEPHANT which described my intention because I was terrified I’d go back and have no idea what I meant at the time. Perhaps – that is the point. To be able to go back and find out that whatever you’ve written around the ELEPHANT needs to blend with whatever the ELEPHANT becomes.

 

If you’ve got a writing hack that works for you or one you’ve seen online and would like me to try out, comment down below!

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