• strict warning: Declaration of FeedsImporter::copy() should be compatible with FeedsConfigurable::copy(FeedsConfigurable $configurable) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/includes/FeedsImporter.inc on line 94.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsNodeProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsNodeProcessor.inc on line 319.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsNodeProcessor::setTargetElement() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::setTargetElement(&$target_item, $target_element, $value) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsNodeProcessor.inc on line 319.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsFeedNodeProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsFeedNodeProcessor.inc on line 227.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsFeedNodeProcessor::setTargetElement() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::setTargetElement(&$target_item, $target_element, $value) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsFeedNodeProcessor.inc on line 227.
  • strict warning: Declaration of FeedsUserProcessor::map() should be compatible with FeedsProcessor::map($source_item, $target_item = NULL) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/feeds/plugins/FeedsUserProcessor.inc on line 195.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • warning: preg_replace(): Compilation failed: disallowed Unicode code point (>= 0xd800 && <= 0xdfff) at offset 1809 in /home/writezil/public_html/modules/search/search.module on line 334.
  • You must include at least one positive keyword with 3 characters or more.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display.inc on line 1877.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_display_block::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin_display::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_display_block.inc on line 193.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_field.inc on line 641.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 82.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 585.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 585.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 609.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 128.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 25.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of content_handler_field::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/cck/includes/views/handlers/content_handler_field.inc on line 208.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 843.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument::init() should be compatible with views_handler::init(&$view, $options) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 745.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_argument_broken::ui_name() should be compatible with views_handler::ui_name($short = false) in /home/writezil/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_argument.inc on line 770.

The Five Mistakes that Caused Me to Not Write My Column This Month

Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, songwriters, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody.
Due to circumstances surrounding Hurricane Florence, I will not be writing my “Hacks for Hacks” column this month. My family and I are quite safe, riding out the storm on a wooden raft in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. As much as I would love to blame Mother Nature, which I do for the bulk of the problems in my life, I must accept full responsibility for not planning ahead and taking measures to deliver my column. I offer my humble apologies to Writer Unboxed and my readers.
In the interest of transparency and accountability, I catalogued the mistakes I made in the hope that you can avoid them yourself.
Mistake 1: Ignoring the weather report
Despite the fact that the news reports have been saying for the past week that a hurricane was approaching, through a combination of distracting websites, wishful thinking, snacks, and willpower, I remained unaware of this fact until the rains had begun. As I always say, never underestimate your ability to not notice an inconvenient fact when your sanity depends on you not noticing it. Had I been smart, I would have written and filed my column early in the week when Florence was still just a tropical storm.
Mistake 2: Selling my laptop for a handful of magic beans
When I finally did accept the fact that a storm was coming and that I very well could lose electricity, the life-giving substance that gives power to word processors and blogs alike, I took stock of the situation. I concluded that, given that my column is published on a blog, and that blogs live in “the cloud,” I could plant some magic beans to grow a giant beanstalk and climb up into the cloud myself. Once there, safely above the hurricane’s devastation, I could hand-deliver my column. Not only did I forget that I’d need my laptop to write the column (which is a pretty boneheaded move, I must admit), but the beanstalk only grew four stories tall, and was promptly blown over by the gale-force winds (another oversight for which I feel quite foolish).
Mistake 3:  Trying to turn time backwards by driving my car in the opposite direction of the flow of traffic
Huge time waster, with nothing to show for it. In my defense, this would have worked if not for the roads being closed due to flooding, or if I had a jet ski.

https://i1.wp.com/writerunboxed.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/hurricane... 525w, https://i1.wp.com/writerunboxed.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/hurricane... 640w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px" data-recalc-dims="1" />photo by dasroofless
Mistake 4: Selling my jet ski on Labor Day weekend
Every writer should have a jet ski. Whether you’re trying to meet a deadline or navigate around a difficult plot point or find a red herring in your detective novel, those things will get you out of more jams than you can count.
Mistake 5: Traveling to an alternate dimension in order to steal a completed column from an alternate-dimension version of me
This gambit is familiar to writers and readers of science fiction, and let me tell you from experience, it’s not worth it. There’s no way to prepare yourself to meet an alternate version of yourself and realizing that they’ve got their life together. Probably because the alternate-dimension version of you isn’t a writer, but a medical-records technician. I’ll never forget the look of disappointment on my double’s face when I told him I have no bestsellers and don’t meet Stephen King for beers every Tuesday. Anyway, yeah, alternate-dimension me hadn’t written anything, either. I shuffled back through my battery-powered dimensional-portal generator, admitting defeat at last.
We writers love to procrastinate, relying on last-minute panic to get the creative juices flowing. But let my tale be a lesson to all of you not to put off your writing until the last possible second. We are at the mercy of elements we cannot control—elements such as the elements, for example—and we’ve got to be proactive to make sure we meet our deadlines and keep our promises to our editors, and most importantly, to our readers. Once again, I’m sorry I was unable to deliver a column this month. Next month, I promise I’ll be back to writing columns on how to choose the perfect pen, or how to defeat your standing desk or whatever. Weather permitting.
Have you learned any writing lessons the hard way? Has blowing a deadline made you a wiser writer? Share your hard-won knowledge in the comments!

Wish you could buy this author a cup of joe?

Now, thanks to tinyCoffee and PayPal, you can!

About Bill FerrisAfter college, Bill Ferris 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.Web | Twitter | More Posts

"Living gives you a better understanding of life. I would hope that my characters have become deeper and more rounded personalities. Wider travels have given me considerably greater insight into how cultural differences affect not only people, but politics and art."
Alan Dean Foster

Random picks

  • This will take a lot of research and will require writers to research in person.
  • Ebooks Fortnight on Vulpes Libris Another welcome guest post today. Phillipa Ashley introduces us to: THE COFFEE CREW (Aka Phillipa Ashley, Nell Dixon and Elizabeth Hanbury) The Coffee Crew is a tale for modern times: we met online, drawn together by a passion for writing romantic fiction. Like me, Nell was a new member of the Romantic Novelists Association and I’d come across her on various online romance writing forums back in 2006. I’d known Liz for about the same length of time from C19, a forum initially dedicated to all things North & South but which has developed into a hub to...
  • I'm pleased to reveal that my tongue-in-cheek science-fiction novella The Festival on Lyris Five is now available in both printed and downloadable form.
  • In this, Berlin's second to last collection while she was alive, she tells tales from all over. Most of the best ones ended up in A Manual for Cleaning Women. But I decided I'd read the rest of the works that appear here so as to get a sense of her other ouevre."Luna Nueva" involves a pool in Mexico, where people go to the beach to sunbathe and to feel the water on their skin. There's a kind of miraculous feel to this water, reviving people."Sombra" is one of Berlin's better stories and one of the best in this collection (certainly the best of those not collected elsewhere). It brings...
  • Are you writing from your vantage point, or your audience's? (Hint: it should be from your audience's point of view.) Read more for the six ways to make sure you're writing for your audience.

Recommended sites

Most recent titles

Fast fact about writing

Ancient writing (at first pictographic in nature) is best known from clay and stone inscriptions, but the use of perishable materials, mainly palm leaf, papyrus, and paper, began in ancient times.