Dear Ask A Hack Writer: What inspires you?

First of all, I love your idealism. You are so sweet! I am not even being sarcastic when I say that. I love hearing from people who have not been ground down by the passage of time. I also enjoy the knowledge that at some point, time will get to you in one way or another. Anyway, what inspires me is, simply, cash money. Direct deposits into my bank account, nowadays. And not even large amounts of money by most peoples’ standards. Basically, how I get inspired is to get an assignment from one of the many hack publications I write for; mostly online stuff. They ask me to write something and I do that. I do it in the way they’ve asked me to do it. I figured out a long time ago: Don’t be creative. Don’t mess around and add a lot of fancy words when what the editor is asking for is some facts, maybe a puff piece on a place in North Carolina that sells vegan hotdogs for housecats. I ask the lady I talk to, let’s call her Clara, when she started her business, how happy the cats are on a scale of one to ten, whether she has any heartwarming stories to share. Trust me, she does. I write that up, send it off, and then if I get any requests to change things, I do that. I don’t argue about commas and tell the editor that something is a comma splice, because I don’t give a shit. They can publish whatever they want. And I use my real name, too. I’m not here to prove anything to anyone. This is a job.

Dear Ask A Hack Writer: What is your favorite thing about being part of a community of writers?

That’s kind of a trick question for me, because I don’t really like other writers. I usually don’t mention the fact that I write and especially not when I happen to run across other writers. I don’t leave the house a lot, to be honest; just a weekly D&D game I go to, but those people are all in IT or work retail jobs.  I do occasionally need to go to “events” for the publications I work for. Those are often very painful for me. I do enjoy complaining about clients behind their backs via chat. I have a couple good hack writer friends that I do that with. And editors are actually pretty cool, but I hate writers. Do you have any idea how much most of them drink? It is not seemly.

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