Writing Hack | HumorOutcasts

Writing Hack

December 27, 2016
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Photo of Julian Assange by Cancillería del Ecuador

Lately, I’ve noticed an explosive proliferation of articles about “hacks”: cleaning hacks, cooking hacks, travel hacks, life hacks—even bathroom hacks. Bathroom hacks? I understand how the word applies to video games and computers, meaning an expert’s cheat, security circumvention, secret shortcut, or clever tip—but it seems strange to me when applied to life and bathrooms.

In the good old days—before Trump was elected—we got along just fine without this ugly word. I guess if Heloise were starting her helpful household column today, it’d be “Hacks from Heloise.”

And I’m especially confused about applying this term to people. How can a person be a shortcut? Or a tip? Can you explain it to me? Why do people who read my writing keep calling me a hack?

Bill Spencer

Bill Spencer's humor writing has been published by Funny Times, Narrative magazine, Reader's Digest, The Sun, The Inconsequential, Clever magazine, Defenestration, The Short Humour Site, Hobo Pancakes, and Nuthouse. He has also published scholarly articles on the novels of Cormac McCarthy and is co-author of an unproduced screenplay, "Angel Pays a Visit." He lives in a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina with his wife, artist-poet Carolyn Elkins.

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12 Responses to Writing Hack

  1. January 2, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    Bill Spencer a hack? — NO WAY!! 😀

    • Bill Spencer
      January 2, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      Your check is in the mail, Kathy.

  2. Bill Y Ledden
    December 31, 2016 at 4:49 am

    It’s because you hack straight to the point, Bill and please don’t ever change.

    • Bill Spencer
      December 31, 2016 at 6:39 am

      Writers are explorers hacking through a jungle of words.

  3. December 29, 2016 at 9:16 am

    From a site called the Jargon File: Hacking might be characterized as ‘an appropriate application of ingenuity.’ Own your greatness, Bill!

    • Bill Spencer
      December 29, 2016 at 9:35 am

      Can I just rent it? (I don’t think I can afford the down payment.)

  4. December 28, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Never, ever would I use the words “hack” and “Bill Spencer” in the same sentence unless you become an Uber driver.

    • Bill Spencer
      December 28, 2016 at 9:43 am

      Based on these limitations, you could never say, “Bill Spencer is not a hack.”

  5. admin
    December 27, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    I only hear it applied to my golfing ability. 🙂

    • Bill Spencer
      December 27, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      Join the club.

  6. December 27, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Ha,ha. Not sure anyone would call you a hack. I’m hoping the word goes away or at least used much less. I blank out when I hear it.

    • Bill Spencer
      December 27, 2016 at 2:38 pm

      As for the overuse, let’s hack away at it.



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