Top 10 Writing Posts of 2017

Top 10 Writing Posts of 2017

Top 10 Writing Posts of 2017We’re hurtling toward the end of the year, which means it’s time to hit pause, amidst all the winter festivities, and take a look back at 2017.

For me, this has been a vastly different and vastly important year. As I talked about in the post “6 Lifestyle Changes You Can Make to Protect Creativity,” one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that of slowing down and appreciating the journey more than the destination. As a a result, 2017 hasn’t been a wildly productive year for me in so many obvious ways. And I feel like it was maybe my best year yet.

My personal highlights include:

12-17 Office

12-15-17 E-Letter Bookcase

In the spirit of continuing down this new path of nurturing my creative life and smelling the roses, my goals for next year are also reasonably modest. At the top of the list is publishing my superhero historical Wayfarer (think Spider-Man meets Charles Dickens) next fall or winter, as well as finishing the first draft of Dreambreaker and maybe starting the outline for the third and final book in the series. Plus, I’ve also got some more travel plans up my sleeves.

My Top Writing Posts of 2017

But before we get too far ahead of ourselves (my specialty), let’s take a look at what were, according to your pageviews, this website’s top 10 writing posts of 2017.

1. 5 Rules for How to Write a Sequel to Your Book 

2. How to Calculate Your Book’s Length Before Writing

3. How to Outline a Series of Bestselling Books

4. The Lazy Author’s 6-Question Guide to Writing an Original Book

5. The Great Novel-Writing Checklist

6. Top 10 Ways to Rivet Readers With Plot Reveals

7. The 7 Stages of Being a Writer (How Many Have You Experienced?)

8. 5 Misconceptions About Writing That I Used to Believe

9. Are You a Writer or a Storyteller?

10. 3 Ways to Choose the Right Protagonist

Wordplayers, tell me your opinion! What was your biggest writing breakthrough in 2017? Tell me in the comments!

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About K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland

K.M. Weiland is the award-winning and internationally-published author of the acclaimed writing guides Outlining Your Novel, Structuring Your Novel, and Creating Character Arcs. A native of western Nebraska, she writes historical and fantasy novels and mentors authors on her award-winning website Helping Writers Become Authors.


  1. I know I’m responsible for quite a few of those page views, Katie 🙂 the office looks great, too! Congrats on finishing the remodeling.

    2017 saw me to the end of the first draft of my WIP, on which I also did a hefty amount of revising and actually got out to some betas and critique forums. Still working on it, but it’s in better shape than it has been any other year!

    I think that’s one of the reasons I’m more comfortable calling myself a “writer” at the end of this year. I also broke into the world of the stage and wrote a 10-minute play, so that was quite exciting.

    Best wishes for the holiday season and have a blessed new year!

  2. Your second most popular post changed my life! After my second novel turned out with less than half the word count I wanted, my writer friend gave me a helpful link about calculating your book’s length before writing… and I’ve been a Wordplayer ever since.

    I feel so blessed to have been able to learn about outlining and structuring from you (and I’m still learning!)–I start writing my first fully outlined and structured novel come January first because of you. Thank you so much for changing my writing life! I thank God for you all the time, Katie. You’re the best. ☺️


  3. That office looks amazing! I can’t wait for the day I can hang a poster of my book on my shelf. My favorite post from 2017 was 5 Ways to Write a (Nearly) Perfect First Draft. Expecting rubbish from my first drafts was hindering me in so many ways I hadn’t realized. I’d see plot holes and think “I can just take care of them later” — but that ended up in terrible stories that never got edited.
    This year has had it’s ups and downs, but it’s sparked a huge growth spurt in my writing. My biggest breakthrough was in July when I realized there was so much wrong in my story. I almost quit, but instead I decided to learn as much as I could. I’ve read all the Helping Writers Become Authors blog posts and books, as well as several other blogs and writing books. Now I believe I’ve gotten to the “knowing and knowing that I know” stage after eight years of being in the writing game — I finally *get* it.

  4. Your posts have been life changing for me, Katie. No exaggeration! I’d never be able to thank you enough for what has amounted to literal volumes of your sage advice, and finding confidence in my own skills as well.
    Spectacular office space, I love your artwork too! I wish you all the best in every one of your journeys for this upcoming year, you deserve nothing less. You have significantly helped so many budding authors out in these wilds.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Aw, shucks. I don’t know what to say–seriously. But I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the post and found them useful! It’s been a blessing having you as a part of the Wordplayer community.

  5. It looks like it’s been a good year! I love your basement/office remodel. One of these days I’ll have an office to myself, but for now I’ll keep sharing with my living room/the kids’ playroom/my piano… 🙂

    My biggest writing moments this year:
    1) taking a month dedicated almost entirely to revisions on my own work instead of editing for others. With that month (and a lot of other months of work), I took a finished-but-not-polished draft into a final, polished book I’m proud of.
    2) coming up with a new idea and writing it, winning NaNo despite not outlining as much as I should have. I’m the rare writer for whom ideas are not a dime a dozen, so to have an idea that I was excited about was huge, especially in the wake of a book that took two years.

    Next year’s goals will be to finish querying the first and finish a working/shareable draft of the second, which basically means treating my NaNo draft as a rough outline, teasing out the themes I started to develop, and starting from scratch. 🙂

  6. Susan Policoff says

    The office does look great! I love your site. My best accomplishments this year are two novels finished in first draft and the start of revising the first one. A reorganization of my space to make my writing books and old printed out drafts (One of which I hope to introduce to Scrivener and revise since it is connected short stories, half of which have been published in small magazines) more accessible, staying healthy (a problem in two previous years) and time spent with my grandchildren, who I help care for. Your site and books are really helpful and interesting. Have a great holiday season!

  7. Top realization – I need to prioritize how I spend my writing hours. More organized re: time and reconnecting with friends more than once a year.
    (I saw you on your Alaska cruise adventure – on Twitter). Warm wishes!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Yes, one of my top focuses after Christmas is getting myself and writing back to an organized state. I’ve been all over the place this year.

  8. Thanks a lot for this post! It contains a couple of my favorites. ‘Are you a wrtiter or a storyteller?’ was very insightful. I realised I am a storyteller and that I am looking for stories. I also understood why I was struggling with a book I was reading at that time. It was cleary written by a Writer, not a Storyteller!

    I want to thank you for all your posts, books, everything you do to help other writers. Last year I learnt so much about writing through your posts and sited, it feels like you are my personal writing teacher ;). It is also very nice to find another writer who’s mind seems to work similar to mine.
    So thank you so, so, so much!

    My personal biggest writing breakthroughs were: taking my writing seriously and embracing the hardcore outliner that I am. Writing brings me so much: energy, fun, something to wrestle with. And I learn so much about God in this proces. Taking it seriously helps me grow as a person. And yes, outlining helps a lot with it and it is how I work best. I realised last spring that I was outlining the wrong story for my characters and started over with them. Now, the new story is so much better, it is their story, not a story forced upon them (hope I make sens here). Thanks to outlining, I figured it out after 4-5 months and could make a new start.

    Yes, it was a very good writing year for me 🙂

    I wish you a happy Christmas!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      That’s fantastic! Great to hear about your wonderful year. So glad you’re enjoying the posts!

  9. I’ve only just discovered your blog and am already a huge fan! Your posts have been terrific and super helpful to my writing.
    I think 2017 was a winner in my writing history, I’ve improved in how I tell the story by actually creating a way of writing for myself that I feel confident in. I’ve been becoming a little more organised, keeping notations on scenes and have filled my little book with idea that pop into my mind. I have also achieved a unique feel to my books, which was a relief, whew! I hate it when something doesn’t feel right or that it appears to stand side by side with another author’s work.
    Writing has also been faster but with higher quality and little revisions, thank goodness!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      “Creating” your own writing process is a huge step in the life any writer (or, I suspect, any artist). It’s one of the most exciting things you’ll ever do. 🙂

  10. Thanks for all you do for aspiring novelists, Katie. I own two of your books, and I look forward to your e-mails. Most of all, I appreciate your positive attitude and your willingness to talk about faith. I believe (and have seen) that much is possible when we pray about it. I’ve been really “down” on myself these past few days: I did NOT achieve my writing goals nor my fitness goals in 2017. Part of me wants to just give up on both! I have a very busy full-time job that sucks the life out of me, making me too tired to be creative (or to walk on the treadmill!) most days. I’m hoping (and praying) for better work-life balance in 2018. By the way, you basement looks great! I love to decorate, too.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      I’m actually (and surprisingly) not a big fan of goals–which is something I’m going to talk about in the New Year’s post in a few weeks. You may not have accomplished your goals this year, but I bet you learned a lot–and that’s what’s most important.

    • Hi Rhonda,

      I totally understand your feelings about not accomplishing your goals. I felt like that for years. This year, I learned to look at my growing instead of accomplishing my goals and it makes such a difference. This year, I didn’t meet my writing goals, and yet, I can look back at a wonderful writing year. Because I don’t look at it as a failure, but als growing: I learned so much about writing, the story I am trying to tell, myself and God. I grew as a follower of God, human being, wife, mother, sister, friend, writer and more; while I failed almost all my goals for this year…
      I hope this idea can help you.


      I am looking forward to your New Year’s post!

  11. I guess my biggest landmarks of 2017 were:
    Managing to finally establish a good writing routine (which made the word count go up), finding several good helpers – books and blog posts, including yours – that helped me getting more structure into my writing (which hopefully improved the quality of it), and last but not least finding a writing buddy to share my work-in-progress with (her encouragement helps in those moment when I think I am writing the worst piece of fiction ever!).
    So it has been a good year! And I secretly dream of finishing my first draft next year and start revising … 🙂
    All the best for 2018!

  12. DirectorNoah says

    One of the biggest breakthroughs of 2017 for me, was the decision to shelve the book I’d worked four years on, to begin a new one, which looking back was the best thing I’ve done so far in my writing journey. It’s allowed me to grow as a writer, and put many important things I’ve learnt from your posts into action with the outline, something I couldn’t have done with the first project.

    Another huge moment was the realisation in the summer, that I needed to slow down and focus more on cultivating my writing, rather than trying to hurry and complete the story prematurely, a reason why this year has unfortunately, not been as productive as I’d hoped. I kept missing my writing goals, but came to accept, that the story will be ready when it’s ready, and not before.

    Probably the greatest landmark this year Katie, was discovering your wonderful site in June, and learning all about outlining and structure for the first time.
    Your posts have been a true blessing and gift to me in my aspiration to become a better author, and I thank you so much for all the help, advice and insights you’ve shared throughout the year.
    Your inspirational blog has given me the confidence and motivation to keep on writing and learning, and that is something I will always be grateful to you for.

    Next year, I’m aiming to begin the first draft of my novel in Febuary, and hopefully, it will require less revisions, thanks to the months of planning and preparation done beforehand! 😉

    I wish you a happy Christmas, and the very best of luck with whatever projects you’re doing in 2018!
    (The office basement looks really cool and stylish btw!)

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      As someone who, obviously, had a less productive year than projected herself, I wouldn’t say that it’s “unfortunate.” It was what it was meant to be, and as you say, you learned tons. So congrats on the growth!

  13. Hey KM – Your home office looks beautiful. It’s so important to have a nice, comfortable and QUIET place to write. And hey, that mechanical keyboard you were showing off on Twitter looks great in your office.

    I have to credit you with one of my most important writing breakthroughs in 2017, and that’s not hyperbole. I had the characters, the setting and the foundations of some good scenes, but I was down on myself for not having a completely original science fiction plot. You pointed me to one of your posts specifically about that topic, about how genuinely original plots are actually pretty rare, and we shouldn’t let the lack of a completely original plot stop us from moving forward.

    But what really helped me is where you mentioned that what we do with those familiar plots is what matters — how we put our own imprint on them, like a musician putting their own stamp on a song they’re covering.

    It prompted me to do some thinking about what’s important to me, and that’s when I committed to work in a central conservation angle into my story. I’m excited to share the story, but I’ll try to be disciplined and won’t leave the details here. Suffice to say, you helped me see the value of what I already had for this story, and rekindled my enthusiasm for it.

    Thank you for that, and have a great holiday/Christmas/New Year!

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Good for you! That’s super-exciting. Nothing is better than finding a story angle you’re passionate and excited about!

  14. Hi Katie!


    It’s been a rocky year for me, so I wasn’t able to read and comment as much as I wanted. Had to step back and take a bird’s eye view of everything. But I learned a lot!

    I really enjoyed reading AND writing this year. Reading helped in several ways seeing how others employ the craft and use their imagination. Utterly amazing.

    My highlights for writing? Hmmm… I’ve had several!

    Made my first character arc! Woohoo!

    1. Creating characters and their motivations, goals

    2. Making a map of the story world was one of the best things I’ve done this year. Being able to visualize areas on the map opened up a well of information.

    3. Writing more this year was so helpful! Being more focused was a highlight for me.

    4. My story started to gel in different ways. This, is probably the most rewarding experience. I began to see things fall into place which made writing a lot easier.

    5. Character Arcs of course! Your books, OYN software are invaluable.

    6. Shifting from brainstorming to character arcs, world building and creating subtext.

  15. Valerie Harbolovic says

    Of your fave 10 posts for 2017, I liked the novel checklist and writer/storyteller posts the best.
    Of posts in general, my fave was Ian Irvine’s series of posts on conflict:
    It was on his blog where I first read of your blog.
    My fave book of the year was Writing for Emotional Impact by Karl Iglesias, which I also read about on Ian Irvine’s blog.
    I’ve always had more stories in my head than time to tell them all. My quest has been to refine my craft. I’ve discovered so many wonderful resources on the internet this year – including your blog – that I am ready to start the rewrite of my first novel.

    Thank you for your support of writers like me.

    Happy new year!


  16. Doug Raymond says

    K.M. Weiland, thank you for this helpful compilation of resources. As a new writer myself, I appreciate all the tips and recommendations I can get! Eventually I hope to make the move towards publishing my own work. It is a journey! I recently ran across a site that supports writers in their quest to get their work into the world, is a story-telling platform that supports both the writer and the avid reader. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of quality work I found here. Thank you again, for sharing your experience and wisdom, the budding authors of the world appreciate it!


  1. […] For those of you who don’t yet follow K. M. Weiland’s writing advice, here are some of her most popular posts for 2017. […]

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