Top 10 Writing Posts of 2020

What a year 2020 has been. As the beginning of a new decade, it felt momentous before it even started, but it still managed to shock the world.

For me, as I’m sure for all of you, this past year has challenged me in ways I never expected. Since I work from home and live in the middle of nowhere, my life seemed to go on much the same as always. And yet as I look back I can see how the events of this year have accelerated my own growth in many ways while creating stresses and tensions I wasn’t expecting in other areas.

For one thing, I didn’t get much fiction writing done. (Nope, no “plague plays” for me.) Although there were other factors to this, which I’ve discussed elsewhere and am still trying to figure out, a comment from one of you on the blog a few weeks back made me realize that, Yes, of course, 2020 has played a role in this.

And so I approach the end of this year with gratitude for what I was able to accomplish and for the fact that in no way was 2020 a wasted year. It was a year of weeding and planting. And while the seeds are still in the ground, I absolutely believe they will bear good fruit.

So the shorthand is that most of what I feel I’ve accomplished this year is internal and ephemeral. But I’m also happy that this year allowed for the following:

Wayfarer 165 Weiland

Wayfarer (affiliate link)

My plans for next year are nebulous when it comes to my fiction, vacillating between the super-scary thought of taking a conscious break to experimenting with pantsing a story to trying my hand at poetry or memoir.

In January, I plan to start my long-anticipated (by me anyway) blog series about archetypal character arcs. Developer Bob Miller and I also tentatively plan to launch an online-based subscription service as a partner program to the Outlining Your Novel Workbook app. And I’m super excited to get to share with you a full-cast audio production of my gaslamp fantasy Wayfarer.

Thank you for walking and writing beside me in this historic year!

And now, just in case you missed them or want to review, here are my top 10 writing posts from 2020, according to your page views.

My Top 10 Posts of 2020

1. 2 Different Types of the Lie Your Character Believes

2. 7 Possible Hooks for Your Opening Chapter

3. The Crucial Link Between Your Story’s Inciting Event and Climactic Moment

4. 15 Steps to Self-Publish Your Book

5. 6 Tips for Introducing Characters

6. 7 Considerations for Your Antagonist’s Motivations (Which Will Save You SOOO Much Trouble)

7. 6 Steps to Create Realistic (and Powerful) Scene Dilemmas

8. 4 Questions to Prevent Plot Holes

9. 7 Steps to Stop Overthinking Your Writing

10. 15 Productive Tasks You Can Still Do Even When You Don’t Feel Like Writing

Wordplayers, tell me your opinions! What was the most memorable writing event in your 2020? 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.

Comments

  1. Wayne Murphy says

    Have a safe and happy holiday.

  2. Louis Schlesinger says

    Your blog rocks, Katie. Looking forward to your installments about archetypal character arcs. Stay safe, be well!

  3. Eric Troyer says

    Thanks, Katie. Like your life, mine was not drastically changed in 2020. I also work from home and live in the middle of nowhere (Fairbanks, Alaska). My fiction writing also got bumped down the list for me. I also didn’t fully understand why at first, but then I realized the pandemic contributed. I do communications for a few small non-profits and communicating about the pandemic took time. I feel fortunate to not be suffering like so many people are during these times, but I do miss my fiction writing. I just started finding time again and that makes me happy. Thanks for writing your blog. It inspires me to continue!

  4. I published a novel this fall after two years of not being able to write due to a long depressive episode. I on my to publishing its sequel soon. Despite my anxiety over the past year, I’ve at least been able to write. When I’m depressed, I can’t do anything creative.

  5. Yay for semi-finalisting!
    This year I published my second novel The Wound of Words (also a SPFBO semi-finalist), and then a collection of my best blog posts of the last 7 years (The Ambition of a Potato).

    Currently I’m reading Paula Munier’s book on beginnings – recommended by you, I believe. Planning to have my third novel outlined by Christmas and then plunge in come January 2.

  6. First thing first, I have to admit that these top ten posts are the ones that I’ve loved the most. I actually printed every single one out and read them every now and then!!

    The most memorable writing event in 2020 for me, was entering my first-ever writing contest. 🙂 I’m really, really excited to see if I win or get honorable mention. It helped me understand the pressure of writing with a due date. It also helped me get the feel of what it’s like to write with strong perfectionism –and then to overcome it. And… in 2020 I also found out about your blog!!!! I know there has never been a greater year for me in my life -when it comes to writing, anyway (… not my social life)- and although some think 2020 was terrible, I’m trying to look on the bright side… and in reality, I have a lot to be grateful for. 🙂

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Congrats on entering the contest. No matter how you place, that is something to celebrate. You’re on your way!

  7. Eva Rottenanger says

    Hi,
    I just wanted to thank you for all your helpful pointers. For someone fairly new to all this, your blogs are (trying to find a good adjective here…) supersonically helpful. Thank you so much for your generosity.

    Have a lovely Christmas and a safe and fulfilling 2021.
    Eva

  8. Pants it! Pants it!

    That’s my suggestion for next year. As I mentioned in my comment on another post, I can’t believe how much I’ve learned from what I thought would be an alienating, confusing, and fruitless experiment. A few of the big ones:

    – Structure still applies. The three-act structure was something I consciously employed as I hit various points in my story. You still get to play with your favorite toys, even when pantsing.

    – “Pacing” is a matter of progression, whether it be in plot or character. You’ll have a stronger sense of that while discovery writing, and you’ll find that your characters (especially) are changing in more satisfying ways.

    – Writer’s block is most often just indecision. You’ll learn that when faced with two good options you can’t decide between, you might as well pick one since sitting there comparing them for more than a few minutes is a waste of time. (This runs counter to what your puzzle-solving brain wants to believe, but it’s true).

    – Writing comes from a deeper place than you realize. Your connection to your subconscious will grow. You will have to admit that all of your meticulous planning and outlining, though helpful in normal circumstances, is not the true source.

    So there’s my two cents. Don’t avoid the unknown. There’s good stuff out there where outliners fear to tread.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      My latest notion is to dive in and write the third book in my trilogy based on the outline I already have–even though I know it’s probably not publishable. At least I’d be writing again!

      • I’m very okay with anything that brings Dreambreaker another step closer. (Not trying to add to the pressure at all – just expressing a little enthusiasm!)

        • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

          I appreciate it. 😀 Depending on what happens, I may end up unofficially publishing the sequels on my website for those who are interested, even if I don’t feel they’re good enough to “officially” publish.

  9. Just to say for someone “disrupted” by life’s events, you’re pretty productive. I’ve found 2020 very destabilising and hard on creativity (if I ever had any ). A period or “rest” isn’t such a bad thing, really, as long as you have ideas for the future, which you do, aplenty. So, wow! What a year and just look at your list of top 10. There’s 42 more beneath that. Plus the back catalogue. Quite an achievement. And something to be proud of. Your posts, these responses, they speak to real engagement with writers and your frank and informative discussions only help those everywhere. You can’t imagine the impact you’re having…

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      Sometimes I forget that the blog posts are an “accomplishment.” So thank you very much for the reminder. Great to hear you’re enjoying them!

      • Eric Troyer says

        I’m reading “Writing Your Story’s Theme” and I remembered this comment. I suppose viewing blog posts is a bit like stepping back and looking at a story’s theme: seeing the whole forest instead of just the individual trees. I think that’s a good way to view your blog posts as an “accomplishment” and perhaps shape them in the future.

  10. I am going to see if I can get your theme book from the library. Are you going to do a theme workbook?
    How do you write your theme for your books?
    My new years resolution is I am not going to eat anymore meat or fish so I will be only be eating plant foods, grains and nuts and tofu.

    • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

      What I talk about in the book is pretty much my process for theme. No plans for a workbook at the moment.

      • I am reading your book Dreamlander. I like it so far. Does Chris come back to Lael in book 2? Have you ever done a bullet journal before?

        • K.M. Weiland | @KMWeiland says

          Glad you’re enjoying it! And, yes, if Book 2 happens, then he’ll be returning to Lael. And, no, I’ve never done a bullet journal.

  11. The “Sword of Damocles” mood around us hasn’t helped. My high point for 2020 was my latest book getting an SPR review stating: “. . . a truly good read . . . a literary descendant of Kafka . . .” [cough, cough]

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