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20 Most Popular Writing Posts of 2020

We share a lot of writing-related posts throughout the year on the Writer’s Digest website. In this post, we’ve collected the 20 most popular writing posts of 2020.

After 20 production cycles with the Writer’s Market books, 2020 became my first full year focused on figuring out what writing content to share on If we remove all the “2020” of 2020, last year was one of my favorite as an editor ever. I mean, I love writing in all its forms, so getting to focus on EVERYTHING was exciting and a little overwhelming at times (but mostly super exciting).

(Writing Mistakes Writers Make.)

With a full year under my belt, I’m even more excited about what we’re going to do in 2021. And I’d love it if you could share a comment or two below about what you’d like to see on this site in the future. But first, let’s look back over 2020 and celebrate the most popular writing posts of 2020.

Each post below was originally published in 2020, and yes, I’ve included more than 20, because a few of these can be categorized together. And I just like sharing all our coolest posts from last year. So without further ado…

20 Most Popular Writing Posts of 2020

  1. 75 Grammar Rules for Writers, by Robert Lee Brewer. This is actually the 2nd most popular post of 2020; but the most popular (Heroes vs. Heros) is in this comprehensive list of grammar rules, along with others like Semantics vs. Syntax vs. Pragmatics; Fable vs. Parable vs. Allegory; and Metaphor vs. Personification. Meanwhile, Larger vs. Bigger vs. Greater vs. Higher may be included in a future update of the list.
  2. 12 Thought-Provoking Quotes From 1984, by George Orwell. When this was originally posted in January 2020, the world was a very different place, but Orwell helps show how very timeless his work is through his words. 10 Equal Quotes from Animal Farm also made the Top 20 list.
  3. 21 Authors Share One Piece of Advice for Writers, by Robert Lee Brewer. This post collects one piece of advice for writers from writers who’ve found success. You can always find new interviews in our Author Spotlight series on the site.
  4. 25 Plot Twist Ideas and Prompts for Writers, by Robert Lee Brewer. One of my favorite things of the past year has been creating weekly Plot Twist Story Prompts on Thursdays. This post collects the first 25. 
  5. 25 Ways to Start a Story, by Robert Lee Brewer. Before you can twist a story, you need to start it, right? Here are 25 ideas for getting stories started.
  6. New Agent Alerts. Okay, there were actually a few agent alerts that made our Top 20-ish list, and they are: Pam Gruber of Irene Goodman Literary Agency; Erin Clyburn of The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency; Jennifer Herrington of Harvey Klinger Literary Agency; Emily Forney of BookEnds Literary Agency; Kristina Perez of Zeno Literary Agency; Matt Belford of Tobias Literary Agency; Megan Manzano of D4EO Literary; Analieze Cervantes of Harvey Klinger Literary Agency; and Maria Rogers of Tobias Literary Agency.
  7. Vintage WD: 36 Plot Nots: Plot Clichés to Avoid, by Donald Westlake. One fun thing we did in 2020 was celebrate our 100th anniversary of the magazine, which meant a lot of fun editorial dives into our archives. “Plot Nots” is from a 1959 issue of Writer’s Digest, and “How to Get Started as a Writer,” by Thomas Clark, is from a 1990 issue.
  8. 15 Things a Writer Should Never Do, by Zachary Petit. Speaking of blasts from the past, we were able to re-share this fun post by former WD managing editor Zachary Petit on things a writer should never (ever) do, though we’ve all probably done some of these things.
  9. How to Write a Five-Paragraph Essay That Works, by Robert Lee Brewer. Raise your hand if you’ve ever written one of these; keep your hand up if you want to write some more. Anybody? <crickets>
  10. 3 Tips for Writing Cosmic Horror That Goes “Beyond,” by Scott Kenemore. I wasn’t aware of the difference between cosmic horror and other sub-genres until I read this piece, and I’m pretty sure if there’s a specific type of horror for 2020, it’s probably cosmic horror.
  11. Writing Submissions for Magazines: How to Submit Writing to a Magazine, by Robert Lee Brewer. Posted in 2020, still relevant today.
  12. 9 Tips on Writing Query Letters to Publishers and Literary Agents, by Robert Lee Brewer. Also, still relevant. 
  13. What They Don’t Teach You in MFA Programs: 5 Rules for Writing Stories That Work, by Chris Mooney. Bestselling author and creative writing instructor Mooney shares five rules for making beautiful writing engaging.
  14. 25 Publishing FAQs for Writers, by Robert Lee Brewer. This post also includes a few Top 20-ish posts within it, including 7th ranked How Much Should Writers Charge Per Word or Per Project; How and When Should Writers Use a Pen Name or Pseudonym; Do Literary Agents Cost Money; Can Writers Query Multiple Agents at Once; How Long Does It Take to Get a Book Published; What Should Writers Post on Instagram; and Do Writers Need Literary Agents
  15. 5 Ways to Surprise Your Reader (Without It Feeling Like a Trick), by John McNally. It’s one of the goals of a writer: Surprising their readers in a delightful way, or at least in a way that doesn’t feel like a gimmick or trick. McNally shares some solid advice on making it happen.
  16. 20 Ways to Write Characters Better: Protagonists, Antagonists, Minor Characters, and More, by Robert Lee Brewer. This post collects a lot of great posts on characters, including moral dilemmas, character names, and more.
  17. Creative writing exercises. Cassandra Lipp shares a new creative writing prompt every Tuesday, and a few made our Top 20-ish list: “A Different Match,” “Story Title Generator,” and “Write Like Studio Ghibli.”
  18. Your Story. Cassandra Lipp also manages our Your Story offerings, and “Your Story 108” and “Your Story 107” made our list. Click the Your Story link to see what the current prompt is.
  19. How to Write a Mystery Novel, by Robert Lee Brewer. Like the characters post above, I had fun collecting some of our best posts on how to write novels, especially mystery novels.
  20. Gary Reilly’s 25 Unpublished Novels: How a Great, Late Writer Lacked This One Necessary Thing to Find Writing Success in His Lifetime, by Mark Stevens. In this post, Stevens shares how a brilliant writer and friend missed publishing success during his lifetime and how to avoid his fate. 

So there you have it. Now don’t forget to share what you’d like to see in 2021 and beyond in the comments below. And check our home page regularly, because we’re constantly sharing great writing posts.


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