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Presenting all our favorite articles of 2019

Which were our favorite pieces to write and read this year? Here's a round-up of all our writer and staff favorites from 2019.

Our favorite posts of 2019. This image features gold balloons in the shape of "2019" on a light pink background with gold confetti.
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Toni Fitzgerald, copy editor

My favorite piece to read: “Missing Keys 

My favorite piece this year was “Missing Keys,” an Off the Cuff by Meredith Quinn. The construction of the essay was so unique – it discussed the author’s frustration with missing keys on her keyboard. As I edited it, I tried to figure out the central mystery: Which keys were missing? And once I finished, I went back and read it twice just to appreciate the precision and planning it takes to write an entire essay without using certain letters. I was struck by Meredith’s word choices. Everything was there for a reason. I kept thinking about the essay for months afterward as an example of how to turn an everyday annoyance into a pitchable story. What an example of creativity. 

My favorite piece to write: “The Future for Literary Magazines” 

“The Future for Literary Magazines”  was one of my favorite pieces I’ve written in my career period, not just this year. I talked to so many fascinating and informative people, who have so much passion for their work. It was such an immersive story, I thought about it for hours each day, and even after I turned it in, I still had about five more sidebars I wished I had room to write. For me personally, it was also special. I’ve read The Writer since I was a teenager, and to pen a cover story for the magazine was an actual dream come true. (Editor’s note: Look for this article to go live on our website in early 2020!)



Yi Shun Lai, “From the Front Lines” columnist

My favorite piece to read: Jack Smith’s “Do you really have to write every day?”
I’m sure I chose this one because I have needed, especially this year, to hear about investing in my more creative side. We’re all busy, and creating new narratives and revising them and then pitching them is a relative luxury. So reading about other writers’ tactics to carve out that time for something that matters was heartening, and helped me to make the pieces that don’t have an end yet a priority.
My favorite piece to write: “The post-book blues”
In most of my columns, I try to shine a light on the people who have taught me well and the sources from which I continue to learn. I loved writing this particular column so much because it allowed me to share one of the many things that drives me about literature–the community aspect of the craft. Michaelsun Knapp’s advice to draw inspiration from the successes of those who are writing with you is like a hot water bottle next to my heart. Plus, an old friend gifted me a new German compound noun for this one, which pretty much made me plotz with joy.

Pete Croatto, “Freelance Success” columnist

My favorite piece to read: “When Our Writing Gets Us in Trouble” by Melissa Petro
I always get something useful when I read The Writer, but I thought Petro’s article was a direct, poignant mix of memoir and reportage, the kind of piece that was informative both in content and form.
My favorite piece to write: Why Freelancers Should Ask for Money
When I write a column, I either want to be heartfelt or learn something; this piece was a very satisfying merging of those qualities. 

Ryan G. Van Cleave, regular contributor

My favorite piece to read: “Like a Rolling Stone” by K.L. Romo
I enjoyed hearing the behind-the-scenes 411 from star publicist Meryl Moss. After reading it, I probably used the term “mediagenic” a dozen times over the next week. (Editor’s note: Stay tuned in the new year to read this piece – our interview with Meryl is going live on our site in the first week of January. You can also subscribe to our newsletter and never miss a new article.)

My favorite piece to write: “The Art of Suspenseful Fiction

My favorite was “The Art of Suspenseful Fiction” because interviewing bestselling writers to see how they handle creating suspense gave me a few ideas myself that I used in story revision to (what I think was) good effect. I also believe that the surprise vs. suspense concept in that piece is pure gold (and commonly misunderstood).


Jack Smith, regular contributor 

My favorite piece to read: “No One Wants to Hear Your Whole Life Story” by Sarah Van Arsdale 
I like “No One Wants to Hear Your Whole Life Story” since it makes the important distinction between autobiography and memoir – a critical distinction for memoirists – a matter of having a given premise to guide the work.
I really enjoyed hearing different points of view on how to write great speculative fiction, not only from authors but also agents. 


T.J. Buzzeo, content marketing supervisor

My favorite piece to read:Making Social Media Matter” by Ryan G. Van Cleave
As someone who works in social media and gets razzed regularly for “posting food pics” and “playing on Facebook” all day long, I am always appreciative of articles that show the true value of it. Ryan also shares good advice for anyone, not just writers, looking to build brands socially.