Dear WU Community,
First one, then two, then three, four, and five people sent notes yesterday to let me know that Writer Unboxed was named a Top Ten Blog for Writers in Write to Done’s annual roundup. Thanks so much for all of your nominations. We’re proud of this designation, and that we’re able to sustain quality posts for you year-round, with an eclectic and talented group of contributors, and our generous guests (56 of them in 2013 alone).
We’ll be taking a short break to recharge, but we’ll be back on January 1st with a post from The Donald (Donald Maass, of course). In the meanwhile, feel free to peruse our archives–
–and our monthly contributors’ most popular columns in 2013:
- Porter Anderson’s “Are You Lonesome Tonight? The Dreaded Solitude of Writing“
- Dan Blank’s “Are You Building an Audience of Writers, Not Readers?“
- Sarah Callender’s “What We (Really) Need to Hear“
- Lisa Cron’s “Story First, Writing Second“
- Keith Cronin’s “Talk Dirty to Me“
- Dave King’s “Rules and Tools“
- Robin LaFever’s “Fear: The Uninvited Guest“
- Donald Maass’s “The Bridge and the Tunnel“
- Jael McHenry’s “Happy NaDoToYoNoMo!” (National Don’t Touch Your Novel Month)
- Jan O’Hara’s “What’s a Pantster to Do When They’re Stuck? Go Tell It TO the Mountain.“
- Barbara O’Neal’s “The Sea Change of Self-Publishing“
- Ray Rhamey’s “Flog a Pro: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green“
- John Vorhaus’s “Unfortunately, You Died“
- Heather Webb’s valuable, comprehensive Tweet Roundups, culled from WU’s Twitter account
- For fun, check out a post from our humorist, Bill Ferris, called “How to Create Your Perfect Pen Name” (One of my goals for 2014 is to ensure that everyone realizes Bill is the king of irony, and that when he suggests leaving comments like “THRILLING ADVENTURE, MY NOVEL “CHUPACABRA-CADABRA” FREE ON AMAZON! 14 FIVE-STAR REVIEWS!!!” on every blog post you read, he’s kidding. Really, he is.)
- In terms of my posts, check out “Notes From a Desk (2): Respecting Your Process.”
A Brief Review
This year brought a load of change to Writer Unboxed.
My dear friend and co-founder, Kathleen Bolton, had to step aside as her day job’s workload increased. I (wo)manned the ship alone for a while, then had a lesson in life’s-too-short and asked for help. Now WU has a Twitter team (Denise Falvo, Lara McKusky Taylor, Heather Webb, and me) and two fantastically helpful admin assistants (Julia Munroe Martin, Jeannine Walls Thibodeau).
The Writer Unboxed Facebook group became 5,000 members strong, and went “secret” to better preserve our valued promo-free zone. (But you can still join; more about that here.) Our Facebook group continues to be sustained and nurtured by a team of dedicated WU’ers, to whom I am maximally grateful: Kim Downes Bullock, Valerie P. Chandler, Heather Reid, and Vaughn Roycroft.
The Writer Inboxed newsletter was put on haitus just this month. Not because it didn’t thrive under the stalwart leadership of editor Jan O’Hara and assistant editor Liz Michalski, but almost because it thrived too well. What could that possible mean? Read the brief, final letter here, which includes Donald Maass’s perfectly timed tips on endings. A huge thanks to the entire newsletter team and its many guests for eighteen vibrant, gem-packed issues.
Some of our esteemed contributors said farewell in 2013 and will be sorely missed, while two favorites returned: Jane Friedman and Allison Winn Scotch. New powerhouse contributors joined the ranks as well, including Julianna Baggott, Tom Bentley, David Corbett, Annie Neugebauer, Meg Rosoff, and my agent, Elisabeth Weed.
Will 2014 offer more of the same? Yes, and no.
Our focus will continue to be providing you with empowering posts on the craft and business of fiction.
We’ll bring back some of our themed months in 2014, beginning in February, when contributors focus on the topic of “inside publishing.” (Have a topic you’d like to see covered here in 2014? Please let us know in comments.)
I’m excited to announce that 2014 will herald the return of one of our old favorite contributors, J.C. Hutchins, and that one of our most popular and frequent guests, Catherine McKenzie, will join us as a contributor as well.
Most ambitious plan for 2014? A live event. Not quite a conference, or a festival, or a retreat, but something that is custom fitted for us. Mark your calendars: This will happen in November. Stay tuned for details. (And now that I’ve posted it here, there is no turning back!)
In short, we hope to continue to try new things in 2014, to fail sometimes, to grow despite that.
We hope the same for you. Go west, dear writers. Find new ground. Claim it. Repeat.
See you next year. Until then? Write on.