• Your Favorite Writing Moments of 2019

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in ABCs of Writing     Comments 39 comments

    Discussion questions: Tell me about your favorite 2019 writing experience. Did you have any memorable breakthroughs where your story, or even your entire book, came together? Or a moment where you realized you were creating the best writing you’re capable of? Is there a particular writing session that stands out as the most successful and/or most enjoyable? Did you receive any surprising feedback that made your day, week, month, or year? 


    In January I passed out to my writing group the first chapter of my revamped novel, and then held my breath for nearly a month before we met to discuss it.

    After fooling around with these characters and their setting for over half a decade — five years’ worth of false starts and frustration and failure — I felt I had finally finagled… ugh, enough with the alliteration already, David… a fully fleshed out foundation and a forward flow.

    (This is what happens when I write these posts while in a weird mood.)

    In other words, my book was taking shape, and for the first time, I was showing it off to a group of people. Not just people — writers. And as our meeting date approached, it became clear I had a lot of feelings wrapped up in their response. Much of it fear-based.

    But they really liked it, and wanted to read more. And what’s more, I believed (still do) they were sincere. In part because they had plenty of (mostly helpful) criticism.

    I needed that confidence boost. Since then, I’ve moved forward in my book with renewed energy. It was one of my finest writing moments of 2019.


    I wrote about another favorite moment a few weeks ago, when we all shared the best passage we’ve written in 2019. (There’s still time to add yours!)

    I was reading through Chapter 4, after a few weeks’ hiatus, and I actually laughed out loud at something I’d written.

    Moments like that, where I impress my own self, are very, very few and very, very far between.


    In late June I was on a beach in Portugal’s Algarve. The weather was perfect, even if the water was colder than anything I’ve ever experienced, and that includes Cape Cod in late fall.

    But while my body was soaking up sun on a European beach, my brain was spending time with a group of imaginary (well, sort of imaginary) factory workers in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

    As the waves crashed and Justine stared vigilantly into the water looking for shark fins, I wrote a scene in my little blue notebook where my two main characters interact with the patrons of a dank and dark small-town bowling alley on an ugly, stormy afternoon.

    Different worlds.

    I didn’t write a ton that day, and what came out was nothing special, but it was easily one of my favorite writing experiences of 2019.

    These are the kinds of things I want to hear from you. Down below, tell me about some of your favorite 2019 writing experiences.


    WriteByNight co-founder David Duhr is fiction editor at the Texas Observer and co-host of the Yak Babies podcast, and has written about books for the Dallas Morning News, Electric Literature, Publishing Perspectives, and others.

    WriteByNight is a writers’ service dedicated to helping you achieve your creative potential and literary goals. We work with writers of all experience levels working in all genres, nationwide and worldwide. If you have a 2019 writing project you’d like a little help with, take a look at our book coachingprivate instruction and writer’s block counseling services. Join our mailing list and get a FREE writer’s diagnostic, “Common problems and SOLUTIONS for the struggling writer.”

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    I guess my favorite writing experience was when I was trying to get a section of a book to sound right and I went outside to sit on the back steps. We had just gotten three mustangs who were in the corral not far away. The two dogs (both big dogs) curled up at my feet, their eyes on these huge four legged critters. Anyway, I began to read the section aloud. The three horses came to the end of the corral nearest the house and stood there as if listening to the story. Lupita, the oldest dog would raise… Read more »

    david lemke

    I get the opposite; I’m attempting to write or actually writing and one of the cats come in for attention. After much complaining, or getting into stuff, I have either leave the room so they will follow me out so I can close the door, or I have to carry them out and close the door. Of course this doesn’t always work well if they decide to sit and scratch at the closed door and still complain.

    Marcia Drut-Davis

    Loved what you wrote!


    That is so cool.

    Jan Morgan-Swegle

    I went to the UNCW Writer’s Conference in November. I didn’t write anything fantastic, but it was good to be among writers, listening and learning from the panel. From that experience, I found another workshop coming up in Charlotte, NC, this summer. Going to the conference was a wonderful experience and I’m so glad I attended.

    david lemke

    I haven’t had a memorable moment about my writing this year because everything has been first draft. Occasionally I’ll get a good line here and there, but you can’t fall in Love with them, knowing they may not make the final cut. But I have had at least one fun moment where I was playing super spy, sitting in a restaraunt with my little notebook, taking notes as I covertly observed other patrons eating and interacting and how they dressed, looked and other details. If this seems creepy, I was doing it because of the writer’s prompt at the time.… Read more »

    Marcia Drut-Davis

    David! You have a first draft!!! CELEBRATE THAT! Even if you hear the dreaded word”REVISE”. You have first draft! Congrats!!

    david lemke

    Hi David, I probably said it badly. I’ve been working on three or four novels, a short story and a novella all in first draft but none if them near done. When one gives me trouble I switch to a different one. If that one stalls I move to one of the others. That way I keep writing, keep making some progress.

    david lemke

    There is that; sometimes fun other times a struggle.
    What surprises me sometimes is I’ll run across something I wrote a while back and be surprised it was good.

    stephen Glick

    David I don’t have the opportunity to travel or just get out as much as I would like. I have bought a wonderful journel , that’s leather bound just for such a picture in my mind. There is not a word in it yet. thanks for your inspiring post. Stephen.

    david lemke

    Even if you go to McDonalds for coffee you can spy. The wife and I were at Perkin’s for breakfast. there was a conversation going on behind me. What caught my ear was one word. (I don’t remember what it was since I wasn’t alone I wasn’t journaling and it would have been ultra rude to ignore my wife and focus on someone else’s conversation. The word was a big uncommon one. He used a lot of them as he talked about himself and who he knew and what he did while the person he was talking at pretty much… Read more »

    david lemke

    When I was in early grade school, the teacher let us out to draw what we found in the outside area. I was making a detailed sketch of some leaves on the ground; the shape, discoloration, texture and even little blotches. We ran out of time and had to come in but I wanted to finish my drawing. the teacher didn’t want me to work on it without the leaves in front of me. I told her I was drawing from memory. that was a lie. there was no way I could remember the exact shape of the leaves and… Read more »

    David M Inverso

    David Lempke, I no longer read to our cat. It annoys her because it cuts into her nap time. For her visits, I’ve stacked two bankers boxes within easy arms reach of my chair and laid a folded towel over the top. Our princ-hiss hops up there to lounge. I pet her quite a bit when she first hops up – to reward and encourage her to lounge there. Afterward, I pet absently as I type. She purrs and snoozes. I write away undisturbed. My absolute coolest writing experience was during a storm last January in a rented second-floor condo… Read more »

    David M Inverso

    Thank you, David. I thought at the time the writing conditions were conducive to moodier writing, but had assumed I’d have other ‘peak’ moments; which I have had but to a lesser degree of clarity. The rhythmic thumping of breakers and the hiss of spray against the windows evoked a loud, steampunk world of massive steam-powered machines operating a touch over their highest safe limits. The scenes were connected emotionally with other characters and other “non-steampunkian” scenes I have. I’m a proponent of scenes in sci-fi, fantasy and horror that are about characters reacting to each other’s tensions and foibles… Read more »

    David Duhr

    Alas, all of my reading has been non-steampunkian, but I’ve been curious.

    What’s a good example of what you’re talking about from horror?

    David M Inverso

    There’s an anthology of short stories that frightens, annoys and dampens the spirit: The Monsters We Forgot by 7 authors (one may be your old or new favorite) – R. C. Bowman, Blair Daniels, Joel R. Hunt, Evan Baughfman, Jeremy Megargee, Ian Ableson, Dustin Chisam, Joti Bilkhu, Leah Velez, and David J. Thirteen


    2019 has been an educational year for me on all fronts, including my Writing life. A most gratifying moment was my 9/10 writers’ group session. I read a scene that included a romantic moment that was well received. The group is used to sword-slashing scenes in post-apocalypse ruins from me. This softer side was a surprise for them. It was also nice that they “got” what I was doing and spotted that this and the next scenes marked an accumulation of tensions towards the story’s climax. This was the first time I really felt like the story I’m trying to… Read more »

    Marcia Drut-Davis

    I’m happy to share! My moment came when I held my “baby” in my arms last week. It was the second book I birthed with the help of WRITEBYNIGHT! It took me and them almost 4 years of grueling work. Then I added, through their suggestion… ATMOPSPHERE PRESS who guided me through the birth. Now, she’s waiting on AMAZON.com to go into the arms of people in need of her support through my words. I’m proud to announce the arrival of “What?! You Don’t Want Children?” (Understanding Rejection In The Childfree World) She’s not available until the book launch before… Read more »


    Yes, I did have an experience with my writing which was memorable and the first time I have experienced something like this. I was putting together the opening chapter of my novel using notes and a previous draft. I’ve written later sections of the story, but this was the first time I felt like I had an opening chapter. As I revised my draft, I was especially focused on getting the rhythm right for the back and forth (with erotic innuendo) of two characters. My husband entered the room and left several times. At one point, I walked into the… Read more »


    Well, I might have made this story up if it wasn’t true, and I always hesitate to tell it because nobody will believe me, but this is true. When I first was brainstorming the basic theme and plot of my story, I knew that St. Francis of Assisi played a major role in it, as did birds and dogs. So as it was brewing, it was always playing in the background of my mind, whatever I was doing. So one day as sort of research I read Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment, which is lovely reading even for non-Catholics,… Read more »


    sort of sad when a happy person is considered altered mentally. Tells me I need to watch it…lol. Great story. He could be a wonderful basis for your St. Francis of Assisi.


    What a sweet story saying there is still awe in this world. Thanks for sharing.

    Hans De Leo

    My favorite writing moment of 2019? I guess that would be “create on location,” where the Writer’s Studio group I belong to picks an outdoor location (during the summer), and we meet there and write. I remember arriving at the Duluth Rose Garden, meeting the other members, and walking among the many varieties of roses (and other flowers). After finding a bench, I sat, opened my laptop, stared over Lake Superior, and worked on my new sci-fi novel (which is live on Kindle now). I don’t remember what I wrote or even the part of the manuscript I was working… Read more »

    David Duhr

    Thank you, Hans. This is exactly the kind of story I like, where it’s the environment and the moment that matter more than the results. That’s the kind of thing I like both in writing and in reading. I think this week’s post will be about your favorite reading experience of 2019… so again, not necessarily a favorite book, but a moment where book and environment joined to make something memorable. So get thinking about it! But save your answer.

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