My Top Five Medium Stories of 2020, Plus One Weird Outlier

A short rundown with sardonic commentary and links. Are all the cool kids doing this now?

Okay, probably all the cool kids are not recapping their year on Medium (and surely not everyone was kung fu fighting) but Roz Warren did it, so that set the “cool” standard in my book. Roz did four stories, but I am going to do five, because that increases my possibility for Extra Clicks by 25%, and I am not one to turn down Possible Extra Clicks.

Let us begin.

My top story of the year, clocking in at 1k reads (and 2.2k views):

A fun fact about this story: I wrote it very quickly, in about 15 minutes or so, did minimal editing, and hit publish. (It was not curated, and I didn’t really expect it to be since I didn’t polish it nearly as much as some of my other pieces.) It was originally going to be a Facebook post, but I felt it might reach a wider audience if I put it on Medium. Ironically, it was then shared dozens of times on Facebook, which is why it has so many reads — one thousand is a lot when you don’t have very many followers. However, it earned very little, since most of those reads were from non-members. But I didn’t write it to make money; I wrote it to get something off my chest, and I’m glad it resonated with others.

Next in line is my top-earning story, which has 674 reads these days and 1.4k views:

A fun fact: I wrote this one when I was fourteen. No joke.

If you’re not following Jane Austen’s Wastebasket, you should be. Every time one of my pieces is accepted there, I do a little happy dance and my husband thinks I’ve gone nuts. My next piece, with a rather embarrassing ratio of 1.6k views but only 355 reads, was the very first of my stories to be illustrated. Another fun milestone!

A fun fact: this is one of the most heavily edited humor pieces I’ve written to date, and the final version is almost completely different from the first draft. I had five helpful readers offer commentary before I even submitted it to the publication (one of whom hadn’t even seen or listened to Hamilton!).

In Jane Austen’s Wastebasket again, this tongue-in-cheek musing about baby names has garnered 260 reads.

A fun fact: my son was born in October, and his actual name is not one of those in the article. I went with Boromir, son of Denethor, instead. It has an imposing ring to it.*

*not really

And finally, still in Jane Austen’s Wastebasket (do we sense a theme?) my most recent humor piece has surprisingly pulled in over 246 reads in the last couple of weeks.

A fun fact: my two-month-old actually dictated this one, and I just wrote it down.**

**also not really.


This piece about funny cat pictures from the nineteenth century has 480 reads to date. Almost all of them are from outside Medium. The weird thing is, I barely shared this article anywhere other than my personal blog page on Facebook, and my stats indicate that readers are finding this piece via Google. If you google “victorian cat meme” (the things I do in the name of research!), this piece is the first result.

I’m not sure how many people are surfing the ‘Net for Victorian cat memes, to be honest. My theory is that folks who stumbled upon my article were actually looking for this Tumblr thread.

Or maybe I’ve discovered a new, niche market. You can check back in 2021 for my forthcoming writings on the origins of screaming goat videos in the palace of Versailles.

Historical costumer, fifty-cent-word purveyor, aspiring humorist, and Oxford comma fan. History, books, & musings of a new mom. Twitter: @sewistwrites

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