2 Months On Medium: Confessions & Learnings from a Newbie

On curation, inspiration and not burning out.

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Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

First up…

I’ve written 32 x articles on Medium since June 6.

23 got curated and 10 were curated into more than one category.

My payments from July to June doubled to triple digits. I am stoked.

Becoming a member of Medium spurred from my love (and addiction) to reading some of the amazing content produced daily. I didn’t want to be limited to the amount I read, so I paid up. It has been one of the best decisions I’ve made.

For a couple of weeks, I read countless articles. And then one day, I felt inspired to post my first article — one about losing my dad a couple of years ago, and what grief is like when you’re in your 20s.

I was terrified. I’d written a lot before, particularly fiction, but I’d rarely shared my work on a public forum.

When I woke the next morning, I’d received an email from Medium saying that my article had been curated across 3 topics. I was so bloody chuffed.

After a week of writing, I clicked on my stats and realised that several of my pieces had already accrued money. I couldn’t believe it — I didn’t sign up to Medium to make money, but rather because I thought it was a great platform for writers.

I’m still learning about what works, both for me personally (productivity and inspiration wise) and on Medium. But below are some of the things I’ve learned over the last two months.

Please remember these are just my personal findings in the two months I’ve been active on Medium. I’m still learning, and many of these findings could be proved wrong soon enough!

Reading is just as important as writing

Reading other articles on Medium will benefit you and your writing in many ways. You can be inspired by what others have written. You can learn what topics create the most amount of conversation and traffic.

The more you read in general - be it novels, articles or the like - the better you become at writing and finding your voice.

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” ― Stephen King

Write a combination of what you love, and what works

From what I’ve heard from others, writing about Medium, tech and productivity are three topics that seem to get the most amount of traction.

I don’t know about you, but if I were to write articles based off ‘what works’ rather than what I actually want to write about, I would burn out quickly. If you don’t love doing something, you most likely won’t stick to it.

I’ve now found a happy medium (no pun intended). 75% of what I love, what I’m passionate about and what flows easily. I can produce a 10 minute piece in an hour if I’m excited about it.

I then also write 25% of what I know works. For example. I prefer writing about grief (because it’s cathartic and I receive some amazing messages from readers) and books/reading (which I’m now a Top Writer in). But I also write about writing and productivity, two things I continue to strive to learn and grow in myself but what also works quite well for me in terms of earnings.

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Photo by Randalyn Hill on Unsplash

You know when your work is good

I’ve seen a lot of confusion around Medium, mainly to do with the curation process and payment from claps. And I do understand, to some degree. But when I publish an article, I tend to know deep down how something is going to go.

When I hit ‘publish’ and feel a sense of pride and excitement, I know that I’ll most likely gain a few fans and have a high read ratio. When I feel a bit deflated or nervous when I hit publish, my views, read ratio and fans will usually reflect these feelings too.

If you’re not getting curated, or if you’re read ratio is low and your fan count is not reflecting your efforts, it might be time to have a think about the content your producing. If you’re having fun and enjoying the process, then by all means, continue. But if you’re cranking out poorly written and poorly edited pieces, or don’t feel a sense of pride when you hit publish, you shouldn’t be shocked at the poor results.

Quality over quantity

Unless you have a huge following, I don’t think that writing a huge amount of articles at the detriment of their quality is not going to benefit you.

You need to be producing good, thoughtful content and respecting your readers enough to edit properly. The amount of time you spend churning out several low-quality articles could be better spent producing one great one, which is far more likely to produce claps, follows and comments.

I don’t feel the need to blindly highlight and clap for articles I don’t enjoy, purely to gain traction on my own account. It’s a waste of time, and a lie. I’ll save my claps for when I genuinely feel a piece is worthy, and I’ll spend my time reading things I actually enjoy rather than because it’s popular, or I’ve been told to.

Keep a journal so you never run out of content

There are some days where I really feel like writing, but I don’t have any immediate thoughts or inspiration as to what to write. This is when my “Notes” list comes into play. I have hundreds of article topics ready to go, divided into a range of categories, all linked through my phone, home computer and work computer.

Whenever I think of something new, whether is strikes me in the shower, on the train or by being inspired/triggered by something I’ve seen, I’ll write it down. This ensures that I can continue to write and produce content without having to wait for inspiration to strike, and the engagement levels on my articles can remain constant.

Keeping a journal also provides me with a sense of comfort. I used to always be worried that I’d run out of things to write about, or that I’d exhaust all possible avenues. This is and never will be the case.

No one really cares about your age on Medium

I often lack confidence in my writing, purely based off the fact that I’m only in my 20s. I almost always envision readers older than me, reading my work and rolling their eyes. I imagine them thinking ‘what gives her the write to preach this to me?’

Perhaps this is why I enjoy writing about grief, because it’s the one topic I actually feel I have authority to speak to— been there, done that.

But after two months on Medium, I no longer feel like that. The support on this site is incredible, and from all walks of life.

It’s made me believe that I truly do have enough experience and insights to help, inspire or simply entertain even just one reader per article — and that’s enough for me.

Final thoughts

I’m super grateful for what Medium has given me. I now feel comfortable to call myself a writer, instead of an ‘aspiring’ writer. What even is that, anyway?

I’ve made enough money to pay for half of my rent for the month, and continue to be inspired to write on a daily basis which was something I’d always struggled with.

I’m still trying to ensure I don’t become more interested in claps and money, but rather producing good pieces that I’m proud of.

I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year olds, and I’ll be back with more discoveries as they unfold!

Written by

Leaving parties early since 1991. Advertising suit by day.

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