Through sickness, Christmas and a poetry post, I wrote an article every day for the past month. It was not an easy thing to do. I had never used Medium before, let alone written an article.
I decided to write on Medium because I have a lot to say, especially about movies. I also wanted to improve my habit of writing in general. All my previous writing experience was involved with screenwriting or school assignments.
I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to succeed. Who even wants to hear what I have to say? There were so many reasons not to write.
But why not?
What’s the worst that could happen? (Burned at the stake maybe?)
I had the time. My internship at Pixar doesn’t start till Jan 13th. I just sold my first screenplay. I was in an in-between period, so perfect to start something new.
I had the ideas. I had been jotting down article ideas for weeks.
I had the desire. I want people to hear my thoughts and my stories. I felt like there was at least one person out there that would like to hear what I have to say.
So I did it.
Start with Simple Goals
I started the month with 3 simple goals, besides writing everyday.
1. Earn my Medium membership fee with the Medium Partner Program
Goals have to be attainable, especially at the beginning. I am all for dreaming about reaching for an insane goal like earning $10,000 a month. But that is achieved by slow and consistent growth. I have the ultimate goal to make a consistent $1,000 a month but I didn’t want to lie to myself.
So $5 seemed like a good first monetary goal. And did I make it?
While it’s not enough to quit my day job, it’s still an incredible feat. I am now a professional writer. No one can take that away from me.
2. Publish an article in a publication
I thought this would be a difficult goal. Turns out publications will let anyone with a great idea and mediocre writing publish.
Of my 31 articles, 10 of them were published by various publications. While that feels good, the quantity published isn’t that important. Looking at the stats, publications never did much for my articles. The only exception would be “The Haven” publication with my comedy articles, Ode to the Beast and How I Turned $1 into $2 million in a Year. They got a lot more responses and fans than any other article that was published and not curated.
Why? I believe because people go to The Haven looking for specifically comedic pieces. They are looking to laugh. In contrast with that, The Startup, where I have about 4 published articles, has extremely varied content. I don’t know what they want from their writers.
When I first started following them, I liked the “startup” culture pieces. However, as of late, there have been articles as varied as writing for Medium to programing a calculator. It’s great they have around 500k followers, but I think each follower is looking for a different thing. I have no idea how to tailor a piece for their audience.
Honestly, I stopped submitting articles to The Startup after the first piece. The other three pieces got picked up by them after I had published them (and conveniently after they had been curated…) If I were to do this again, I may not focus on getting a piece published. Another possibility could be to try to focus on a single smaller publication and make a name for myself.
3. Be curated by Medium at least once.
So, the strangest thing happened to me after writing daily for a month:
I fell in love with Medium’s curation system.
It sounds crazy I know. I have posted several update posts about being completely confused by which articles get curated. I have pretended to not care at all about curation and just focus on writing.
But think about it for a second. I have never written a word on Medium before this month. There is no real reason that anyone should take a minute, let alone three hours of member reading time, on my writing! (Thank you, Fight Club)
But because the beautiful, intelligent, incredible curator that reads my articles (did I lay it on too thick?) found some of my articles good enough to send out to more readers, I have achieved a surprising amount of success on the platform. The articles that got curated received hundreds of views and in turn, earned vastly more money than those that were passed over.
Don’t get me wrong.
I do not tie the value and quality of my articles on being curated. It should feel like a bonus rather than a confirmation of the quality. It feels good when it happens, but it’s not the end of the world if it doesn’t. I hope one day I have enough followers that curation is not the main source of my earnings.
Anyways, I definitely achieved this goal with four of my articles getting curated! So, yeah for me.
Update Your Goals to Fit Reality
When you make attainable goals, there are times where you will shockingly finish them faster than you expected. After only two weeks on Medium, I found myself in that very situation.
So I raised the bar.
New Goal #1: Be Curated Every Week
I actually don’t know if I accomplished this goal yet. I think the curators are a bit behind with the holidays (No rush, Mr/Ms/Mrs/Mx Curator!) and they have not finished “processing” my last two articles. But I’ve talked enough about curation, so I’ll just move on.
New Goal #2: Reach 100 followers
When I set this goal, I had 44 followers. I felt that my non-curated articles didn’t get many views because I didn’t have much of a following. So I decided to focus on that.
As of writing this post, I have 113 followers!
That blows my mind. 113 people read an article and actually thought “hmm, I want to keep hearing what this guy has to say.”
How did I reach my goal? I just started participating more on Medium. I tried reading more articles, clapping for more content and even responding to a few articles. I worked to find other top writers in Movies that may be interested in my own content. While many appeared seemingly out of nowhere, I’d like to say that my efforts to participate in Medium helped.
While I achieved my goals quickly, sometimes reality hits you hard and you realize your goals were actually too high. Do not be afraid to tweak them! There is nothing wrong with lowering the bar in order to adapt to the situation. A rainy day is no excuse to sit in a puddle.
So What’s Next?
Should I keep up with my daily writing?
Should I give up altogether?
I’m not really sure, to be honest. My Pixar internship starts next week and I have no idea how much time/energy that’s going to take out of me. But there is one thing I do know:
I want to write!
That’s the beauty of forcing yourself to have a habit like writing every day. You will push yourself. You will learn more about yourself. You will improve your ability.
21 days to start a habit? Try 31 articles instead.