Is Medium the Digital Sh*tty First Draft

In my entrepreneurial, self-reflecting, path-to-greatness journey I heard from many different sources that a must-read book to learn about writing is Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. After many references and high praises I decided to get the audiobook. An audiobook for writing. I know, I know, it sounds kind of weird.

Although I have to say that I haven’t finish reading the book, I already listened to the concept of Sh*tty First Draft (or as @BreneBrown adds in her book Rising Strong, Stormy First Draft for a PG version). ANNE LAMOTT described the Sh*tty first draft as the place where you will write about anything that comes to your head. A full dump of words that is intended for your eyes only. It is supposed to create a mind space to hold everything. As you run multiple iterations of that Sh*tty First Draft, little by little (or bird by bird) you will start constructing the piece of writing that you want to show the world.

I found this concept fascinating and started applying it to all my writing, specially to my recent and fresh Medium publications. As I am learning more about writing and Medium I read a Medium Story from Ev Williams (Medium Co-Founder) mentioned that Medium is not a publishing tool but a network.

That story got me thinking about how I can leverage Medium for my writing and started wondering, what if, right after my Sh*tty First Draft, I can create what I called a Digital Sh*tty First Draft. Let me explain.

Imagine that you are drafting a story for publication. You do your thing and produce a Sh*tty First Draft. Then before you figure out the missing pieces of your final version of the story, you decide to publish your Digital Sh*tty First Draft and leave enough space and context for other Medium writers to hop in an build up on your story via highlights, comments, etc. It will be more than publishing, it will be the merge of Publishing and Network. It will be CrowdPublishing.

CrowdPublishing, as I am calling it, will have to prepare the audience (consumers) and the writers (creators) for a new model of content delivery. Audiences have to bear with the writers as the story will be ready for consumption but with pieces of information pending expansion (or in the form of a question). This could be a good thing if you want to join writer(s) throughout the creative journey. As for the writers, they have a really serious challenge to face: They have to be willing to be vulnerable to the whole Medium network.

This means that authors need to have a clear perspective that you are not putting final product executive of work out there but only pieces. Also, the network can take the writer’s content to any possible direction (potentially the opposite direction of what the writer originally intended)

Basically we are asking the writers to take their content and let them go. Set them free. This sounds simple, but it also means to be as candid and transparent about the things you know and you don’t know. I believe this is a good thing. However, it is easier said that done. The up side of this could be the ability to publish and nurture long-term format content that will expand and continue to integrate new information.

Imagine the possibilities:

  • Would it be possible to publish a book which requires the main author to just set the intention and let the network contribute to build up the content?
  • Would it be possible to use it as a public and documented journey for authors to share with their audience, not only content, but the whole process of creating a Story, Book or any piece of writing?
  • Are we all willing to move to a Author-to-Author (A2A) model where there is not one author of content but a group of writers and the author takes the role of an Orchestrator?

Glad to hear your thoughts about this or, even better, build up on this :)

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