Seven Life Lessons After a Year on Medium

The Forrest Four-Cast: August 15, 2017

About a year ago (August 17, 2016), I started this project of trying to write at least four paragraphs every day on Medium. I’ve been pretty good at keeping up with this goal, though I have missed a few days along the way. Seven life-lessons I have learned from this endeavor are as follows:

  1. Follow the Routine. I work well with the routine of outlining an idea the night before doing the writing the day of. When I veer from that routine, the quality tends to suffer and the time spent on the given post tends to increase exponentially.
  2. Always be Adjusting. The more I do the column, the better understanding I have of what works here and what doesn’t. I’ve re-vamped the strategy several times — I am sure I will do it many times more. Life is a constant process of adjustment.
  3. Is it Writing or Is it Speaking? Composing four paragraphs (almost) every day has helped to improve my abilities as a writer — although I still have a long way to go. More importantly, I think that writing every day has given me a lot more confidence at speaking in public. Strange how that works.
  4. People > Ideas. Columns expressing ideas or opinions get good traction some days and less good traction on other days. Columns that focus on innovative people tend to do a lot better — witness the high traffic on posts covering folks like Wammo and Katy Tur and Greg Popovich and Dr. Kate Darling and whurley. With this in mind, I am aiming to do more people-focused content in future weeks.
  5. Go (Often) With What You Know. Writings about SXSW also tend to get a lot of page views. That said, I’ve never wanted March Magic to be the sole focus of the Forrest Four-Cast.
  6. The Politics of the Times. It is 2017 and it is impossible to escape various political issues. If this column has helped focus a few more eyeballs on the evils of the proposed Bathroom Bill(s) in Texas, then all the hard work has been well worth the small reward.
  7. Do Words Still Matter? Yes they do! On the one hand, I know this daily journal would get a lot more traffic if it was less focused on text and more focused on video. On the other hand, I really like the long tail effect of Medium as readers stumble upon (and digest) columns that I have written many weeks and months before.

Year Two of this daily endeavor begins later this week. Stay tuned to this space as I continue to explore the life-path of becoming a writer — which is (still) one of my top career choices for when I finally grow up. Slow and steady improvement is always the goal.

Hugh Forrest serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW, the world’s most unique gathering of creative professionals. He also tries to write at least four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts often cover tech-related trends; other times they focus on books, pop culture, sports and other current events.

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