Ten reasons why I love writing on Medium

I work at Medium, but I also write on Medium — as a matter of fact, I’m writing more this year than ever before (and you could too). This is why:

Medium is simple.

There’s no complicated setup process, no superfluous options to choose from, no fiddling with UIs from hell. Everything on Medium — signing up, writing a story, inserting an image, formatting text, publishing — is dead simple and usually just one or two clicks away, so I can focus on writing and sharing my stories.

Anything I write will look awesome on Medium.

Medium’s editor is easy to use and contains just the right amount of formatting options. It’s flexible enough to allow me to write anything from a few casual paragraphs to an epic tale of thousands of words and photos — but not so extensive that I’d spend hours fiddling with settings, only to put together something that looks bad and makes me unhappy.

Medium cares deeply about typography (great fonts and a constant push for improved type) and photography (a few precise photo options, from inline images to huge immersive photographs and photo grids). Here’s some examples of photo layouts from an essay I wrote recently:

My Medium stories look great on every device.

Regardless of the scope of what I’m writing, I can rest assured that Medium has my back when it comes to presenting my stories in the best light. They look great and are easy to read on everything from small phones to large displays. They’re also friendly to screen readers and printers. Moreover, Medium’s design improves over time, so I feel safe knowing readers can consume my stories on everything from an old Windows machine, through a just-released iPhone 6 Plus, to awesome, yet-unknown devices from the future.

I can collaborate with others as I write.

I don’t have to write alone. Medium makes it easy to involve others while my story is still being created. I can share my story with a select group of people, and they can leave notes before it’s published — and get credit for helping out, plus a notification the moment the story goes live.

Medium makes it easy to build a following.

Medium allows you to build an audience of readers — either starting with your existing Facebook and Twitter networks, or independently.

There are prominent follow buttons on my stories and my profile, so people interested in my writing can stay up-to-date. (People without Medium accounts can subscribe via email.) Once following me, or a collection of stories I own, people get an immediate notification (email, iOS, sidebar) of a new story, so they can read it as soon as they want.

Medium encourages readers (and me) to share stories.

Medium starts with the basic building block of the web — beautiful, readable URLs — and adds prominent sharing options so that readers who like my stories can spread them further on social networks or over email.

Social sharing is also part of the core Medium user interface; stories recommended by your circle of friends will be surfaced in your reading list, and faces of friends making recommendations are highly visible next to stories:

On top of that, Medium has a powerful built-in recommendation and distribution system, which means my bigger stories can spread far and wide, outside of my usual audience — and the smaller ones intended just for my friends can stay close to me. (A few older stories I moved to Medium from my little blog had a better, more glorious second life both in terms of their presentation and newfound reach.)

Lastly, Medium knows it’s good for my stories if I share them — reminding me to do so often and providing a simple interface, starting the very moment I publish a story:

Medium makes it easy for readers to engage with my stories.

Medium provides unique ways for people to engage with my stories:

  1. People can leave notes for me or for the world. The notes can be attached to individual words or entire paragraphs, and can easily grow into conversations. It’s a great way of talking about anything from typos to the premise of entire stories.

2. If a note is not enough, Medium makes it easy to respond to one story with another story.

3. When people recommend my story, they can also leave a note explaining why they’re recommending it. I get notified every time this happens, and Medium groups together all recommend notes for every story I write — making me feel good about my output.

On top of it all, Medium makes it easy for people to translate my stories to other languages — giving recognition and a dedicated UI for the translators, and linking the translated story to the original. This allows stories to find new homes and broaden their scope.

Medium presents great stats.

On Medium, I get immediate, up-to-date information about how my stories are doing on a dedicated stats page:

That page shows me numbers that I care about as a writer: how many people read the story (not just opened it), how many people recommended it, and which sites linked to it.

One of my favourite Medium features is a one-click way to see what people on Twitter are saying about any one of my stories (example):

I also get notified — via email and iOS — about significant milestones (for example reaching a hundred recommends), so I never miss out.

And, every Friday, I get a seriously awesome email telling me about how my Medium stories did last week, including recommendation notes and referrers. This makes it impossible to miss when some of my posts get popular months after I published them, and keeps me up to date even if I don’t pay attention to the stats page:

Things I write belong to me, not Medium.

My stories on Medium belong to me, and at any given moment I can easily download an archive of all my content.

(There’s also the import feature, allowing me to preview and/or convert to Medium any story I previously published elsewhere.)

It’s fun seeing Medium evolve.

Medium is getting better all the time; many of the abovementioned features are brand new or recently improved. Just in the last few months, Medium added:

  • embeds: a nicer way of linking of stories together
  • responses: a streamlined way for people to respond to stories with other stories
  • translation: a way for others to translate my stories to other languages and broaden their reach
  • importing: a way to try out or convert your prior stories to Medium
  • a way for people without Medium accounts to follow an author via email

If you haven’t yet written on Medium, you should give it a shot.

It might still be a blank page… but if you’re like me, you’ll find it the most exciting and powerful blank page you ever get a chance to fill.

Have fun writing. I can’t wait to read your story.