I’m just getting started on Medium and feel the same way. I’ve written short stories for years and I’m finishing my first novel. I’ve submitted to some magazines with no luck so far, and it reminds me of advice one of my writing teachers gave me. She said your first novel, maybe even your 3rd or 4th, will never get published (she was speaking of traditional publishing). She didn’t get published until her 5th. Writing for most of us (unless you’re one of the few that go viral the first time out…like 50 Shades of Grey) is a long game. Heck, even Stan Lee didn’t hit fame until he was close to 60!
I think writing for “free” is a smart move and investment. I plan to do the same with my novel. If I post it online and show people it’s worth reading, then I bet they’ll be more interested in investing in my 2nd novel ☺
Keep writing because you love it and play the long game! Soon it could be your full-time career :D