Getting Started in Medium: Drafting, writing, and publishing
In these posts, we’re taking a look at using Medium for reading, writing, & connecting. Medium is “a place to read, write, and interact with others about stories that matter.”
In our first post, we took a look at reading, annotating, commenting, and recommending content on Medium. I recommend following that first post, and dipping your toe in the water before continuing on here.
Writing posts on Medium
As stated in the earlier post, Medium is a free tool. Anyone can sign up for an account and start writing.
As a writer, you can publish individual posts that stand-alone, or contribute to publications of curated content or stories. In this post, we’ll discuss writing individual posts, and get you started in the community. In our next post, we’ll discuss syndicating your content to a publication.
First, open up a new tab and log in to Medium. Up at the top right of your browser window, you’ll see a button that says “Write a Story.” Go ahead and click that.
You’ll quickly notice that Medium provides a beautiful, minimalistic writing space for you to create. For some, the stark white page might seem a bit disconcerting. You’ll notice that you’re not boxed in by ribbons of Microsoft Word toolbars. Don’t worry…it’ll all be okay. You get to focus on just writing.
Once you’re at this point, it’s pretty simple. Click on the spot that says “Title” and add in some text for your title. When you click the spot that says “Tell your story..” you can start writing there.
To get you started…and avoid any writer’s block, I’d suggest starting up an initial post in which you introduce yourself. I put together an example that you can use as a guide. Start up a post in which you introduce yourself to readers and writers in the community. You can leave a link to your new page as a comment or link from this page. This will allow others to come see your page…and connect with you.
Add styles and formatting
While you type, you may want to add in headings, and think about ways to scaffold your readers as they engage with your content. The title is easy for you to add in as you start writing. It’s easy to add content and styles to the remaining content once you click and highlight sections of text.
When you highlight the text, you’ll see a toolbar pop up that allows you to change the style and formatting of the selected text.
The first icon will make the selected text a bit larger, or bolder. The second icon will italicize your selection. The third icon will add a hyperlink to the text you select. H1 and H2 will turn the selected text into one of two levels of headings you can use to support readers. Finally, the icon that looks like a set of quotes will allow you to indent the text and set it off from the body as a special section. You can click this twice to indicate how you want it to display.
The final icon looks like a quote bubble with a lock in it. You can use this if you want to leave a private note for yourself. I don’t use this option often.
Add images, videos, and separations
While writing a blog post, I typically will write out the text, and add in images and videos that will support the reader while I’m writing. Some of you will prefer to write out the text completely, and then add in images and videos when you’re finished your thoughts. It depends on what works best for you.
To add in images, videos, embed content, or add separations, add a space to the place you want to add in new content. You’ll notice a circle with a plus sign appears off to the left.
If you click that plus sign, you’ll be given several options to add or embed content to your piece.
The first button will allow you to upload an image from your computer. The second button will allow you to paste in a link from YouTube, Vine, Vimeo, or another video link. The third button will allow you to embed content from a link. An example would be to embed a tweet in your post. The final button will allow you to add a stylish three dots to separate text and let your reader know that you’ve moved on to a new idea.
When you add images or videos you can select the alignment of the image by clicking on the content, and a toolbar will pop up to give you options for where and how you want the content to display.
The final style choice will allow you to add capital letters to the first word, or phrase in a section to set it off from the rest of the content in the body.
Share and publish your work
If you’re unsure of the content and you want to get some feedback before you publish, there is an option built in to Medium. Up at the top right of the page you will see a button to “Share” your work. You can click here to get a link to share out with your peer reviewers before you finally publish your content.
When you’re ready to publish your masterpiece, click on the “Publish” button at the top right. You’ll be presented with a drop down section that asks you to submit (up to three) tags for your post. Tags are general ideas, or themes in your post. These are super helpful as they connect your work to others reading content just like yours online. As you type in tags, Medium will let you know if the tags already exist, and how many people use those tags. As an example, if you’re sharing this with the Literacy Research Association…you might want to use “LRA” as one of the tags to connect with others.
Add in your tags, go ahead and click “Publish” again to share your work out with the world. Have no fear…if you post something and see an error…you can always go back and edit your work after it’s published. I’ve edited, revised, and destroyed the post about me several times in the creation of this post.
At this point, you’ve hopefully had an extra tab open, and you’ve been mucking about with the creation of a new post. Please start off with something simple. As I stated up above, please create a simple “about me” post in which you introduce yourself and share your interests with the community. Once you create this page, please share a link in the comments on this page.
Cover photo by josef.stuefer http://flickr.com/photos/josefstuefer/5137407 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license