Zulie Rane
Lover of writing & mother of cats. She/her. Want to make money by writing about what you love? Get my Medium blogging starter kit here: tinyurl.com/y4c43ha7

You can’t debunk viral conspiracy theories with experts on TV.

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Screenshot taken on Twitter

We’re living in a time that Politico calls the Golden Age of conspiracy theories. Here in the States, we’re mistrustful of elected officials, journalists, scientists, and pretty much anyone who isn’t a random meme on Facebook telling you face masks have implanted devices to track your whereabouts by the US government. We’re terrified that we’re somehow being tricked, which makes us very easy bait for actual tricksters.

This isn’t accidental. “Entrepreneurial politicians have realized that they can tap into these conspiratorial, populist sentiments that can be activated: ‘I know you feel this way. Let me remind you that you feel this way. …


Every blogging success and mistake over the past 24 months laid out

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Photo by Tobi from Pexels

I wrote my first story on Medium on September 12, 2018. Two years later, this is my 507th story on the platform. I honestly never thought I’d come this far.

I’ve earned nearly $30,000 in my spare time over the course of two years. My best month was $3,311.31 (May 2020); my worst was 1/1000th of that at $3.32 (Sept 2018). And I honestly believe the best is yet to come.

If you prefer the video version, you can check that out here:


My Learning Curve on Medium

People will have you believe Medium is a linear journey, that success means every month you earn more. It’s not true. Every month you learn more, but those lessons don’t necessarily correspond to more money. …


The campaign that swayed even the U.S. government

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Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Imagine you’re a plastic exec in the 1970s, facing three alarming facts. One, plastic is rapidly gaining a bad rap among the public for environmental reasons. Two, the government is breathing down your neck to curb the use of plastics. Three, all you had to do to ensure people kept buying plastic was advertise their way out of this mess.

Do you take the time to think about the lessons in sustainable living, in what you could do to the world in 20 or 50 years if you double down on your lies? Or do you just solve today’s problem?

This launched the $50-million-a-year campaign to rebrand plastic. …


The 3 steps I took to earning 6 figures at 25 years old.

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Photo: Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels

This August, I totted up how much I made from five different income streams. I came to the proud and happy realization that my day job, while a very big chunk of my monthly income, was no longer the majority — it was a little less than exactly half of what I took in total.

That means that the other half came from the other four income streams I now rely on for my monthly revenue. Effectively, I’ve doubled my monthly income with my side hobbies.

How? Well, there are five separate income streams. It took me two years. …


Feminism doesn’t mean it’s OK to look at men’s leaked nudes.

Chris Evans on a pink background with flowers. He is smiling at the camera wearing a tan bomber jacket.
Chris Evans on a pink background with flowers. He is smiling at the camera wearing a tan bomber jacket.
Photo of Chris Evans via Wikimedia Commons, edited on Canva by author

It’s a common occurrence that a female celebrity will get her nudes leaked. It normally comes with a big heaping of slut-shaming, comments like, “why’d you take the pics if you didn’t want them to get leaked,” and all sorts of nasty victim-blaming. Somehow, people believe that being a female celebrity means you’ve given up the right to privacy. It never fails to anger me when I think about the Fappening — the same dudebros complaining about online privacy gleefully spreading and disseminating hacked naked photos without consent.

In a surprising turn of events, Chris Evans of Avengers and Captain Marvel fame leaked his own nudes in an Instagram post (including a very funny screengrab of his own face with the caption, “Guard That P*ssy”). It’s the perfect counter example to how women get treated. Chris Evans accidentally dropped his own nudes on a popular platform, and there are no cries of villainy, of morality crises. No, he is allowed to have a penis and be proud of it — as he should. …


Research shows the emotional stage is where you fall in love and bond.

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Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

When I was younger, I thought there would be no more amazing feeling than that instant rush of having physical chemistry with someone. I was wrong: the feeling of being emotionally attracted to someone blows that out of the water.

Emotional attraction is one of the four types of attraction psychologists have identified, along with status-, health-, and logic-based attraction. It’s the most enigmatic and least understood. But it’s also, for me, anyway, the strongest type.

“Sometimes, people find themselves initially drawn to the person they’re most physically attracted to. …


As much as I wish I could wiggle them at will, they’re just fat tissue.

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Photo by Dainis Graveris on Unsplash

I’ve written before about how the Western fetishization of breasts has been made mainstream. From an evolutionary perspective, there’s literally no benefit to having larger breasts. It’s what makes the culture around breast worship so odd, and it pervades our culture in a number of surprising ways.

One of the weirder trends with breasts is most often spotted in literature. Frequently, male authors will describe female characters and their breasts independently. You’ll get paragraphs like:

“This slightly sadistic train of thought was interrupted as a magnificent pair of breasts came in from the back room. …


WRITING

Yes, it’s possible. This is how I plan to do it.

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I see a lot of questions about Medium cross my socials. One of the most common is whether Medium is a good platform for writing fiction.

I’ve avoided the question, because I like to be an expert in what I’m talking about, and I’ve only ever made $1.49 by writing fiction on Medium. Hardly a knowledge whiz.

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Screenshot of my single fiction story on Medium.

But I saw the question surface often enough that I wanted to put some serious thought into how I’d do this. …


His rise to sculpting stardom took a cunning ploy and a surprise reveal

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Image licensed under public domain and edited by author

Michelangelo was not born famous. No, he labored in obscurity for several years before rocketing up into stardom. But it wasn’t an organic discovery that brought him to the attention of the Roman elites: it took trickery, forgery, and a masterful grasp of marketing.

We like to pretend art is objective, that beauty is truth and recognized as such universally. …


Spoiler alert: you don’t need to average 52 books per year to be a good reader.

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Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

I still vividly remember rolling my eyes so far back in my head that I accidentally gave myself a headache when I overheard this one guy brag about how good he was at reading because he averaged reading 5 books per month.

My love of reading is an intrinsic part of my personality. So when I heard this guy spouting off about his pages per minute ratio, I took it a little personally. …


A telling portrait of feminism on the internet

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Source: TikTok

I was browsing Twitter, as I try to avoid doing too much these days, and I came across a viral video (12.1 million views) shared by @aleturner, saying it was the dumbest one she’d ever seen.

I was intrigued. In it, a young blond woman applied makeup for work while discoursing freely on how the concept of mathematics came to be. She asked questions like, “who came up with this concept?” and “how would you start on the concept of algebra?”

The initial reaction was one of mockery. People were quick to dismiss her and call her and her video “dumb.” Simply because she was young, blonde, and said “like” and “stuff” a lot, commentators determined that her questions were invalid and that the education system should have done a better job of explaining math to her. …


It only costs a keen sense of social awareness

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Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Every marketer dreams of reaching their goal audience. What’s more, is that it’s not enough to simply reach them — anyone can do that if you throw enough money at the problem. Marketers are looking for ways to reach their targets as cost-effectively as possible, too.

The incredible thing is that an effective and cheap strategy exists already: memes. …


It’s much more difficult to tell a lie in reverse.

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Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

One of the most jarring memories from my teen years is when my best friend was being cheated on by her boyfriend. The whole time, he made her feel like she was the distrustful, unloyal, misbehaving one. Night after night, he’d have this or that story about what he’d been up to, why he hadn’t come to that study session, why he was late to dates.

Eventually, she caught him out almost by accident: he told her a long and convoluted tale of being stopped at a long traffic light, then remembering he had to pick something up from the store, then being called by his mom. …


Psychologists say these are the signs to watch out for.

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Photo by NONRESIDENT on Unsplash

When I went to college, I was popular for the first time in my short, nerdy life. I’d been a bookish dweeb until the age of 18. Suddenly, I was hot and I was cool. People wanted to hang out with me, get my approval, be in my circle.

In those heady months, I could scarcely believe I’d managed to stumble into the popular crowd seemingly by accident. …


Three strategies to see if you just think you’re bad, or if you really are.

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Photo by murat esibatir from Pexels

Not long ago, I had the extremely unpleasant experience of being told I wasn’t making my quotas, and I had a month to shape up or I’d be out of a job.

The worst thing about it was that I wasn’t surprised. Ever since I started working at the cheese shop, I’d fought the nagging insistence that I wasn’t good enough. That I didn’t really belong there. That I wasn’t as good as the other members of my team. That at any moment, I’d be discovered as a fraud and be booted out.

Then, all of a sudden, I was.

The problem with easy access to the internet is that I’d been able to read article after article about how it was just Imposter Syndrome. …


Why do people think it’s cool to pretend language is static?

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

A few weeks ago, Twitter had a mini-meltdown because an official dictionary tweeted about the word “irregardless” as though it was legitimate. People had a lot of feelings about that.

I challenge you right now to open up Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales and read a quick verse. If you can’t find a copy anywhere nearby, let me help you out with an example:

“Wepyng and waylyng, care and oother sorwe

I knowe ynogh, on even and a-morwe,

’Quod the Marchant, ‘and so doon oother mo

That wedded been.”

— Sourced from Wikipedia’s entry on The Canterbury Tales

In case you can’t make heads or tails of that, you’re not alone — I remember one of my friends from college actually dedicated a full term to analyzing Chaucer’s work. It’s not easy stuff to parse. …


The power of this album isn’t in the secrets it reveals about Taylor.

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Ronald Woan from Redmond, WA, USA — Taylor Swift Speak Now — Pittsburgh. Licensed under CC 2.0

Taylor Swift has always wielded two forms of absolute power as a singer-songwriter. The first is obvious, but the second is far more subtle — and influential.

When I was just a kid, Taylor Swift’s songs were magical to me because of how she managed to neatly overlap our lives. There I was, a dweeby fifteen-year-old; and there she was, a glamorous 20-year-old. But we both struggled through lost loves, rivals, bullies. We both overcame them. Her songs showed me our similarities. It was intimate.

In an era where we voraciously inhale tabloids and celebrity gossip like it’s air, this ability to overlay her own experiences in a way that aligned with her audience catapulted her into prominence. With careful hints, subtly capitalized letters in lyrics, and a Russian doll’s worth of easter eggs, listeners felt that they got to know the real Taylor. And what’s more is that Taylor obviously understood us, too. How could she not, when she put my exact feelings about my hot neighbor into her own lyrics? When I listen to You Belong With Me, even now, I still get flashbacks to lying on my bed, dreaming about the day my future boyfriend would wake up and find that what he was looking for had been here the whole time. …


While still traveling, eating out, and spending (a lot of) money on clothes.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

I recently celebrated two milestones: turning 25 and realizing I’d saved enough to make a down payment on a 4-bedroom house if I wanted.

While turning 25 was unavoidable, the amount of money I’ve saved is very much thanks to the intentional habits and decisions I’ve made. Ever since I got my first job at 16, I’ve been conscious that keeping my eye on my financial goals and actively working towards them is the only way to achieve them.

I began saving as soon as I finished my Masters when I was 22. In three years, I’ve saved $60,000. …


The good news is you can handle all of these

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

It’s one of the most common questions I get asked: “How do I get into this publication?” Or, “This publication won’t accept my work and I don’t know why. Can you help?”

The reason it’s such a common ask is that publications can be the jumping-off platform from writing for yourself and your followers to writing for a much larger audience. My blog posts that get into publications typically do much better than those that don’t. It’s not a guarantee, but it’s a chance for your work to really fly.

It’s why I was so excited to get the chance to interview the editor for one of the most popular publications — Mind Cafe. He personally sees (and rejects) nearly 50 blog posts per day — and he had a ton of tips for new and experienced writers alike who want to access his publication. But the insights he shared are applicable for all publications, not just theirs. …


You can if you want, but you don’t necessarily owe your audience

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Photo by Kaitlyn Jade from Pexels

When I was 13 and attending my very first art class, my teacher asked us to bring in a photo to paint. Carefully, I clipped out a pastoral scene from a magazine I liked. When I brought it into class to start painting it, I was overwhelmed with all the trees, flowers, blades of grass, and rolling hills. I stressed for hours about getting each element on canvas exactly as I saw it in my picture.

When it became obvious that everyone in the class other than me was ready to move onto the next project, my teacher came over to see what the holdup was. “It’s just so hard to get it exactly the same,” I complained loudly to Ms. …


Don’t let gamers have all the fun!

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Photo by Yucel Moran on Unsplash

As part of my strategy to grow my YouTube channel into a proper revenue source, I recently started doing live blogging sessions. I call them “Write With Me” events, invite anyone who wants to come, plunk myself down, and share my screen as I write a blog post from scratch. Live. In front of everyone. No holds barred.

Honestly, it’s nervewracking. I make typos, I forget words, I lose track of where I was going with my paragraphs.

But it’s exhilarating, too. I love connecting with my audience right there, answering any questions they have, showing my process, and demonstrating what my blogging looks like behind closed doors. And it’s bolstered my YouTube channel tremendously, with tons of people asking me when the next one is going to be, subscribing on the spot, and even letting their friends know to come. …


Number 4: You can’t tear yourself away from them.

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Photo by Marcia Fernandes from Pexels

I fell into my first serious relationship when I’d just turned eighteen. Fresh in my first year of college, living abroad in England, I hadn’t even started classes when I met my future boyfriend.

It was a recipe for disaster.

My youth and lack of experience combined made me a terrible girlfriend, insecure and needy. …


Kids ask it way more than adults do.

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Photo by Christina Morillo from Pexels

One Christmas morning, my mom was cooking a ham. She cut off either end and then slid the ham into the oven. Watching the oven hum away, my sister asked a simple question: “Why did you cut off the ends of the ham?”

My mother looked down at her, surprised. “I don’t know. I guess because I watched my mom do it this way. And it was the best ham I ever ate, so I do it like this, too.”

Later that day, my mom called her own mother and put the question to her. “I was cooking our Christmas ham when Pia asked me why I cut the ends off. …


I get tons of daily emails asking for help. These mistakes stop me from replying.

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Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Every time I’ve been especially successful at anything in life, I can look back and pinpoint the moment someone agreed to mentor me, even if I didn’t know it at the time.

Getting into Oxford? Thanks, Ms. Forsyth. Succeeding at blogging? Couldn’t have done it without Tom Kuegler. Getting into my current dream job? Chris, the postdoc who sat next to me, never failed to answer my exasperated sighs with an offer to help.

My point is that mentors are incredibly helpful for achieving just about anything you can set your mind too, from jobs to side hustles to school. …


If you really want the answer, this is the wrong question to ask

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Photo by Yan from Pexels

I often tell people I never wrote professionally before becoming a blogger, which is a lie. I actually wrote my first professional story at the age of 8. I can call it professional because it went on to earn a full $7.83, courtesy of my parents who paid me one cent per five words.

Despite this unimpressive sum and no advance figure, I was thrilled to finish my book. I carefully bound it up in cardboard myself, illustrating the front cover and laminating it with the help of my younger sister. …

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