Interview with Karen Madej
Who are you?
The first three months of 2020 have shown me that I can write not only for myself but for others too. Albeit quite slowly.
I’ve honed my confidence, speaking and listening, and English language coaching skills in the past five years. Also, my grammar has been improved tenfold.
In the last ten years, my driving force has been to reach this point in time when I can spend my day writing.
The ratio of hours spent writing on Medium to viewing on Netflix has reversed. Last December 1:8, March 8:1.
This year, I’m looking to optimise my life by making writing a priority, providing my day job permits.
I’ll also be deciding on a more temperate place to live during the hard Scottish winter months. Portugal looks good to me.
Why write on Medium?
I found Medium a couple of years ago but didn’t have the time then to do much other than post a chapter or two from the memoir I was compiling. At the end of 2019, I had some time on my hands and needed a project to see myself through the off-peak first quarter when top French companies traditionally didn’t require English language coaches.
What excited me then (and still does now) is that I could get so many personal stories off my chest, so to speak. The act of writing has been my way of making sure I can sleep at night for a decade or so.
For years, my Wordpress blog, which never attracted more than 18 followers, was a kind of catharsis. Yet Medium, and the lovely people who read my outpourings and keep coming back, assisted my metamorphosis from writing for and about myself and nothing much else, into writing about a variety of subjects. For example, politics, living frugally, identifying and sharing joyful pastimes, arduous exercise activities, the menopause and other life-lessons. Oh and the odd poem. I am now a part of a community of fellow writers who encourage and inspire each other.
What are your writing interests?
My ultimate goal is to finish my memoir which I started ten years ago as a means of staving off boredom while living on a barren island.
My vision for Medium is to continue honing my writing skills and experimenting with different topics. I might even choose some specific tags to write in but I’m not good at limiting myself. As far as I’m concerned I’ll keep writing about anything and everything until I lose interest. But seriously, is that ever likely to happen?
One of the reasons my blog didn’t take off was because I had no clue about marketing. My goal for this is to learn and use marketing techniques for my own and the work of others.
Can you share a highlight of your life?
The biggest and best achievement of my life is my son. I am grateful he survived being born eleven weeks early, weighed only three pounds two ounces, and was jaundiced. The staff of the Special Care Baby Unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford made sure he survived.
He thrived on mother’s milk and homemade and pureed veggies in his first year. At his first annual checkup, the doctor declared him fit and healthy and all caught up for his age.
He is now twenty-seven years old, six foot four, and carving out his career in network engineering.
Share a few of your article links with us?
I am most proud of A Love Letter to Myself because it was the first time my work was curated!
One Sunday morning I awoke at about 4 am and wrote this article. I mentioned all the lovely people who had clapped and responded to my previous stories and asked them to share whether they thought alcohol was a simple pleasure, or not. It was mostly great fun with a serious moment or two.
The Best Things in Life Are Free, 14 Simple Frugal Pleasures
Plus 1 Not Free and Not Always a Pleasure
This was a day I’ll never forget in Edinburgh with my son. It resonated with quite a few readers. Other poems of mine have attracted other poets and I adore powerful short-reads.
A Band of Paper Fit For a Giant
She stood at the station, watched his train move off Thoughts rushed around her son, his new job and the rift With his…
Do you write anywhere else?
Currently, I don’t write anywhere else. I have a shiny new Wordpress site but I have yet to populate it with what I write on Medium.
I have also written the first part of my memoir, Gemini Craving and self-published under my penname on Amazon.
Plus, I wrote a travel guide about my favourites places in Prague.
I lived there for eight years and made the best friends. The lifelong kind.
Any big plans for 2020?
Market, market, and then market some more. Build more rapport with those I’m following and those who follow me. Promote other people’s work using the Twitter option when you highlight a meaningful quote and add hashtags to direct the tweets to where you want them to go. E.g. @medium — on Twitter directs your tweet to the Medium handle. #illumination and #medium direct tweets to the ILLUMINATION publication. You can be added as a writer by leaving your name in the responses of this article.
Can you recommend other Medium authors?
I don’t have a niche but here are ten of my favourite writers in a diverse selection of tags.
Roz Warren’s sense of humour is tear-inducing. I write with humour but nowhere near this lady’s quality. She has a unique take on life situations and her stories are often prompted by events at the library where she works. Don’t you just love her titles?
Rolli is 100% original. His short stories are hilarious, mysterious, and animated in both word and drawings.
Jeff Goins inspired me to persevere. To keep writing and to share what I wrote. To edit and rewrite. It still took me nearly three months to be good enough but inspired by Jeff and so many other more experienced writers, I did it.
Choose to be different. Keep going when others do not. Go the extra mile that most will not take. Be amazing by persevering. — Jeff Goins
Are You A Good Writer or Bad One? Here’s The Difference.
The difference between good writers and bad writers has little to do with skill. It has to do with perseverance. Bad…
missreneeonlife wrote a great story about her reflections on life. Making life as pleasant as possible for herself and others by working on herself and recommending actions to her readers to give the best we can with what we’ve got.
Every writer on Medium should take this advice. :)
Three Reasons to Use Noncuration as a Motivator
The curation Gods may have left me but as a writer, I am not going down in flames.
Chris Hedges is the most generous reader, highlighter, and clapper I am lucky enough to know. And we started writing seriously on Medium at around the same time. One of their most popular pieces is below.
How to Achieve Success: Observations about Medium After 4 Months
I’m going to let you in on a secret most miss and point you to some people who are killing it on Medium
Simran Kankas burst onto Medium, or so it seemed to me when she read and commented on pretty much everything I had to offer some time in March. She writes poetry. Beautiful, stunning, heartfelt and spiritual poems.
Debbie Walker has taken the time to help me by pointing out that my subtitles weren’t formatted (I had to go back through two months worth of articles to correct them!) as well as asking another wonderful editor to give me pointers for an article, which was then published in Middle-Pause. Thank you, Debbie and Meg Stewart. On top of that Debbie writes about her life and sends out regular newsletters singing the praises of the articles and their writers!
I am living in-between these days. In between isolation and social interaction. In between isolation and reflection. In…
Dr Mehmet Yildiz adopted me early on in my relationship with writing on Medium. He is a prolific writer and admired that work ethic in me. He always reads my articles and comments. I’ve enjoyed so many of his, so choosing just one is not easy. He loves to experiment and has an amazing capacity to invent, reinvent, and create prolifically. I chose his most recent call to action from his writers and editors (I am one) on his exciting new publication called ILLUMINATION.