How I Earn Over $350 a Day with a 4yo on My Lap

I write on Medium exclusively from my tablet and phone.

Shannon Ashley
Mar 19, 2019 · 7 min read
Photo by Ravi Kumar on Unsplash

My laptop is a bit on the slow side. It's this pretty (as in cute) but cheap HP thing I bought off QVC back in 2012 when I told myself I was going to become a writer and change my whole life.

Back then, I I was going to write a novel, and I don't know--maybe I'll still finish it one day. But ever since I became a single mom in 2014, my creative brain seems to work much differently.

So I've built my writing career upon personal essays right here on Medium--beginning last April.

Prior to going all-in on Medium this past December, I was a writer for a social media management company for nearly 4 years. For the first several months of that gig, I worked from my phone and my laptop.

But I found laptop usage with an infant to be rather cumbersome, and figured I would need to get a tablet instead. Not that I'd ever used one before or anything like that. Still, I was fortunate enough to receive a Samsung Galaxy Tab A as a gift, and I quickly did develop a preference for the tablet over my laptop.

I'm still using that same old tablet, and I don't think I've dug out my laptop for at least six months now. Once in a while, I do need to use it, but that's a rare occasion indeed.

Several Medium writers have been surprised to hear that I write on the platform using my tablet and even my phone, and they have expressed the desire to learn how I do it. Particularly since I've begun making good money here.

Over the past two weeks, I've earned slightly more than $350 a day writing from the comfort of my phone and tablet. Keep in mind it took months of (sustained) hard work to get to this point.

Estimate for the first 2 weeks of March

It's actually pretty simple and there are no true secrets. Keep in mind, though, these are android tips.

I utilize BOTH the (desktop) website and the app... on my phone.

Personally, I’d say that both the app and website are pretty straightforward. What you see is what you get.

On my android phone, writing on the app looks like this:

And on my tablet, writing on the website looks like this:

Why yes, I DO have about 100 tabs open at all times....

When I use the website, it is always the desktop site.

From a mobile device, the default is always the mobile website. You’ve got to override that default for more functionality.

I use a Chrome browser on both of my mobile devices. To turn on the desktop site, click the three dots at the right side of your browser.

Clicking on those dots will reveal a drop-down menu. Check the box that says “desktop site.”

It's easier to remove an image with the app.

All you have to do is click the picture, and then the X that appears in the upper right corner. Easy.

But it’s easiest to input an image caption from the web.

At this time, the app doesn’t allow you to put in a caption, but the website does.

BTW, there's no need for ugly links.

So... I see a lot of writers here who copy and paste links in their stories without actually hyperlinking them. It makes me sad.

If you're on the mobile app, you only need to highlight the word(s) you wish to hyperlink. Then click the little link icon.

But if you’re looking for a prettier link? Then use the website. All you have to do is hit “Enter” to make a new line, paste the link, and hit “Enter” again.

You’ll end up with something pretty like this:

Here are a couple of other formatting tricks you'll need for the desktop site.

When you write on Medium from the website, there's a little pop-up box that only comes up when you select a word. You can still access that pop-up when you're using a mobile device. You just need to hit another button like the symbols or uppercase arrow after you select the text.

There are the beautiful formatting options you've been looking for...

Also, when you begin a new line by hitting "Enter," you'll see a plus sign inside a circle. Like this:

Go ahead and click on it. You'll find options to add video, search for Unsplash images, insert a page break and more.

I don’t type, so much as Swype.

Both my tablet and phone keyboards are set to “Swype.” That means I trace (or drag) my finger across the keyboard to spell each word.

I’d say that “swyping” goes quicker for me than typing.

I only use my tablet when I’m at home in my “work mode.”

That means the bulk of my stories are written with a stylus from my tablet. But anytime I’m on the go or trying to write a story from bed, you can bet I’m using my phone and swyping with my finger.

Writing in bed either after my daughter goes to sleep or before she wakes up happens at least 4 times a week. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night with a story idea, or the mojo to Swype something out for an hour or two.

If you're not sure about something on Medium, don't be afraid to experiment.

The truth is that I got myself set up on Medium last April without any help. I'm no super duper techie or even web savvy. Yet, I figured out how to write on Medium from my phone and tablet all by myself. That means you can do this too--you've just got to be able to do a little trial and error.

When I first started up on Medium, publishing from the app didn't work if I wanted to put a story behind the paywall and earn money through the Partner Program. So I only published locked stories through the website.

These days, you publish locked stories from the app. Like most things on Medium, everything is subject to change.

The hardest part of getting my work done is just the personal stuff.

Honestly, Medium itself makes writing and publishing pretty damn easy. It's a helluva lot easier for me to write on Medium, build an audience, and earn a decent living than anything else I've done.

And as a single mom, having the ability to work from my phone or tablet is a huge win. My daughter is turning 5 soon, but she is still very much attached to me. It's not unusual for me to work from my tablet or phone with my daughter on my lap.

As you might expect, the interruptions are plentiful (right now, she's playing with dolls but stopping every few minutes to tell me all about it), and the hours are often long. I'm alright with that, and I believe in the career I'm building here on Medium.

Besides, I'm proud to show my daughter the value of going after your dreams.

Much thanks to Luke Rowley, Nate Miller, Nick Wignall, and Danny Forest on this one!

Awkwardly Honest

A home for some of my most cringe-worthy tales that have…

Shannon Ashley

Written by

It's not about being flawless, it's about being honest. 🍵 📧

Awkwardly Honest

A home for some of my most cringe-worthy tales that have been well-received on Medium.

Shannon Ashley

Written by

It's not about being flawless, it's about being honest. 🍵 📧

Awkwardly Honest

A home for some of my most cringe-worthy tales that have been well-received on Medium.

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