Don’t Blame the Platform, Focus on Improving Your Skills
Negativity about the home of your writing won’t get you anywhere
As a subscriber and a writer, I love the happiness that keeps appearing on the platform and social media about Medium. Or rather the lack of it! I’m getting quite annoyed about it all.
There is a growing bitterness from some about how the platform has changed. The platform offering jobs to editors and potentially moving away from independent writers. The bitterness stems from the shift that took place on the platform in March 2019.
This shift was significant for independent writers, with the homepage of Medium moving from promoting topics to promoting publications — which they own.
This brought most part-time writers a sharp decline in traffic and claps, the much-vaunted indicator of income. It’s fair to say most writers were less than happy with the changes.
But, with the change in earnings, the vibe has changed too.
Not So Happy Anymore…
There is angst in the tone and comments from writers, one not present before. Writers are seething that Medium isn’t operating on their terms. And with it comes the incriminations. ‘They’ve moved so far from thought leadership they can’t get back.’
Others moan at the volume of new writers arriving on the platform. Some criticise Medium for becoming a workshop for new writers.
And then there are the mutterings of what Medium has done. Shouts of they don’t know what they’re doing, they don’t know their target audience and so on. ‘The welcome page isn’t very nice, I wouldn’t sign up,’ said one.
As you can see, Medium isn’t quite such a happy place anymore. But it should be.
We Should Be Happy Writers
Let’s be clear, we should be happy writers and I think most of us are. The majority of writers are writing on Medium for several reasons. I think I capture the essence of the average writer here by offering the following perspective.
Medium is easy to use.
It’s free, which if you’re an amateur writer is great. As a novice, the last thing you want is the burden of cost that a website brings. The other big plus is that Medium already has a ton of traffic, so you don’t need to worry so much about SEO and marketing like you would with your own site.
But, all that aside, you can get paid if someone reads your article and claps to show their appreciation. This is the real hook that attracts so many writers to the platform.
The opportunities are still vast for writers using Medium.
The most recent payment summary shows an increase in the percentage of writers earning more than $100. 8.9% is up from 7.2% the previous month and shows despite the increase in new writers, those that apply themselves can earn.
One writer made a staggering $30,000 in a month. But, let’s be honest, these are the exceptional ones. The ones we aspire to be like.
Is Being a Medium Writer the Ultimate Side Gig?
Now for some, $100 isn’t a happy payday. But look, is Medium a place to think of as somewhere you can earn a consistent income?
As I mentioned, if you’re exceptional you can earn well. But to be fair, there is no commitment from Medium, no contract or minimum income guarantee. How can anyone work with that lack of commitment?
To me, Medium is a side gig. A little extra each month for me to put away for a rainy day or a treat. To me, that is all that’s on offer from Medium, nothing else.
If you want more, go and look elsewhere. Get a proper job, not some whimsical hope like this one.
Some say with one hand that Medium is a side gig, but publish like it’s a full time one. Naive and stupid springs to mind. Funnily enough, remember the grumbles about the changes to the platform? Yep, the same person.
Be Grateful, Be Happy
For me, that’s the game. Be grateful that Medium offers such an easy to use platform that makes light work of all that it does.
Be grateful for the huge audience that’s out there waiting for your article. Write what makes you happy, or what makes you sad. I for one want to read, I want to learn and that is what Medium offers me. The best of both worlds.
Medium is a business, and it has responsibilities to its shareholders and stakeholders to make a profit. Without subscribers, it can’t offer us this amazing place to write and be heard.
Don’t get angry when Medium says our writing isn’t good enough to make this business sustainable. That’s the brutal truth behind the changes we observed earlier this year. It’s a truth none of us wants to accept.
The new publications have a job to do: to get those new readers that are so important for us to continue using the platform. We shouldn’t criticise them because what they publish isn’t our content. We as independent writers might be able to learn from them. Maybe we need to think differently.
That’s my angst, that some writers on Medium think it’s someone else’s fault and not ours. I believe we have a duty as content creators to raise our game.
That’s my goal—what’s yours?