I Made 5 Cents my First Week On Medium

Reflections of an uber-newbie.

Michael A. Van Kerckhove
Oct 14 · 6 min read
Photo courtesy of my piggy bank.

I’m tagging this story as Humor as I indeed LOLed when my first week’s earnings were released last Wednesday. I knew not what to expect. How would my less than 200 claps and less than ten fans for my three eligible stories actually translate? I figured under a buck at this point. But five cents? Well, it’s a…start?

I am a Medium baby for sure, though it’s been on my radar aware a while now. A grad school project was published here, along with its print edition companion, in 2013. How Long Will I Cry? Voices of Youth Violence features narratives based on interviews with various folks affected by gun violence in Chicago. You can read my piece featuring a trauma nurse at Stroger Hospital HERE.

I signed up for a free Medium account a couple years ago, but forgot about it until after I’d already joined as a member with this account. So don’t follow me there, okay?

I recently had lunch with a freelancer friend to talk life, art, freelancing, and all that. She brought up Medium and I was like, yeah I’ve been thinking about that too. So I did something about it. I kicked in my $5 a month for unlimited views and joined the partner program to see where this adventure would take me.

My three first-week pieces are all from the archives as it were: a lyric essay I wrote a few years ago for a live lit show; a short story I’ve been living with for ten plus years; and a prose poem I’m particularly fond of, a sort of companion piece to this story at another publication. I have (and maybe you do too) all sorts of work from the archives, the repertoire, I can share here. I’ve submitted the short story to various lit mags and contests over the years to no avail. That’s okay. It sure does look shiny here on Medium. And I hope you all dig it.

My most recent piece is something I’m pretty proud of. As of this writing, I don’t know its curation status. I’d like to think it has a shot. I suppose I’ll be a little bummed if it doesn’t make it. (Update: It didn’t make it. I’m a little bummed.) But I’ll keep going. The story has its origins in a poem I wrote in 1995 in college. I wrote the beginnings of an essay a few years ago. Then other writings took over like they do. As I went through my files, I thought this would be a good one to dust off. And here we are. I finished it. Yay, accomplishment! There are plenty of other dusty files that might benefit from this new Medium adventure….


Photo by Iswanto Arif on Unsplash

When I started these mere two weeks ago or so, I read plenty of stories where writers were writing about writing on Medium, stories that continue to fill my inbox. And now I suppose I’m heaping one more to the pile with this. Oh well. I understand how it’s become its own little cottage industry of sorts. From tips on how to present a story & what to include to all those success stories of writers making all their ducats. I’ve been taking it all in. I’ve found it pretty helpful, but some of it is like Okay, this is all too much. I can’t stress out about this madness of stats and claps and followers and the algorithm and obsessing and all that. That sounds exhausting. Even if that’s kinda how it all works.

I just discovered Lon Shapiro and he has good stuff that breaks it all down and gets real. I appreciate that. Thank you, Lon! Also, I discovered him because he followed me. I had a little pop of followers the last few days. And I know not everyone is following me because they love my work. Following is also self-promotion as we’ve learned from other social media. And that’s okay. Sometimes I follow back (or I’ll get to it eventually, or I won’t). But hopefully everyone will chime in every once in a while.

I can’t follow all the advice. I’m not going to churn out two or three articles every day generating money-making content upon money-making content and get all sad when my stats go down and stuff. That’s not how I roll. I mean, I started this a few days ago. It’s finished when it’s finished. Plus, I have plenty of other life things and other non-Medium writing to accomplish as well.

Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash

There’s also this idea in freelancing and writing in general of finding your niche. Well. I am my own niche, dammit. My current bio covers that pretty well I think:

Writer/Performer. Bookish, Particular, Gen X, Scorpio, Detroit → Chicago. Personal Essays & Things, some Fiction & Poetry. Welcome.

There will also be gay stuff here. And I’m often darkly humorous and prone to bouts of magical realism and magical magic (maybe this is covered by the Scorpio part?) The Gen X thing, well I’m about to turn 45 and that’s a pretty specific vantage point, so I’m owning that. I’m a Midwestern boy too through and through. I love history and science and nature and music and movies and books and travel and theatre and art and all those big headings. So there’s probably going to be some of that here too. My old bio said I am equal parts Luke Skywalker, Edward Scissorhands, and Ally McBeal if that helps.

Performing at Mortified Chicago. Photo: Jill Howe

The performer part, well as referenced above, I’m active in Chicago’s vibrant live lit/storytelling scene. I may publish some more of that. And also share in shows what I publish here. A beautiful cycle.

I have some ideas for my own Publications which may help focus things a bit. I’ll probably submit to other established Publications as well. That’d be cool if I got into some of those too.

Ultimately, it’s a creative endeavor first and a business endeavor second. This is just one part of working toward making more cashola on the freelancing front. Even if I only manage to make my $5 back each month. And then graduate to earning enough to maybe use for my electric bill or something. And build it from there.

Medium has gotten me to start thinking more about all the things I could write about. A helpful focus. A space to just DO IT. To explore and share and hopefully provide some inspiration and laughs and insight and stuff along the way. A larger stage than the Blog section of my writerly website, which I don’t post so much on anymore. I’ve received some nice response here on Medium and also amongst friends and family as I post things on Facebook. I know that folks are reading and that comes with good feels.

Okay, I that’s all I got for now. Thanks for joining me on this adventure. Cheers.

Bookish and Particular

Stories, Essays, and Other Writings by Michael A. Van Kerckhove

Michael A. Van Kerckhove

Written by

Writer/Performer. Bookish, Particular, Gen X, Scorpio, Detroit → Chicago. Personal Essays & Things, some Fiction & Poetry. Welcome. MichaelVanKerckhove.com.

Bookish and Particular

Stories, Essays, and Other Writings by Michael A. Van Kerckhove