If you’re focusing on the stats

I’ve been writing on Medium for a while. It’s been fun, exciting, discouraging, encouraging, humbling and everything in between. The anticipation does sometimes kill you. Putting out a piece and immediately turning to the stats page — it’s just not a good idea.

If you’re doing this consistently in hopes that you’ll suddenly break through a wall and have an insane influx of readers that are clicking the hearts and commenting on how brilliantly you write, you’re dreaming (granted, dreams can be good).

Everyone seems hell-bent on putting together some sort of formula — some sort of combination of words and headlines that not only grabs attention but holds it for long enough that a reader can look up and down a page and feel somewhat satisfied by the result of the article. Try to spend less time focusing on the little tricks you can add to your writing to make it more readable. For instance:

By writing one-liners it supposedly makes your writing easier to read.

Personally, that seems cheap and disingenuous.

One of my college professors told me that she wanted to see meat and potatoes in the papers that she reads. She didn’t want to see all the fancy frosting and fluff when reading a research piece. It actually helped me as a writer because I knew that I needed to stick to the substance and not use a bunch of empty wording to fill the space. To me, that makes your writing more readable.

If you’re writing for the stats, you have to stop. Take a break and re-evaluate yourself and your goals. Who knows how accurate those numbers are and quite frankly, who cares? Right now you might be thinking, “well, I care a little bit about the stats” — don’t we all. However, manipulating your writing as an attempt to reach more people is not the way to go about boosting them.

If you popped this open because you were like, “heck yeah, I’m going to come up with a few more ways of making posts go viral”, I’m sorry. I’m about to give some genuine advice, and it pains me to know that half the people that actually read to this point will most likely leave the page right now.

A couple of things I know from writing thus far on Medium:

  • Stats consistently go up and down
    You might have a month that you feel confident. You’re writing well and you had an article that basically went viral (woohoo!). Just slow down.Prepare yourself to be a little disappointed on your next one. I tell you this not to discourage you, but to encourage you to not be discouraged when you work your tail off on an article that reaches 16 people (with like 10 of them being family members). My point here is to keep writing. You will boost those stats again, maybe even in the near future.
  • Be genuine
    Honestly, don’t follow some cookie-cutter theme on how to write for followers. Write with personality, but your personality. Write about things that matter to you and write with a purpose. Have a mission when you start typing. Have a mission to actually reach people with words that matter. Whatever your niche may be, teach us about it. What’s on your mind? What do we need to know that you’ve found us to be misinformed about?
  • Pump out quality
    Okay, so you have a passion for writing but feel like your stuff isn’t the greatest quality. There are lots of ways to become a better writer. Perhaps the most obvious way would be to write more. That doesn’t mean you have to publish more, though you should practice putting stuff out there too. Journal, write articles, poems, etc. Just write more. Read more, too. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll pick up from someone else’s writing style. You’ll grow your vocabulary and find new and different ways of hammering home your point. This will keep your writing fresh and interesting.
  • Just keep rollin’ with it
    Ultimately, you cannot control whether or not a publication accepts your piece, so you gotta roll with it, so to speak. The most important advice in this whole thing — keep writing. Stick with it and don’t give up.Remember, you’re doing this because you actually like to. It doesn’t have to be a job. Be patient with the process and you will deliver.

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