As we explore growth, a recurring theme that comes up is building relationships — both with your readers and with other writers. Writing sparks new connections and strengthens existing ones. “Connecting with your audience after you publish a story is as important as the story itself,” writes Jenna N. Chambers, before diving into several ways to connect with your audience through responses, roundups, prompts, and reading their stories too.
What’s worked for you to connect with your readers? This includes ideas both on and off Medium, activities outside of writing, events, one-to-one’s, and more. Let us know in the responses! Just like our other discussions, I’ll share what I’ve found helpful too, and publish a roundup of highlights soon after.
One of the least pleasant sensations in the world, for a writer, is the feeling that you can’t remember how you did what you just managed to do. For me, it’s particularly true about coming up with story ideas. Every time, every single time, I have finished writing something, I am sure that this is my one and only time of landing on a good idea and executing it successfully and that I will never, ever repeat it.
Part of the problem is I can never quite remember how I got the idea to begin with. I suppose that’s not…
Let’s face it, writing is hard and has been difficult since the beginning of time. Fortunately, with evolution and technological advancement came a by-product of tools and habits that ease the burden of an author. A few weeks ago, we’ve asked you all “What’s Your Favorite Writing Tool?” and got an overwhelming amount of responses
Thanks to everyone who shared, if you have any other great ideas, please feel free to share them in the comments here:
I swear by iPhone Notes. It’s such a tidy and useful little product, and its search function is great. …
Writers love a challenge, and your publication can use this fact of human psychology to its advantage. Compare:
“Our wonderful Medium publication, Candy Land, accepts stories about chocolate, gumdrops, and Swedish Fish, and we hope you’ll submit a story someday! We’ll always be here, so see you whenever, candy heads!”
“We are holding a competition to see who can write the best story about candy. There are special prizes and renowned guest judges who will read your work. But the competition only lasts 30 days, and time is running out. GO!”
Which creates more urgency and excitement? …
Was it useful to work on a draft even if the finished piece feels meh? Is it valuable to write and write if I find little reception? I’m finding myself having these questions as I work on longform essays. I’m putting more research, time, and thought into the works, and I’m noticing these discouraging thoughts show up. Is this really worth the time you’re putting in? This is nothing compared to the brilliant writing from [insert magazine here].
Connecting with your audience after you publish a story is as important as the story itself.
It’s all about relationships. The connection builds trust with your readers. It also helps the right audience engage with your content and gives you more insight into what stories engage your most loyal readers. Taking the time to genuinely listen, respond, and collaborate with your audience increases engagement and the impact your work has on your community of readers.
When the coronavirus was declared a pandemic in March 2020, everyone was baking that perfect sourdough, perfecting their Spanish language skills, or learning acoustic guitar (on social media anyway). I felt like I should be taking advantage of this time, of all of the wonderful offerings from my favorite creative institutions. I signed up for a Coursera class in art history with MOMA. I donated to do the first virtual Summer Jazz Academy through Lincoln Center. I signed up for a business-building class through one of my alma maters.
I didn’t show up to one of them.
Attending those online…
When I can’t quite figure out how to start a piece of writing—from a Medium post to a feature story to an important email to a set of presentation notes— I write my way into it. Somewhere around paragraph two or three or four, I’ll usually find the path, the pacing, the way forward.
Then, I read over the draft, and I almost always delete that first 50 or 200 or 300 or 500 words. I consider that section the sacrificial intro.
As an editor, I often ask writers to cut their first few paragraphs, because they frequently seem, well…
In audience development, we talk a lot about “meeting the reader where they are.” That means that it’s on you, the creator, to find out where your audience spends a lot of their time (Twitter? Instagram? Scrolling their inbox?) and find creative ways to get your content into those spaces. And (almost) every reader spends a lot of time reading email.
I love email as an audience building tool for the same reasons I love push notifications — we know that people are glued to their phones, so sending messages directly to your reader’s device makes it a lot more…
When I think about how I became a writer, I think back to my childhood, and the things that made me who I was — what drove me and influenced my values. After all, that’s what makes us artists; we use our belief systems to create an image of ‘perfection’. And then we aim to reach it. As writers, this behavior is tenfold.
So, let me ask you this: when you create art (be it through words or strokes), how do you strive to meet perfection?
Hint: There’s only one right answer to this.
As you grow up, whether you…