Game Of Words
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Game Of Words

I Earned $7.58 My First Week on Medium

And here’s how I’m going to 10x that in October

Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

Ah yes, Wednesdays. The day when writers of Medium’s Partner Program get to see their stats and estimated earnings from the last week. In particular, this week rounds out the month of September and the writer’s communities I’m part of have been all abuzz.

Some people say it’s uncouth to talk about money.

I call bullshit.

If it weren’t for writers like August Birch, T.S. Johnson, Shaunta Grimes, Casey Botticello, and more talking openly about their processes and their earnings, I never would have believed it possible for me to make any money at this.

Yet here I am.

I am not new to Medium. I had a brief fling with them in 2017, then floated off to other projects and greener pastures. Only recently have I started to re-engage with the community and start posting again.

Last month, I became a Medium Member. So if you look at my profile, it looks like I only recently joined the site. That’s not the entire truth, that’s just when I started paying. I’ve been reading and enjoying all of the wonderful content on Medium for years now, and as the quality and quantity of member-locked articles continue to increase, I figured it was time.

Time to put my money where my mouth was. Time to give this a real go, and see if anyone out there cared about the random musings of my often-muddled mind.

To my surprise? It looks like they do.

Meeting My Demons

In the last week of September, I made the decision to start writing for Medium’s Partner Program.

I have been a freelance writer for some time, so I knew I had the ability to write compelling content. So I wanted to challenge myself. Put my work out there. Get a little more vulnerable, a little more personal than I do in my professional work.

I read all the articles about how people succeeded and failed. I read about people making thousands, and I read about people making pennies. I read about the grind of publishing every day, sometimes more than once a day. I read voraciously. I took notes. I studied.

“Who was I to think I had anything new to say?”

Photo by Gabriel on Unsplash

That was the voice that echoed in my mind. Every time I sat down to write. Every time I read another article, I thought that to myself.

It’s all been done before.

There’s nothing I can contribute.

Why even try?

That kind of mindset was getting me nowhere, fast.

So what did I do?

I threw caution to the wind and began to write.

My First Article

My first article after coming back to Medium was about writing. They say “write what you know”, right?

And the craft and business of putting words down on the page have been my life for as long as I can remember.

So I started out with something I found interesting. Something that’s really helped me and my all-too-easily-distracted brain.

Lots of people extoll the values of the Pomodoro Method. I don’t blame them — it’s a very effective tool for battling distraction and getting things done. There was only one problem, for me: I have the attention span of a squirrel, and sometimes even 25 minutes feels like forever.

So what did I do?

I went even shorter.

You can read more about how that went here.

With any luck, you’ll learn something as well.

Keeping Momentum

With that first article under my belt, I wanted to keep things moving. I started thinking about what else I could write. I started looking through my old folders of ideas and snippets.

Piggybacking off the first article about tracking your writing habits, I decided to delve a bit deeper. I’m definitely a numbers geek and I love looking at the data and seeing what I can use to improve my life.

So that’s what I did in my second article, cheesily titled If You Can Track It, You Can Hack It.

This one didn’t do nearly as well, but hey, you can’t win them all.

Promotion and Community

One thing became certain once I started publishing and reading other people’s stories: no one was going to magically find my work if I didn’t do a little legwork first.

Enter the wild and wacky world of social media.

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

I joined several Medium related groups on Facebook, and at Brian Rowe’s suggestion made a Facebook Page for posting and promoting my articles.

One of the most important parts of growth within the Medium Community is to remember that one word: Community.

Too many people think it’s enough to just toss a link on 2983723 Facebook Groups with no text or comment, then run for the hills. Surely, the skies will open and fame and fortune will rain upon them, right?

Let’s rethink this.

There are plenty of places to “promote” your articles on Facebook. Thing is, most of those threads have hundreds of posts each. How are you going to stand out? How is anyone going to see yours, click it, read it, and clap for it?

By becoming memorable.

Some people are memorable in bad ways. That’s not what we’re going for here.

When people see your post, they want to feel something. They want to see your name and think, “oh, that’s so-and-so. I better check out their new work.”

They can remember you as funny, as vulnerable, as successful, or as knowledgable. They might even remember you as “that asshole.”

But you want readers to associate you and your work with a feeling. That feeling will keep them coming back to your work for far longer than random comments in the sea of Facebook threads will.

Curation Woes

There are still plenty of things I haven’t figured out about this platform yet. I’ve submitted pieces to a couple of publications and have gotten rejected. I haven’t had a single story curated yet. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong in that regard.

Shaunta Grimes suggested on Facebook that perhaps if your account has several articles in a row that don’t get curated, then your articles are looked at less often. It sort of makes sense. The curators have thousands of articles to look at per day. They want to optimize their time as much as we do, so they might be more willing to look at creators that produce consistent content that people want to read.

Now, don’t get freaked out. Instead of thinking of this as a disadvantage, I see it as an opportunity. All I have to do, then, is get one article curated, and then I’ll be back in the running.

I don’t know the truth or validity of this, but it’s something I’m going to look into. I admit that I noticed in some of my early articles that I was making silly mistakes with headline formatting, for instance, and that wasn’t up to the curation guidelines.

Going forward I’m going to make sure my pieces are following all the guidelines and then I’ll reach out and request a review. Of course, I’ll let you know the results right here.

Why 10x?

I know you saw that bold claim up there in the subtitle.

And here’s how I’m going to 10x that in October.

To be honest, when I first wrote that subtitle, I started it out as “double that in October.”

But then I thought to myself, “double $7.58 is only $15.16. I can definitely do better than that.”

So I went full Grant Cardone and decided to go big. 10 times $7.58 is $75.80. Do I believe I can achieve that this month?

Absolutely.

And if all else fails, I’ll be giving it my all. Meeting a goal to double my income, while much more achievable, would encourage me to slack off once I reached it. I know myself. I know I can do better.

And like the old saying goes,

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

The Bottom Line

So here it is. The moment you’ve all been waiting for.

The cold, hard cash. I mean, data.

Total Earnings: $7.58

What I Learned

  • Publish. Consistently.
  • Engage in communities on social media.
  • Become memorable.
  • Like, follow, and comment on other authors’ work. It takes a village.
  • Be more cognizant of publication/curation guidelines.

What I’m Going To Do Next

  • Publish every day.
  • Submit more work to publications.
  • Network and grow my tribe.
  • Track my stats and continue to improve, both in my writing and in my conversions.

My current project in October, besides my usual articles, is something a little different. I’m writing a short story each day based on Inktober prompts, and I hope you’ll follow along.

You can sign up for notifications on this series to get each story as it comes out, or you can start with Day 1 right now. Once you read the first chapter, you’ll be hooked. Promise.

I Want You

This platform is a great opportunity for anyone who’s willing to do the work, pay attention to the guidelines, and put themselves out there.

By the end of this year, I’ll be firmly in the small number of Medium writers earning over $100 a month.

Will you join me?

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“In the Game Of Words, you write or you die.” Stories from the trenches of the indie publishing world.

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