ILLUMINATION
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ILLUMINATION

No Response Does Not Mean No

The 5 P’s to Navigating Medium Publications (And Writing in General)

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After publishing just over eighty stories, I’ve learned a few pointers to help me how to improve my chances of being published in a “big” publication.

First things first, my “big” stories have been seen in Better Advice, Runner’s Life, and Never Fear. While these aren’t exactly what one might consider significant, I’ve had a goal to be published in Better Advice, and my story in Runner’s Life was curated. (Thanks for the applause.)

To help improve my chances of being published (and curated), I created a list of five P’s to help myself navigate these publications.

· Production

· Proofreading

· Perfection

· Patience

· Persistence

Production

Medium is full of stories that cover the quality/quantity debate. My take on this is don’t write if you don’t feel like it. I often force myself to write, but three sentences in find alphabet soup in the Word doc.

Unmotivated writing leads to low quality, which decreases your chances of being published. If you want to write, the first step is to find what motivates you to write. The second step is why you write.

I’ve found that if your write solely to get published, even your words seem needy. When I write for the people (such as this story), I like my style better and hope to inspire at least two people in the form of claps or comments.

If you’re wondering how much you should write, here’s my answer. It depends. If you want to write full time or use Medium as a springboard to a writing career, you should crank out at least five stories a week, I would say.

On the other hand, If you’re like and love to use this as a creative outlet, write when you want. I’m currently quarantine to return to school, so I have ample time to spit my ideas on digital paper. When I return to school, the plan is a minimum of two stories a week to keep my community happy and improve my writing.

On the topic of submissions, submit anything you feel is quality work to the relevant publications. Every story has the chance to see the front page of Medium, so does every writer. I often see writers with fewer than 200 followers become featured on the homepage or in prominent publications. Congratulations!

Proofreading

We are humans, and we make mistakes. We may be so passionate and excited to discuss a particular topic that commas find themselves slicing perfectly good sentences. No worries! Thanks to a cool feature called spell check, you can have an extra set of eyes read and correct for you. (Sorry writers still using typewriters.)

Many in the Medium community also recommend beefy spell check software such as Grammarly. I agree. For a steep price of about $119 a year, Grammarly will analyze your work to find better words and even rewrite whole sentences. While some may see this as “cheating,” I would argue that it’s still original content, and Grammarly has allowed me to write better thanks to its suggestions.

A golden turd is still a turd. -My Brother

Unfortunately, we might write a story, edit, and proofread it only to find that it has no value. This is the importance of rereading your whole story. I often find that if I don’t like a story’s topic, I’ll crumple it up and into the digital trash can it goes. Rereading your story allows you to see if every paragraph and sentence flow like a glorious waterfall deep in the woods.

Perfection

After your document itself is nice and shiny, there still needs to be work done.

Be sure to have a unique image that compliments your story. When your story becomes published, the title and image team up and create a first impression that will give readers the opportunity to say “Yay” or “Nay.” Let’s hope they pick the latter. If I were to choose an image of a pool on a warm summer day for this story, it wouldn’t make much sense for the reader, so they will likely pass.

Playing with tags is essential too! Medium offers you five spots to find words that are relevant to your story. Getting the tags right is crucial for both internal and external purposes. If I wanted to read stories about cooking, then I’d ask Medium to show me stories tagged with “cooking.”

Tags also allow your story to be better viewable by search engines such as Google. Your tags significantly impact SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Having a complete SEO allows Google to recommend your story to people who may click on it.

Patience

Consider that these more extensive publications like to reward writers by displaying their stories for a decent amount of time. To do this, they publish just a few stories a day, which keeps the content relevant.

These publications also may receive hundreds of drafts a day and only have an editorial staff of a few dozen people. The demand for submissions often outweighs the supply of editors. I recently waited about ten days for The Ascent to review my submission only to find it was “a great story but not what they were looking for.”

Fortunately, you have this extraordinary innovation called email. Many publications do as well. It’s not uncommon for writers to email about their submission. When I reached out to The Ascent, they responded quickly, and the denial message came shortly after.

Emailing publications can be a great tool, yet some frown upon it. Before submitting, I would recommend checking out their submission details and if they allow writers to email them. For publications that do allow you to email, wait at least five days before reaching out. You may piss off some editors if they receive an email and submission notification from you simultaneously.

Persistence

Persistence is more than an excellent trait for writing, but life as well. Staying persistent allows you to be self-motivated when it seems that every publication is against you.

As you submit more work, editors will see that you are passionate about writing. They know that you write often and will likely consider that as you submit more work. If you and your content have potential, they may work with you until your story is something they would be happy to share with their community.

These are the rules I’m going to follow for myself, not just in writing but also in everyday life. Produce, proofread, perfect, be patient, and stay persistent.

Become a pro at writing using the advice that Jari Roomer has found that sets the pros apart from amateurs.

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Zach Goreczny

Zach Goreczny

College Student. Coffee Lover. Writes about Leadership, Business, and Data Science. https://www.udemy.com/user/zachary-goreczny/