What am I doing wrong?
That’s the most common question Medium writers ask when they look at stats.
It’s so challenging to get traction in this platform. Why does nobody care about what I write about? I put my heart into every article, so what’s wrong with me?
On the 24th of September 2020, I wrote the article Not making any money on Medium?
Three and a half months later, what changed?
First, I reached the $100 target (I’m very proud). Only 6.2% of all the 170,000 writers make $100 or more. So, I’m already on that list of 10,540 writers who’ve reached that milestone.
Second, I bought an online course from Sinem Günel, which made me understand Medium rules. How to prepare a strategy to move forward. How to better prepare an article before you publish it. And so much other good content about this platform.
Third, I’ve been reading a lot of Jessica Lynn’s work. And the best thing she taught me was the importance of editing. You must spend more time editing than writing. Before you click to publish another article, make editing a no mercy job.
Edit like your life depends on it: Cut out any unnecessary words from your work, leaving only the words that serve the story. Before you hit “publish,” read your story aloud, twice. Be ruthless. Be kind to yourself in the writing process. But when it comes to editing, be merciless. Drop your ego, read your story like you are the reader, and refine until you are left with concise writing that is clear and to the point.- Jessica Lynn
Fourth, I started to use tools to help me with grammar and structure. I bought Grammarly Premium and Hemingway. These two apps have done miracles to my writing style. In such a way, The Startup and The Ascent accepted my work.
The best way to see if you’re writing with quality is to publish in the major publications.
Let me share with you some fundamental principles that made me reach my first milestone.
1) Headline Writing Is An Art Form
A headline is the only impression you can make that can turn readers into a potential fan. This is why it is so important to create headlines that can grab the attention of the audience.
You should spend as much time crafting a solid, strategic headline as you do on the content within the piece.
Gain a readership
Your headline is the front store of your library. If you do it right, your reader sees what your content is about. If it sounds exciting and appealing, then they will indeed click to read your content.
It’s the headline that grabs the audience’s attention. Headlines do increase the chances of achieving a viral article.
A compelling headline should have the following four effects on your readers:
- Build a Relationship
- Create a Sense of Urgency
- Generate a Need for Knowledge
- Begin the Message
All these tools seek the attention of the reader. Do the homework the right way. And the natural result will increase your readership, searchability, and virality.
2) Introduction: if you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough
There are five typical introductions I do over and over again.
- Introduction #1: The Quote
- Introduction #2: The Statistic or Fun Fact
- Introduction #3: The Classical Narrative
- Introduction #4: The Question
- Introduction #5: Setting the Scene
If you use one of these five types of introductions, you’ll have thousands of new opportunities to grab your audience. Keep quality always near you. Don’t forget that quality is a sign of virality.
3) Clean Formating
Keep your reader on the page at all costs. Try to simplify the formatting for your reader’s reading experience. If you’re describing something that happened to you, it’s easier.
If it’s something more academic, justify it with links to other sources. It makes your writing more authoritative.
Be authentic. Don’t try to be anyone else. The reader will feel if it’s not the real you. And they will leave your article before finish it.
4) Final Thoughts
Always check if you did deliver the information you promised in the title.
It’s usual to start writing about running shoes, and all of a sudden, you’re off track talking about an injury.
Focus on the promise. Deliver it in the most exciting way.
When I write the words Final Thoughts, I scroll back to the title and check if I delivered what I promised.
I often had to redo the whole text because I’d escaped the subject as a hare flees from an eagle.
If you’re not very confident, try to simplify by writing a resumé of your article in your Final Thoughts. Explain the broad view of everything you’ve written. It’s a way of cementing the ideas you shared.
Show Me the Numbers
In my first month, I earned $0.08. It was in April 2020.
In May 2020, I earned $1.27.
From $0.08 to $1.27 is a huge increase. If you know a little about compounding, you’d be excited about your second month.
In June, I earned $0.42.
I was very confident, though; this step back didn’t disturb me in the least. I knew there was a way to go.
I love challenges, tough ones.
That’s why I made $3.95 in July; because I am stubborn.
I don’t quit.
In August, I made $31.86.
I wrote 14 articles instead of 5 or 8 like the previous months. I realize that Medium wants content. The more you write, the more opportunities you have to succeed.
In September, I made $61.51.
I kept writing as there was no tomorrow. I was getting into a great rhythm. I still had my 9–5 job, so I woke up at 6:00 AM every day before taking my daughters to school. It was hard.
In October and November, I prepared myself to leave the company I worked in for 10 years. And as I promised my boss, I would leave everything prepared for when I was gone. I didn’t write much. My head was somewhere else, you know what I mean?
In October and November, I earned $23.72 and $28.40.
December was the month I get my freedom. In this piece, I explain how and why I did it. How I turned into a full-time writer.
In December, I earned $99,70.
Don’t Let Making a Living Prevent You From Making a Life
I’m 44 years old — a single father.
Have enough savings to be comfortable working in something I love.
Life taught me how a son of a Portuguese middle-class family can be broke at 31.
Life taught me that you find yourself in a marriage where the only love that exists is that of your daughters.
Life taught me if you have a dream of being financially independent, you have to master finance. So I read every book I put my hands on about investments. I started to invest in real estate and the stock market. Now I’m an expert and earn a bunch of money on those businesses.
Life put in my hands a book from a great human being. Jim Rohn was his name. Meanwhile, he writes a sentence that will be stamped in my mind until the last days of my life:
Success is not to be pursued. It is to be attracted by the person you become.
Your audience is your gold mine.
If you have 1 follower, treat him with all the love you have. He trusted you with his time. He wants to know more about you.
Enrich your voice by improving your writing.
Attract new fans by the person you become. Be humbled and learn. Don’t stop learning.
Read everything you want to know about.
Everything is in the books.
Write without stopping.
The more you write, the more you will realize that you know nothing. And this is the best thing in the world.
Why? Because it open doors and windows for new worlds to explore.
To pursue the beauty of writing, open as many doors as possible. And one day you will find the respect of all the fans who followed you and believed in your word.
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