I am a mere infant in the business of writing. As I approach the six-month mark on my journey into Medium, I have learned many lessons.
- Never say never. I told myself I would never jump on the bandwagon of writing articles about writing articles.
- Storytelling laced with nuggets of wisdom is where I belong. I do not enjoy participating in the reading or the writing of listicles. If listicles are your bag, then have fun listing your reasons why. As for me, the remainder of this article will be in my preferred form of writing.
Setting Sail and Navigating Through Marketing
My maiden voyage into the ocean of essays on Medium was preceded by months of preparation. Thoroughly researching the pros and cons of various platforms, creating an inventory of essays to be published and reading a variety of articles from numerous authors on Medium.
Testing the direction of the wind before deciding to set sail.
The imaginary humiliation awaiting on the other side of that Submit to Publication button was ridiculously scary. The key word here is ridiculous.
If you are fearful of what others will think of your writing, don’t be. Click the submit button with confidence.
Medium is truly a community for writers and readers. Most comments are positive, respectful and constructive.
Fellow writers are out there ready to lend a helping hand, or so I’ve read. Asking for help does not come easily to me.
Growing up, my Mom repeatedly encouraged me to be able to take care of myself, a characteristic she has always felt lacking in herself. I took her words to heart and depend little on others.
The irony is that Mom is more capable than she knows, and I could benefit from assistance now and then. Nowhere has this lesson been more painfully obvious than during these formative early months of my journey into writing.
Navigating through the rough seas of marketing has been deflating. Marketing is like an obsessive magnet attracting copious amounts of time and energy away from writing.
I’m still working on finding a sustainable balance between the two objectives. A balance that allows me to earn a few dollars and still have time for a life outside of Medium.
Followers, Claps, Curators, and Publications
Attaining followers, claps and curator attention is like trying to corral a room full of kittens. Attention spans are short and easily diverted by the volume of voices vying to be noticed.
The benefit of writing for publications was illusive to me as well. Article after article told me that publications are a rite of passage to success.
My stats spoke a different tale.
For me, writing for publications was like dating. Sometimes it didn’t work out. You wished them the best and moved on.
Dollars and Cents
Earning money on Medium is a common area of contention for writers on this platform. Compensation is a bit of a roller coaster ride with ups and downs and unexpected twists and turns.
The good news is that I am not alone on the roller coaster ride.
The bad news is that the Medium algorithm is beyond average human comprehension. Let me explain.
Quantifying views, reads, claps, highlights and responses into a mathematical equation and translating that equation into a computer language that analyzes the data and distributes income to an extraordinary volume of writers is an impressive, albeit not perfect, work of analytical art.
Unless you are a mathematical genius and a gifted software developer, you should not waste your time worrying or ranting about the elusive algorithm.
Medium is a great place for a writing infant to learn and grow, but it will not be a high earning platform for the majority of its writers. Period.
It’s like little league baseball. Only a tiny few will advance to the big leagues while the rest of us are just getting some life lessons and healthy exercise.
The Value of Medium
So, why do I continue writing for Medium when I could earn more per hour preparing tax returns, cleaning houses, working retail, flipping burgers or just about anything else?
You have to start somewhere, and Medium is a good place to start. The sense of community within Medium has value beyond dollars and cents.
Chris Thompson’s sincere comments remind me of how small minded I can be sometimes. A special thanks to Chris for helping me look beyond my own perspectives to see the world in a different way.
My journey has not been all roses and sunshine, void of ugly drama. My writing did lead to a Facebook encounter in which I was referred to as a self-righteous person completely lacking in integrity.
These accusations gave me pause to think about the power of words being unleashed upon clicking the submit button. Perhaps I should be scared of that submit button.
The conclusion of my contemplation is that I don’t think any of us are completely without self-righteous thoughts or always living by the highest moral standards. Feeling pride in accomplishing goals and being self-righteous about your achievements have a lot in common.
Bravery would be conquering nothing without fear. Sadness brings more appreciation to joy. Compassion can squelch the fire of anger. There are two sides to every coin. Some will find inspiration in my words while others are angered by the recognition of their own shortcomings within my prose.
Medium is the perfect place for me to learn the ins and outs of writing, develop my voice and build a tougher skin to accept constructive criticism. For me, and many other writers, the real value of Medium lies not in a bank account.
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