If my writing career was the new baby in 2019, then Medium surely is the high chair that my new baby, sat on to eat, to play, and occasionally to doze off in. Medium nurtured my new baby in the first year of life. I started writing on Medium in January 2019. It’s been a year. Due to writing on Medium, my new baby grew ten times faster than I expected. Now, my new baby is one chunky, energetic, bullet train running at top speed toward the next milestone.
There were so many lessons along the way. If you’ve been following my writing on Medium, then you know that I send out Medium writing tips in my weekly newsletter as well as in weekly articles on my blog.
This article is a celebration of the fact that I “dove” in headfirst into the business of writing.
I had fear. I had anxiety. I had pain. I had creative highs and creative lows.
But, in some ways, I had no choice but to make a living the best way that I know how.
I’m so glad I did it. I’m going to celebrate the fact that I took action and it paid off.
By having my career take off, I’m not talking about making six figures. I’m nowhere near that level of salary yet. But, I contribute to major publications. My work has been syndicated. I’ve sold articles to reputable publications. I’ve also completed client jobs in various freelance writing categories.
In total on Medium, I made $10,000 on Medium in 2019. But, overall, we are still living below the poverty line. We also have debts to pay.
But, I know that in 2020, things will improve and I’m excited to start this next chapter.
Although my income is very “small” compare to other well-known writers on Medium, I am grateful to be considered one of the top 10% of the writers on Medium.
Virtually all of my outside writing opportunities came from referrals from my Medium articles. I’m very grateful to this platform for exposing my writing to a much greater audience.
If you are a freelance writer and running Facebook ads, or sending cold emails to clients, consider writing every day on Medium as an alternative. I’m confident that if your writing is good, the word will get around.
Finding My Ideal Career, My Ideal Schedule, and Ideal Mix of Clients
This may sound too good to be true. But, if you never make the effort to try to achieve any of the above goals, then none of these will become a reality. In some ways, having reinvented myself numerous times allowed me to be uncompromising as far as what kind of career I wanted, what my ideal schedule would look like and what mixture of clients I’d like to have.
On the right side is the picture from my very first blog post on Medium. This is what I envisioned my writing career to be on Medium. On the left side is the picture of my writing career now.
I’m amazed at how I reconnected with my poetic self while on Medium. At the same time, I’m also amazed that I ventured into many aspects of tech writing.
It all started with listening to Medium when Top Writer statuses were dropped on to my account. As time passed, I reflected on what type of writer I wanted to be. Finally, when opportunities came my way, the picture became clear when I chose certain opportunities over others.
Most of the time, I juggled all the work along with taking care of my child. I’m the mom who slept around 5 to 6 hours a night every night, worked 7 days a week, and managed to squeeze an eight-hour workday into the early morning hours when everyone’s sleeping.
After a year, I settled on my own “perfect” schedule. This schedule allows me to work at my “intense” career while being a good mom to my son.
Understanding What I like to Write, How I like to Write it and Why.
On Medium, I can write about anything. What would you write if you had all the freedom in the world? I discovered that although I love to try new things, I love comfort, too. After one year of trying new types of writing on Medium every single week, I’ve narrowed down the topics that I will consistently write in on Medium.
If you are a new writer on Medium, I highly recommend that you use the platform to experiment.
I found out that I didn’t enjoy writing personal essays all the time. I excel in “thinking” pieces that will require me to do research.
I also found out that I’m not an elaborate writer. I don’t love flowery language as much as I thought. I’m more of a concise, minimalistic writer who likes vivid imagery, insightful analysis, impactful punchlines and an adherence to certain structures.
I’m not a seducer with language. I will never be that. However, I can inspire, inform, and entertain you with my articles.
It’s all about adhering to my personal values in my career. I’m a writer with a solid marketing mind. But, I won’t “hack” excessively. I’m not about that. Instead, I try to provide value and just hope for the best.
Celebrating Milestones While Licking My Wounds
On Medium, I managed to process many “low points” in my life as well as celebrating the “high points”. I wrote honestly about past issues with family, work, and relationships. Often, these personal essays were reflection pieces attempting to process the emotions behind the scenes.
Underneath all the claps I received for these articles was my attempt at licking my emotional wounds. Many of my poems were also inspired by some of the tragedies I’ve encountered in my life. The emotions behind the articles still linger as I re-read these articles.
They are living memorial to my experiences.
Understanding and Adhering to My Work Values, Family Values, and Life Values
It’s difficult to juggle business with family. Achieving work-life balance is no small feat. At times this year, I stretched myself to the limits when I had no choice but to focus on work because of our financial situation.
In the last few months, I have worked hard to not compromise my family life and my values too much. Many times, there are temptations. I know I could make more money if I just did XYZ.
But, XYZ means I will compromise either my family or my integrity.
In this case, you have to take a look at whether XYZ is worth the price that you pay.
Most of the time, when it comes to my family, I try to have a workaround for situations. Getting myself to a position where I don’t have to compromise family time in favor of work is the goal of my every day.
My integrity is the reason why I haven’t made more money “hacking my way” to success on Medium. It’s also the reason why my freelance work hasn’t experienced exponential growth. I’ve taken the organic growth approach to my freelance work. At times, it’s been very painful. But, I know in the long run this type of long term strategy is worth the effort.
Planning the Next Chapter
This year, I already forged ahead with many projects that I want to pursue. With more stability in my work schedule, a few big projects, and a more defined writing brand, I’m looking to delve “deeper” into subjects of interest.
Particularly, starting the Jun Wu Blog on Medium was my way of consolidating inspirational, personal writing into one place so that you can gain easy access.
In 2020, you will see a lot more synergy between my writing in various publications outside of Medium with my writing on Medium. You will also see some causes that I decide to champion.
Hopefully, you will see an “author” attached to my name at some point this year. In conjunction with that, you will see my writing in more media outlets.
Lessons I’ve Learned on Medium
In every article I’ve ever written on Medium, I try to give some tips. This one is no different.
Here’s the list of critical lessons I’ve learned on Medium. These are writing lessons that will allow you to be successful anywhere, not just on Medium.
- Establish a writing brand
- Write quality
- Write prolifically
- Experiment with your writing
- Create a well-rounded portfolio
- Align your business with your values
- Go for big dreams and don’t sweat the small stuff
- Pitch every day
- Adapt to changes
For Medium writing tips, you can check out my blog’s Medium writing section.
Do you have a goal for your writing? It doesn’t matter what it is, just take one step. If you make it a habit every day, you will have achieved a whole lot at year-end.
2020 is the start of a new decade, there’s no better time to spice up your career.