How New Writers Can Start Earning Money On Medium
Down-to-Earth advice from a Medium newbie
When I see an article announcing how someone made $1,000 writing on Medium in one month (or one week), I’m excited to read exactly how they did it. Like, my perfectionist self wants a step-by-step, colour-coded outline of every action, every keystroke typed, every little thing that can give me an insight into their process.
Of course, I want that to happen to me! The thing is, those articles usually come down to one thing: hard work.
This article isn’t going to give you the secret formula to success. I’m not going to promise how to make $1,000 a week on Medium, because:
(a) I’m not making that kind of money, and
(b) Every person is successful in their own way.
You can’t copy someone else’s success, but you can learn from it.
For writers new to Medium and who want to know how to get started on that journey to earning money from your online writing, keep reading.
I’ve been writing on Medium for almost four months, so I’m still a newbie on this platform. Before writing on Medium, I sold educational books to schools, and before that I was a high school English teacher in Australia and China. I’ve always loved writing.
When I discovered Medium I didn’t think I could write articles for it. Not because I didn’t think I had the ability. I didn’t believe in myself as a writer. I was scared people wouldn’t like my writing. The fear stopped me from trying at first.
Living with fear stops us taking risks, and if you don’t go out on the branch, you’re never going to get the best fruit
While that kind of money won’t pay the bills it’s a steady start and with a bit of hard work, I know I can improve.
In my third month I made $25.60, which isn’t a huge increase from my previous month, but it’s still early days of figuring out how this whole Medium platform works. (Will I ever figure it all out?)
What I have figured out are tips that helped me to start earning money. I’ve gathered these tips from successful Medium writers as well as what’s worked (or hasn’t worked) for me. Here they are:
Write every single day
I made a bet with myself in my third month writing on Medium that I would publish at least one article a day. Unfortunately, there were too many days that my home life took over and I didn’t win that bet.
I could’ve tried harder and published one article a day, or more. I chose not to, and I’m okay with that. But my income is a result of that effort.
If you look at how many articles established writers on Medium publish each day, it’s usually more than one.
In fact, it’s more like 3–4 articles a day. But the kicker is they’re all quality articles.
Each article is researched, edited and then edited again before the publish button is pressed.
Even if you don’t want (or don’t have time) to publish an article a day, it’s important to write every day. Write whatever comes to your head. Write what happened during your day. Write your novel. Write what you’re scared of. Write your deepest, darkest secrets.
It sounds simple but when I say write every day I don’t mean to publish an article every single day. It’s important to simply write.
Publish quality articles on topics that mean something to you
It’s easy to get caught in the hype of a topic and then hastily write an article about it. I’ve done it and I’m not particularly proud of it.
If you’re not familiar with a topic then do some research.
I’m not afraid to admit I love research. I did my Masters in Educational Research and find the whole research process fascinating.
If you’re not a research fan, that’s fine. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try something new. I did, and here’s how that turned out. (Just a hint, it was a flop, but it was fun.)
Write about different topics that interest you, even if you’re not an expert. I love writing about Medium, but I’m not going to start writing about how to make thousands of dollars when I clearly don’t have that kind of experience. (At least not yet!)
The topics I feel I have the most experience in are parenting and writing about my journey as a writer.
When I write about these topics I find it easier to write. The words flow and hopefully they resonate with my readers because the writing is honest and authentic.
They’re also the ones that seem to get curated by Medium.
Be aware that articles about Medium itself (such as how to make money writing on Medium or how much money you made from Medium, like this one) usually won’t get curated as they go against Medium’s curation guidelines.
It’s a good idea to get familiar with Medium’s Curation Guidelines if you want your work to be curated (and you do want that because more people will read it).
There are lots of helpful articles to teach you exactly how to format your article, where to publish and how to get your article to best succeed on Medium, such as Chris Sowers’s article on establishing a presence on Medium.
Find your writing voice
My writing voice is an extension of me on the page. It’s my perfectionist, optimistic, casual self.
Finding your writing voice is essential if you want your words to resonate with your readers.
Finding your writing voice means finding the connection between your thoughts and your words in a way that puts you on the page.
Established writers connect effectively to their readers with their writing voice. Sure, their experience and content are also part of that connection, but ultimately it’s how that content is conveyed that creates an immediate connection.
Your writing voice doesn’t have to copy the exact way you speak, but it should be some part of you, even if it’s just the funny, witty, clever part of you.
The bottom line why established writers are earning thousands of dollars each month (or week) on Medium is because they never give up. It’s easy to blame everyone but yourself when things don’t turn out the way you planned.
But when it comes down to it, those who succeed are there because they never gave up on their dream. It may have taken established writers years to get where they are, but all we see is the point where they’ve got thousands of followers and they’re living our dream.
My final point then is to stay positive. After all, if writing is your passion you’re going to do it anyway, whether you’re paid for it or not.
The sweet part is when you can make an income from something you love to do. But until then, I’m going to keep writing.
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Lana Graham is Editor of Mama Write. She writes about parenting and her writing journey and lives in Sydney, Australia with her partner (her rock) and their three amazing sons. If you’d like my 3 Top Tips for being a successful new writer on Medium, then click here.