I still remember how I felt the first time I found Medium
“Seriously? Anyone can write about anything on this platform that has a Domain Authority of 96?”
It means whatever you write is very likely to appear on the first page of Google Search!
“What? You can even earn some USD here by just sharing your story?”
You don’t have to be a professional writer. It’s OK if you are a non-native English speaker. As long as you have a story to tell and some members read it, you get paid! That’s insane!
I was amazed, hopeful and readied to fly with the Medium rocket. I started reading How-To’s article on writing and being successful on Medium. Of all the “tactics”, nothing seems promising and practical except this one —
“Write every day.”
It’s mentioned in most of the articles and it just makes so much sense! By writing every day, you produce more articles and probably more curation and exposure. Most importantly, you become a better writer by practicing writing every day.
I kept nodding my head while reading the benefits of writing daily. This seems to be a success-guaranteed way. All it takes is “just” hard work and perseverance. If I did it, then I can make Medium my full-time job and I can work anywhere in the world!
My heart was on fire. I became passionate, energetic and wanted to wake up every morning to start writing. I started setting goals. “I want to start a 30-days-writing-challenge! I want to write 365 articles this year!” All the positivity and energies keep flowing into my mind.
“ Write when you are sad. Write when you are happy. Write even if you are sick. Nothing should stop you from writing. The sky is falling? Write about it!” They said.
Spoiler alert: I failed my 30-days-challenge on my second week.
1. It’s Not Enjoyable
My writing journey here begins with passion. I want to share my story, and possibly make some money out of it. To be honest, I didn’t have much expectation in the beginning. English is my third language after all. I wasn’t confident at all.
Surprisingly, the Medium community is extremely supportive. The writers love to help each other out. My first article was accepted into a huge publication. Positive comments started seeping in.
“Your article is so helpful!”
“Thanks for writing such an inspiring story!”
“I love reading your article!”
I was so touched. People enjoyed and appreciated my article. I never expected this kind of response. I never thought I could inspire someone. Who am I? I’m just a graduate who quit her first job in 2 months and not knowing what to do next.
Then, my articles were curated, once, twice, thrice and more. I was over the moon! It proves my writing has achieved a certain standard. I was accepted and recognized by others!
I wanted to write more! I want to inspire and help more people!
But soon, I started running out of topics. I don’t have a story to tell anymore. At least, not one that I felt extraordinary. I’m not an entrepreneur who owns a million-dollar business. I’m not a single mother who overcame hardship in her life. I wasn’t abused. I don’t write about sex. I don’t have skills that I could teach or share. There weren’t many ups and downs in my life.
However, in order to write daily, I started writing for the sake of writing. Usually, I will think of a title and start researching thoroughly on the topic. After spending half-a-day reading, I will start to summarize the articles by listing out the important points. The next process will be elaborating it my own way and editing. The result is what they called — listicles. And yeah, listicles are said to perform well on Medium.
For me, researching is boring and time-consuming. I’m not the kind of genius who can write 2–3 articles per day. I take me 1–2 full days to produce an article that I’m satisfied with. I felt like a scientist who’s trying to churn out a review paper. I write about what others had said or done. It’s not something about me. And I don’t find passion in doing something that has nothing to do with myself.
Writing has since become a daunting task for me. I had to force myself to sit down and write like a kid who was forced to do his homework. I could hardly focus. Worst still, I’m not a disciplined person. Even the boring advertisement on TV that I’ve watched for hundred times has now become interesting to me.
Every day I ask myself “ What can I write on Medium today?”
Wherever I go, I start observing things around me and ask myself “can I write about this?”
“What more can I add to my article?” was repeating in my mind no matter I’m walking, eating or driving.
It can be stressful. And I somehow felt like I was living for Medium.
2. It’s Not Necessary
After 2 months of writing on Medium, I realized publishing every day will not bring me significantly more views compared to publishing every 2–3 days. In fact, when you publish too frequently, your old articles get buried quickly and your average view will decrease. Curation, publication, and marketing seem to play a more important role in getting views.
Curation means quality. Even if your article is top, you might not get curated. But if your article is curated, it means it does achieve a certain standard. For me, it takes an average of 2 days to produce a good article that satisfies my own standard. Writing daily means sacrificing quality and less likely for curation. Eventually, fewer views. But, if you are a fast or professional writer who can produce top-notch articles in no time, why not?
Publications are essential for beginners who wish to reach a wider audience. Try to self-publish blindly without any follower, Medium will show you no mercy. You are extremely lucky if you get more than 20 internal views. I’ve seen so many accounts that self-publish high-quality content every day but getting no claps. They deserved so much better.
Some say publishing is 80% marketing and 20% writing. I hate to agree. Publishing via a publication is one way to market your content. Sharing your content outside Medium is another. All of my best-performing articles are those which I spent more time marketing them via Facebook groups.
Now, I choose to spend a few minutes to market my same piece for 2–3days instead of killing my brain cells to churn out an article a day and marketing a new piece every day.
All in all, I felt writing every day is unnecessary. Publishing every 2–3 days works best for me. And while I’m not writing, I’ll spend a few minutes per day to market my old articles.
3. It’s Risky
Medium is the only platform where I write. It was my dream to become a full-time Medium writer. But it’s dangerous. With Medium’s ever-changing algorithm and system, nothing is certain. Every day, there are writers who complain about curation and bugs. But all we can do is to be prepared for unexpected changes, complaining doesn’t help.
What if one day Medium pulls the plug and the site is gone? If you are a professional writer, you could easily start your career elsewhere. Still, it takes time to build up your profile. So, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, diversify your income and prepare for the worst.
4. I Was Taxed 30%
Starting this year, my Medium Partner Program payments are subject to an international tax of 30% as my country Malaysia doesn’t have any treaty deals with the United States. This makes my Medium dream even harder to achieve. To be exact, 30% harder.
5. I’m Happier
Burnout is real. By not writing every day, I’ve taken the pressure off myself.
I stopped asking myself,
“ What can I write on Medium today?”
Instead, when an idea strikes me, I say,
“ Hey, I can write about this on Medium!”
It’s a totally different feeling. I stopped writing for money. I write to share, inspire and help. I stopped refreshing my Medium stats every few hours. I’m glad enough when I earned back my $5 subscription fee.
Now, I’m writing from my heart of my own free will. I spend more time doing what I enjoy and diversifying my income.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking you to stop writing every day. If you are capable to do it, why not? And if you are pursuing writing as your career, you should definitely practice writing every day. Good luck!
My Weird Writing Habit That Motivates Me to Wake Up Every Morning
No more struggling to get out of the bed.
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