Am I Addicted To Writing Or To Claps?
It’s been 4 months since I walked through the pearly gates of ‘Disney Land for writers’- MEDIUM.
It’s been well ……..quite a roller coaster, actually a roller coaster that I can’t get myself off……unless there’s a power blackout!
How I Stumbled Upon MEDIUM
I am a voracious reader. Aside from books, Flip Board was my go-to place for reading articles. That’s where I read my first MEDIUM article of an author who claimed he made $75 in his first week writing.
It at once caught my attention. I had to check it out.
For words and I have always…. slow danced together.
Words Got Me ..……when I DIDN’T get me.
My Writing History.
I was a stay at home mom for a decade. I spent the last year and a half of that daily journaling my parenting lows.
The condensed version of my conundrum was that I didn’t know HOW to be a mother and I didn’t know WHY.
It was the shameful truth I hid from the world.
You can EXIST in your body for years and still NOT know who you are, still not comprehend all of your behaviors, still not know the person staring back at you in the mirror.
That’s how I felt, clueless and confused.
As my kid’s bedtime hour approached, I looked forward with veiled excitement. At the stroke of 9, I opened up my Word Document and exhaled the heavy words. I spilled out the ruins of the day.
I confessed, beat myself up and lamented over my parental inadequacies.
Words were like the vipers that swished away the heavy fog weighing me down and part by part, it revealed to me my true identity.
With each word MY reflection in the mirror started becoming more clear.
There were no claps or comments, just a silent notification from the universe telling me to NOT stop and that the truth would set me free.
It did and since then I have been hooked to the therapeutic effects of writing.
Then I got on MEDIUM.
I must confess, I was a bit overconfident in the beginning.
I had like zero followers. I wrote my first article in the night, hit ‘PUBLISH’ and went to bed with a big smile on my face, believing that by the time I woke up in the morning, my article would have gone VIRAL.
Followers would be thronging at my MEDIUM doorstep.
I had already decided that I would not jump up and down like Tom Cruise on the couch when Oprah interviewed me.
I would be composed as she read and swooned over my words.
The Wall Street Journal would fly me in to coach their writers.
Blah blah blah….
All of the above did happen ………………………………….in my dreams!
When you dream, dream BIG. Right?
My article went ANTIVIRAL with 2 measly views and my wagon came crashing down!
I slowly learned that the only way to get more eyes on my work was to increase my following.
It’s unfair and frustrating, but like it or not, it is a NUMBERS game on MEDIUM.
I have seen authors pen riveting and masterful works of writing. They moved me with the sheer power and emotion emanating from their words.
Many of those writers did get their due credit, but many DIDN’T, mostly because they didn’t have a large following.
Shouldn’t CREDIT be based solely on content and not on networking abilities or popularity?
Most Definitely, but unfortunately it doesn’t work like that.
So when in Rome, do as the ROMANS.
RUN FOR OFFICE.
Turn in to a Kardashian and promote ‘YOU’. Get your name and work out there. Add some zing to your Profile.
Make yourself MEMORABLE.
The more REAL you are, the more MEMORABLE you will be.
Another important thing- Click on that FOLLOW button.
How can people like your work, if they can’t even see it?
Here are some stats. I had to follow a whopping 7000 people to get 1000 people to follow me back. Out of those 1000 people, maybe 100 will see my story and only half of that might click on it, if the TITLE interests them.
That’s why it doesn’t JUST matter how good your writing is. It ALSO matters if there’s anyone out there who will SEE and READ your work.
I started joining publications which also helps to boost your story’s views. I average 2–3 articles a week depending on available time. Do what works for you.
It is exciting and nerve-racking each time an article of mine is going to get published. I get on the roller coaster and buckle up.
I feel like a Movie director on opening night, right before their movie premieres with butterflies fluttering in my stomach.
Will it be well received? Will it flop? Will I get trolled?
Most importantly, will I get on Oprah’s couch?
I remember one time, I wrote an article and it didn’t get any responses. I was fretting and continuously refreshing my page, checking for notifications and views.
I finally yelled at my Medium page “Clap people, why aren’t you clapping?”
My kids were there at the time. Their reactions were so spot on for their age and personalities.
My 11 year old was of course thrilled! He gave me glimpses in to the teenage years ahead with his snarky response — “See, you are such a lousy writer.”
Gee, thanks for the encouragement!
My 7 year old who has always had the spirit of a 70 year old living in him, wanted me to think practically- “You can’t expect everyone to like everything you write.”
That is so true, oh enlightened Buddha!
My 5 year old who is a bottle of honey at this age, said in her cutest little girl voice- “Don’t worry mommy, I will clap for you!” She clapped furiously with a big grin.
And with that she clapped away all my blues!
I was like a little kid waiting for her teacher to say ‘Good Job’ and clap. I must admit, the claps were exhilarating.
More than the money, the communal sharing of my untold story, the acknowledgement of my journey and the heartfelt responses were my biggest rewards.
I was on the top of the roller coaster.
I was hooked to that little notification bell and WILLED it to turn blue with my super mental powers. Didn’t work!
I read a post where Nabeel Tahir said that a simple LIKE will trigger the same feelings as Cocaine does from the sudden rush of euphoria.
Thank you Medium, you have now turned me into a raging drug addict!
It didn’t help that I was attending online college. I had to be on my computer 3–5 hours/day for the course work.
Temptation was just a click away…
When an article didn’t do well, it did hurt. I came hurtling down full speed to the bottom of the roller coaster. Failure always stings.
But, FAILURE also helped me build RESILIENCE.
You WIN some, you LOSE some, and it’s ALL OKAY because you ALWAYS learn something.
It also made me go back to the drawing board and figure out the areas that I needed to work on -Editing & Content.
EDIT EDIT EDIT is also the name of this game.
I continue editing even after my article is published because there is ALWAYS room to improve. I make sure paragraphs are no more than 2–3 lines. I keep giving my story a trim here and there until it is clean cut. Less is MORE.
CONTENT CONTENT CONTENT is the REAL name of this game.
I have to look at my article from a reader’s perspective who has limited time. If they do click on my article, I have to catch and hold their attention till the end. My WORDS have to have power.
The claps are a good gauge that tells me if my words have that HOLDING power. They quantify the quality of my work.
I might be J.K Rowling in my head, but what would Oprah REALLY think of my work?
Hey Oprah, is my work any good?
You need to have feedback, good or bad to know where you REALLY stand and take the next steps.
So in the end, I might be little of a clap addict. Chasing the claps, means I have to step up my writing. So, in turn, I have become more focused on improving my content which is a good thing.
Hopefully, in the end, it will all pay off.
It might JUST land me on Oprah’s elusive couch.
Till then, thanks for reading and please feel free to share with Oprah!