3 Medium Blogging Tips That Will Eventually Save Your Story
Medium has a wealth of tips and tricks that you probably don’t know about
Like most writers, I’ve experienced the loss of a story. I was writing a story a few years back when my internet crashed. I reloaded the story, heart in my throat, only to find I’d somehow lost the entire story. Gone. Hours of work down the drain. And I couldn’t muster the energy to rewrite it.
It’s always awful when this happens — writing is tough to begin with, and it’s horrible when a technological difficulty puts yet another obstacle in your way. But luckily, writing on the internet has vastly improved since those days. And Medium has a whole host of special features to make your writing easier, safer, and prettier than ever before.
Let’s get into these three tips you might not have known about writing on Medium.
1. Revision history
AKA, how to save your story from the internet crashes.
Yesterday, the same thing happened to me — I was writing a story, pouring heart and soul into it, when due to a bug or crash, the whole thing vanished.
If you’re ever in this situation, don’t panic! Medium has a great fix for recovering lost stories: the revision history tool.
Medium saves every single change you make on your story. And you can access them by clicking the top three buttons on the top right of your story, clicking “See revision history,” and selecting the copy you want.
This will pull up tons of versions that Medium has automatically saved. Accidentally delete a paragraph? No problem: just click that version, and Medium will take you to a read-only version that you can choose to restore if needed.
Long story short, if you ever lose your draft, don’t panic and check the revision history.
2. Table of Contents
If you’re like me, you probably write shortish stories — ones between 4 to 6 minutes in read-time.
However, like me, you too might one day venture beyond that into a monolithic piece of work that spans thousands of words and into the tens of minutes of read-time.
And when you do that, you’ll want to let your story put its best foot forward. Rather than dumping this colossal work of writing upon your readers with no guidance, give them a map to navigate these enormous waters.
Give them a table of contents. This is how you do it.
First, decide what you want your sections to be. Make them headings or subheadings.
Then, go to where you want your Table of Contents to begin, and put three backticks:
Putting ` ` ` three tips together gives you this nice block.
Title your Table of Contents, and start numbering.
Table of Contents
1. Your first section
2. Your second section
3. Your third section
Now comes the slightly technical part. Go to the very first heading you want to link to, and right-click it. In the options, you’ll want to select “inspect.”
This will pull up your dev tools. Closely look at the highlighted section in it, and you’ll see something like:
<h3 name="666f" class="graf graf--h3 graf-after--p">2. Table of Contents</h3>
It’s that h3 name part we’re interested in. What you can do is go back to your table of contents, and hyperlink that first section. But instead of adding a link, you write #666f, or whatever your h3 name is.
This hyperlink will take you readers to that part of the story.
When they click on that link, they’ll be taken straight to that part of the story. This is hugely helpful for turning a huge block of text into a useful, navigable document your readers will bookmark and keep coming back to.
3. Embedding links
Finally, let’s talk about embedding links. Lots of people have seen these in stories on Medium, but this is one of my most frequently asked questions. How can you get that lovely, in-line block with a story in it?
Like with most things on Medium, creating an in-line link block is easier than you think. Just take any link you like, paste it onto the page, and hit enter.
Not only does this work wonders when recommending most of your stories to potentially interested readers, but it works with links outside of Medium, too, like Google above.
Now, there’s some discussion around conventions. Medium prides itself on being an ad-free space, and creating these in-line blocks does distract the reader from your story. At best, it’s perhaps irritating. At worst, it might cause your reader to leave your story halfway through to the in-line block story.
So what I recommend doing is using the hyperlink functionality when linking to stories throughout yours, but feel free to add these in-line blocks at the end of your story, when the reader’s finished and might be looking for more related stories to read.
Medium is one of the best interfaces for blogging I’ve ever encountered. The tools to create a beautiful, simple story are in your hands. The most important thing is to learn how to use them.
An online magazine about the art, craft, and business of storytelling, STORIUS is a publication for everyone interested in how stories are created, discovered, distributed, and consumed.