How to Write on Medium When You Don’t Have Time

But you really want to get paid to write what you want

Cynthia Marinakos
May 26 · 6 min read

I used to go weeks without writing on Medium.

Client deadlines. Household chores. Family time. Sick kid. Sleepless nights.

With only a few hours to run a business between dropping off my child at school and picking her up, I used to feel busy. Always so busy.

There just wasn’t enough time to write more on Medium.

That was the lie I fed myself.

And then I wondered why I was only getting paid $3.04 on Medium.

Truth was, I was procrastinating. I was demotivated. My posts weren’t getting much traction. I questioned the point of it all.

I wondered if writing on Medium was really worth it. If this was what I really wanted to do.

And then I reminded myself of the incredible opportunity Medium offers: to show my work to a global audience who give me instant feedback.

Compare that to posting on my own website. I’d post on there… and then what? Who would know about it without a massive subscriber list and a tonne of followers on social? What proportion of them would leave a comment? How often would I have to promote it?

No matter what negativity you may encounter about Medium, you can’t deny that this platform offers a unique and generous opportunity to share your writing with eager readers.

For a measly $5 monthly membership fee, it’s rare to find such an open door for writers, especially new and unknown writers.

So why wasn’t I making the most of this incredible offer?

I didn’t have time, was the excuse.

Was that really true when I have as much time as everyone else in the world?

I was obviously not managing my time well. Or writing wasn’t a priority.

I realized it was both. And more. It took me ages to write. I always felt like I had to write epic posts. I put too much pressure on myself. I overwhelmed myself. I talked myself out of even starting — and took far too long to finish.

No wonder I didn’t have time for it.

I wanted to make it happen. Here are 5 ways I’ve discovered over the past 6 months to write quality posts more consistently on Medium.

It may also help you find more time in your busy life to write on Medium:

1. Don’t waste your writing time

  • Find your ideas away from your computer
  • Save your ideas (I use Google Keep)

Ideas must be ready when you sit at your computer. Otherwise, you just get sidetracked browsing, reading, banking, emailing, messaging in your brainstorming session. Don’t waste your precious writing time.


2. Train your brain

  • Get your brain used to finding writing topics
  • Give yourself social media free days
  • Stop looking at your phone when you’re with other people
  • Live consciously

Your brain won’t look for ideas unless you train it to do it outside a dedicated brainstorming session, which can be useful now and then. But you may instead find more — and better ideas pop into your mind when you’re away from your desk. When you’re living.

For instance, while stuck in a traffic jam on my way to my studio, I caught myself before getting frustrated and angry. Instead, I took a detour by the beach and put the music up a little louder to get me into a different mood.

While driving, I got the idea to write about how to get readers nodding from start to end as they do in their favorite songs. As soon as I got to my desk, the words flowed out.

Train your brain to find writing topics. Practice constantly. Consciously. You’ll be surprised at the connections you’ll make between unrelated parts of your life, and the topics you’ll come up with.


3. Write in bursts

  • At your desk, choose an idea and write a draft in your allocated time
  • Edit later in the day/night or the next day
  • Consciously set aside — and look for writing time

If you can’t spare 1 hour, give yourself 30 minutes. Can’t spare 30 minutes? Set aside 15 minutes. Look for opportunities to write.

For instance, I sometimes find myself messaging people or browsing google for an hour before bed. It’s really me just fluffing about with no purpose. But when I remember that I want to publish a post, I avoid doing that and write a draft or two instead.

Tip: When you only have a short amount of time to write, write without judgment. Know that you will ruthlessly slice your darling in your editing session.


4. Write anywhere

  • Take every opportunity to write
  • Type up a draft on your phone or write on paper
  • Use dot points if that’s easier

If you don’t feel like turning on your computer, are traveling, or away from your usual writing spot, it can be tempting to skip writing. But when you really look out for opportunities to write, you’ll get better at writing shitty first drafts anywhere.

Then when you get back to your preferred writing environment, you can polish and publish.


5. Stop chasing perfection

  • Choose progress over perfection
  • Write without judgment
  • Writing crap is better than writing nothing

I struggled with perfectionism. I was afraid to publish until I’d write everything I wanted to say, in exactly the way I wanted to write it.

I used to take weeks to publish even 1 post. I’d send it to 5 people for feedback. I’d caress, knead, chop, and polish my words until I felt they glinted in the sunlight at the precise angle I wanted.

I didn’t expect what came next.

I didn’t get the standing ovation I wanted for every post I’d loving nurtured for weeks. I didn’t get thousands of followers, claps, and comments.

Then I realized something profound: perfectionism was f*cking me up.

How could I share more often — get feedback more often — and improve my writing faster — if I took 3 weeks to publish 1 post?

I was so obsessed with quality, so blinded by perfectionism, that I was holding myself back.

I realized I needed to publish more often — and I needed to loosen my reign on perfectionism. I won’t say I’ve let it go completely. But I can say that publishing 2–3 articles a week improved the quality of my writing far more than publishing 1 article in 3 weeks.

And that means more chances to be curated by Medium. Which means more views - and more money).


How to create time to write on Medium

We can’t magically create more time to write on Medium. But what I’ve found are ways to manipulate the time I have to publish on Medium more often.

It has been a long and slow journey. I’ve been tempted to get off the Medium train a few times. But I’m always lured back by the unique opportunity this platform offers.

And I’m spurred on by the highest pay I’ve ever received in one month so far: $81.16. And this month, I’m set to exceed that: $86.03. After conversion, that is over $100 Aussie dollars.

Sure I can’t quit my day job yet. But I will have made over $200 in two months. That’s over 40 almond chai lattes. Four months of my Freshbooks accounting software. Or a pair of new rock climbing shoes to replace my broken old ones *jumping up and down in glee*.

More importantly, for the pleasure of writing whatever I want, I am grateful and excited.

What do you want?

To improve as a writer.

To connect deeply.

To be supported in a positive way.

To be paid on Medium for writing what you want.

To share your writing with a global audience who love to read.

Well, make it possible for yourself. Create time to write on Medium:

  1. Don’t waste your writing time
  2. Train your brain
  3. Write in small bursts
  4. Write anywhere
  5. Stop chasing perfection (check out the ebook:101 ways to beat perfectionism)

You won’t be noticed overnight. You might not even earn hundreds of dollars — I certainly haven’t. But with persistence, practice, and purpose, you’ll make time to write on Medium. And enjoy the many perks that come with it.

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +469K people. Follow to join our community.

Cynthia Marinakos

Written by

Aussie-based copywriter. Contributer: The Startup, The Ascent, The Writing Coop. >> Download: 101 Ways to beat perfectionism as a writer: https://bit.ly/2EedaDx

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +469K people. Follow to join our community.