I Can Write a Profitable Medium Article One-Handed

How to make the most of the Medium mobile app

Thomas Smith
Nov 16 · 5 min read
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Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

In a recent article about writing on Medium, I shared some tips for writing on the platform in order to monetize your “garbage time". Garbage time is the unproductive time we all have in our days, no matter how efficient we might be.

Did you wait in line at the bank today? Ride in an Uber? Go through a car wash? You likely had at least a few minutes of garbage time you could have monetized (by the way, I’ve written profitable Medium articles in all these places.)

One key element of monetizing garbage time is mastering the Medium mobile app. The app (especially paired with a modern smartphone) provides an easy to use palette for all your mobile content creation.

In my article, I shared that I’ve gotten so used to the mobile app that I can write an article one-handed. It’s a great skill to have if you’re using your other hand to cook, keep yourself upright on the subway, or entertain a baby.

Many people were skeptical that it’s possible to write a real article one-handed. But it’s true--you really can do it. In fact, I’m doing it right now!

Here are some tips for writing profitable articles on mobile--with one hand or two.

As you can see in the video above, writing on the Medium mobile app often means mashing the approximate letters of the word I’m looking for, and letting Autocorrect do the rest. This can work remarkably well. But you have to do a lot of “training" of your phone before it’s effective.

Autocorrect works by looking at the words you normally type, and learning about the kinds of things you tend to say. This is highly personal and unique to you. You can see this by starting to type the phrase “I went to the" and then looking at the next word that Autocorrect suggests. For me, it suggests “CCPA"--a reference to the California Consumer Privacy Act, a law that I write a lot about.

Your own suggested word is probably totally different than mine. Again, this is based on Autocorrect looking at the thousands of words you’ve typed on your phone and identifying patterns of what you personally tend to say.

But there’s a catch. The kinds of things you write on a long-form platform like Medium are totally different than what you write in emails or texts. That means that when you first start writing on the Medium mobile app, Autocorrect won’t be great at helping you type. It won’t have learned how you express yourself on a long-form platform--only how you write emails, what you typically type into text messages, etc.

Train your Autocorrect by doing a lot more writing on your phone

The solution? Train your Autocorrect by doing a lot more writing on your phone. Over time, it will learn the patterns of how you write in your Medium articles, when you’re developing long form pieces. When you mash the approximate letters of a target word, it will be much more likely to get the word right.

If you develop content on mobile as much as me, your Autocorrect will ultimately get so good that it facilitates typing one-handed.

Autocorrect can facilitate writing great stories on mobile. But it can also mangle your words in non-obvious ways. Autocorrect is tuned to provide you with a usable word, even if it’s not the correct one. Type “Honda Civix”, and your Autocorrect is likely to change it to “Honda Civil", because “civil" is a more common word than “Civic".

Autocorrect is tuned to provide you with a usable word, even if it’s not the correct one.

The problem is that these errors don’t show up on spellcheck. Civil is a really word. Honda Civil is well-formed. It’s just semantically wrong. When editing a piece you wrote on mobile, be extra aware of these non-obvious errors.

Spellcheck isn’t enough--read your mobile pieces word by word!

When I’m writing on mobile, I often tab over to a browser to find a stat or citation for a piece. I always assume that I’ll remember what I read, and be able to find it again when I sit down to edit at a real computer.

Search engines often display different results on mobile and desktop.

But often I can’t. Search engines often display different results on mobile and desktop. If I enter a query on my phone, find a great citation, and then enter the same query on my desktop later, it will usually give me totally different results.

Some websites also lock down content behind a paywall on desktop, but not on mobile. An article that loaded fine on your phone might be restricted on your desktop.

For that reason, I’ve learned to grab links and add citations as I go when I’m writing on mobile.

I’ve said this before, but I’ll repeat myself. I love to write on mobile. But I never publish there.

Medium’s mobile app is great for writing, but it lacks some features for publishing stories, like loading Unsplash photos, adding a story to a publication, etc.

It can also be challenging to edit a story effectively on mobile. You can’t run spellcheck on most mobile devices, and it’s also harder to follow links and check citations. I find that it’s helpful to write a draft on mobile, and then take 5 minutes to check it over and publish the next time I’m at a real computer.

Should you really write all your Medium articles one-handed? No. For one thing, you’ll probably give yourself carpal tunnel syndrome.

But the fact that it’s possible (and yes, I really did write this entire article one-handed) shows the power of Medium’s mobile editor--especially paired with the features of a modern smartphone (like Autocorrect).

If I can do it one handed, you can definitely do it typing normally.

If you’re skeptical that you could write a whole article on mobile, remember this: if I can do it one handed, you can definitely do it typing normally.

The next time you have a few idle minutes and a mobile phone, try writing an article. You might be surprised what you can do.

Now I’m going to go--my hand is getting tired.

Read more of my tips for Medium success at ThriveOnMedium.com

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Thomas Smith

Written by

Co-Founder & CEO of Gado Images. I write, speak and consult about tech, privacy, AI and photography. My tips for Medium success: ThriveOnMedium.com

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +733K people. Follow to join our community.

Thomas Smith

Written by

Co-Founder & CEO of Gado Images. I write, speak and consult about tech, privacy, AI and photography. My tips for Medium success: ThriveOnMedium.com

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +733K people. Follow to join our community.

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