Just over a month into my Medium membership and I feel like I’ve read it all: Articles on how to make money on Medium, on how to optimise my writing, success stories, stories of failure, and everything in between. I’ve started following writers who speak to me, who give me those “Aha!” moments that spark something in me and send me off to either write my own piece or plot and scheme in my journal. I feel like I’ve managed to grow as a writer and as a person, despite how short my time on Medium has been. But it didn’t start out this way.
Almost a year ago I took on some survival work as a content writer. I’ve always loved to write, but writing has always been relegated to a hobby, specifically to a blog read by a small handful on the infrequent occasion of a post. The world of content writing forced me to make a few adjustments, however. Whereas once I could labour over a mere matter of paragraphs, taking hours, days, sometimes weeks to formulate a thought, I was now tasked with delivering more content in a week than I had written in the previous year. It was frightening.
But all the while I continued to read. I took suggestions to heart, and developed habits, a set schedule, and daily word counts. I became, for all intents and purposes, a writer. I wrote my way out of debt, I learned a few tricks of the trade, and have been steadily working towards thriving rather than merely surviving.
But it’s not enough.
Now that I’m comfortable calling myself a writer, I want to write more than what my content manager tells me I have to. I want to write about topics that interest me, about my deeply personal experiences and the lessons they can teach. I want to publish articles that offer value, develop a following, and help me find an audience.
I want to find my voice.
But I also want to make money.
Medium’s Partner Program is unique, or at least I haven’t found anything else quite like it. Here it is, my opportunity to pour my soul onto the page and to be rewarded for my efforts. The first step in my journey to transitioning from a “gun for hire” to a “guru,” whatever either of those terms may mean. With the Medium Partner Program, I saw an opportunity to monetise my writing, and with dollar signs in my eyes I found new motivation to write. I’ll admit that I haven’t published quite as much as I would have liked to, but so far I haven’t made a dime, and it doesn’t look like I will anytime soon. And I don’t care.
To date I’ve read far more than I’ve written, and I’ve learned much about the world of writing in the process. I’ve learned that building an audience takes time, and it’s done reader by reader. I’ve learned that it’s best to target a niche, and I have yet to find mine. I’ve learned that authenticity always wins the day. I’ve learned that being passionate about writing is what will keep me writing. And I’m definitely passionate about writing.
Will I make money publishing on Medium? I don’t know. But a platform like Medium can offer something far more valuable than money. It can help me connect to people and ideas. It can help me build a portfolio of my writing which could help me find work in the future. It can help me discover if there’s any value to what I’m writing, or if not, how I can add value. It can help me discover my voice.
For the time being, I’m quite content to continue earning money through content writing. I may not always love the topics I write about, but I freelance for a good company that pays me well for my articles. A rarity, from what I’ve come to understand. Thanks to my reading I’ve discovered the importance of goals, and while life may occasionally get in the way I’d like to eventually post once a week, both on Medium and on my personal blog. As the weeks progress I hope to discover my voice, ensure there’s value to my writing, and build that much coveted audience, even if it’s one reader at a time. In the process, I plan to think less about what I’m writing, and focus on why I’m writing it. And of course, all the while I’ll be reading and growing, both as a writer and as a person. Somehow, money seems to pale in comparison.