Why I Write
I’ve seen a lot of articles popping up about the monetary success that some writers on Medium have experienced. These stories point out key factors that can lead to thousands of viewers and, ultimately, thousands of dollars.
When I first started writing for Medium, I didn’t even know that making money was an option. I was already writing a ton for Quora which I enjoyed quite a bit and I was looking for a place to post longer articles about things I love doing. I also saw it as a deeper learning phase for these things as well. Learning through teaching.
I enjoy writing. I’m fairly good at it and it gives me an outlet for life experiences that normally don’t come up in every day conversation. It also lets me process my thoughts so I can keep moving forward in things that I love doing. Its a way to unclutter my mind to avoid writers block in real life.
Now that I’ve been somewhat successful with writing, I find myself at an impasse. Should I put more effort into writing and actually pursue it as a career? This would mean pushing out many more articles, spending time with stats and suggestions on how to succeed, and limiting my time and resources towards other projects and things I love doing.
While the idea of writing for a living seems very enticing, I can’t help but feel like doing it full time would have a counter effect of limiting my experiences that I write about in the first place. But isn’t that the ultimate goal in life? To do something that you love for a living? — I’m not so sure.
Testing The Waters
I decided to spend a week writing full time. I have no problem with self motivation and I don’t have a lack of things to write about so I fell into this role fairly easily. I found that I could write at least one article every day as well as a few rough drafts here and there for future projects. I felt like I could actually do this. I had the drive, willingness and patience.
I’m also a realist. If I’m going to pour myself into something I want to look at it from all angles and ultimately make a conscious decision that, yes, I am moving forward with this.
This is exactly how I approached learning code. I knew that it would be a monumental effort that would not afford half measures. After a month of learning, I took a weekend off to make the decision of whether or not to move forward with it. I did and three years later I’ve been able to write my own apps that I still use, land a high paying career, and start working on my own game.
Programming is one of the things I write about. The journey that led me to success, the failures that I experienced throughout and tutorials about things I’ve done with Python. Explaining yourself and writing out instructions is an amazing way to organize your thoughts and move even further into whatever you’re learning. And that’s exactly what I was doing.
So when I switched gears to ‘writing for a living’ it felt very different. I was still good at it but it didn’t feel as purposeful as it did before. Money isn’t enough to truly drive me to the level of writing that I expect from myself. The daily pressure of finishing an article felt mundane and generic.
I have plenty of publishers that cover a wide variety of topics. I used to find the act of finishing an article and submitting it to a publisher exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. But now I was just focusing on whatever comes next. Like an assembly line.
By the end of the week I started seeing myself losing that spark that drove me to write in the first place. My articles didn’t have any of me in them. They were boilerplate stories based on whatever topic I had chosen. And while they were getting picked up by publishers and sometimes curated as well, I wasn’t seeing near the number of views, claps and comments that I had the pleasure of enjoying with other articles.
The act of ‘becoming a writer’ made my writing suffer. This put my goal of making a living as a writer at risk. It also diminished my enjoyment of writing in the first place. And it was taking up time I usually spent working on code and music. Which are both things I enjoy writing about.
When the next week started I found myself putting off writing. I had many rough drafts about lots of topics that I could easily jump into and finish so it wasn’t writers block that slowed my progress. I simply wasn’t getting anything out of my writing and I didn’t feel like anyone reading it would get anything out of it either. This was a problem.
Where I’m At Now
One of the reasons I wrote this article was to get back to what I love about writing. I wanted to write something truthful and meaningful to what was going in my life. I also wanted to gather my thoughts about how I feel moving forward.
For now I’m going to scale back to only one article per week. I’d like to spend more time living my life and working on other projects and take the time to fully process articles instead of pushing them out daily.
About The Money
As far as money is concerned, I’d prefer not to make that my driving force. Everything I’ve loved doing in life has never been motivated by monetary gain. Even when I decided to learn code, finding a high paying job was not my ultimate goal. I simply wanted to learn code. It felt impossible and I wanted to see if I could do it. It turned out that I was really good at it and I loved doing it. I didn’t need the promise of money to drive me.
It seems naive and dis-honest to say that money doesn’t matter as long as you’re doing what you love. But when money gets in the way of being good at what you do, you’re not moving forward anyways. Success can be calculated in many other ways besides how much money you make or how much stuff you have. I truly believe this and I hope that anyone reading this can relate to what I’m talking about.
Everyone’s experience in writing is different. I’m sure there are some very talented writers who find amazing things to write about every day without losing anything in the process. I’m just not one of those writers. And that’s fine with me. I’m also a coder and a musician. I feel like I can spend equal time with all my talents so that none of them suffer.
Thanks so much for reading! If anyone has any questions or comments about writing, code, music, or my philosophy of “doing what you love because you love doing it.” please leave a comment or contact me directly at email@example.com