Medium’s Changes Kick in Monday. Here’s a 30-Day Master Plan.

Spend the next month getting your writing business off the ground.

Shaunta Grimes
Oct 27 · 6 min read
Photo by Chase Clark on Unsplash

In the little world of Medium writers within a larger writing world, there’s this kind of manic energy right now — because Medium’s gone and changed everything up on us all of a sudden.

So, that kicks in on Monday (10/28) and then a few days later — every writer in the world kicks off the biggest writing event in the write-o-sphere. NaNoWriMo. Whew. It’s a lot.

But here’s what I think.

I think that this is a really good opportunity for us to spend some time getting our writing businesses in order. Because the changes actually highlight the importance of things like starting an email list and learning SEO and getting yourself set up for the upcoming year.

So what better time? Instead of trying to write a novel in thirty days in November (which is an iffy idea at best anyway), why not make “Build a Writing Business” your NaNoWriMo goal?

Here’s your game plan:

Make a goal to write at least one post a day. If you’re not already doing this, I think you’re going to be pleasantly surprised by the outcome. If you are already doing this: keep up the good work. Assume that every day in this plan includes write a post.

Also assume that every day includes reading. There is no better way to become a better writer than to read. In the month of November, commit to spending at least half an hour a day reading Medium posts like a writer. Read posts that are so good, you can learn something from them.

Pre-NaNo Day One:

Just writing any old post isn’t going to do you much good. You want to make sure you’re writing the right posts. Posts that will move your writing business forward. In the week leading up to NaNoWriMo, you’ll want to create an editorial plan for yourself.

Pre-NaNo Day Two:

Once you have your your editorial plan in place, look around Medium and find some successful writers who are writing in your space. Note which publications they’re writing in. Write those down, you’re going to need them later.

Read a few posts in those publications to familiarize yourself with them. Find their submission guidelines. Read some posts from those writers as well. If you search in Medium for their names, you’ll be served up their most popular posts. Take a look at those. What are readers responding to?

Pre-NaNo Day Three:

More reading. Go to the Medium homepage and click the ‘more’ tab. That will take you to Medium’s topics page.

screenshot: author

Find the topics that match your editorial plan. Read some of the top posts in those topics. Get a feel for what Medium is looking for when they curate posts. Also take a look at those publications across the top: Onezero, Elemental, Gen, etc. Those are Medium’s own publications. Do any of them fit your editorial plan? If so, read some of those posts as well. Familiarize yourself.

Pre-NaNo Days Four and Five:

Create your editorial calendar in the next two days. I’ve written posts about an analog one I use and an electronic one. I try to enjoy digital, but I’m such an analog girl. I can’t help it. You do you, though.

Here’s the exact plan I use to make sure that I never, ever run out of things to write about. It literally works like magic. I promise. Take a couple of days with this. You’ll be glad you did.

Schedule in at least one blog post every day in November.

Once you’ve got all that done, you’re ready to jump in! Take a note of some of your stats at the start of the month, so that you can see how this experiment works out. I like to keep track of how many followers I have at the start — both personally and in any publications I have.

Remember: You’re going to write at least one blog post every day in November. And you’re going to read like a writer for at least thirty minutes a day.

Week One

Focus this week on getting yourself set up.

  • Submit your work to at least one new publication a day for seven days. Your goal is to be accepted to at least three.
  • Pitch an idea for a post to one of Medium’s publications this week.
  • Sign up for my free email list building class. (It’s designed to help you with ConvertKit and has a free month built in.)DO THE WORK. It’s a 5 day class.
  • Click here to download my free ebook about blogging on Medium. Follow the directions for creating your own publication.
  • Make curation your priority this week. Join a Medium writers facebook group and ask for feedback. Read the chapter about curation in my ebook. Curation is essential. This should be your priority until you are being curated regularly.

Week Two

Focus this week on building on what you’ve started.

  • Alternate between posting in your own publication and submitting to publications you’re a writer for.
  • Continue to pitch to Medium’s own publications.
  • When you publish in your own publication, send a letter to your followers (even if you only have a couple.)
  • Read the chapter in the ebook about blogging on Medium about self-promotion and create a plan. Implement that plan this week.
  • Start to build relationships with other writers via comments and social media.
  • Write a bio for the bottom of your blog posts and include a simple call to action, inviting your readers to join your email list.

Week Three

Focus on higher level skills this week.

  • Take a look at your stats and see which posts are getting the most traction. Create an opt-in gift — often called a lead magnet — for you readers based on your findings. Growth Tools has a great free tool for that called Attract.
  • Continue to alternate between posting in your own publication and submitting to publications you’re a writer for.
  • Continue to pitch to Medium’s own publications.
  • Continue to send letters to your publication’s followers.
  • Write a simple, plain-text newsletter to your email list followers this week — even if you only have a few.
  • Start to optimize your posts with basic SEO. Here’s a post with very simple directions for how to do that.

Week Four

Start to prep for beyond NaNo

  • Create a simple twice email strategy for going forward. Take a look at some of the newsletters you really look forward to receiving (and that you utilize) and use them as guides.
  • Continue to alternate between posting in your own publication and submitting to publications you’re a writer for.
  • Continue to pitch to Medium’s own publications until you have a post that’s accepted.
  • Continue to send letters to your publication’s followers.
  • Create your editorial calendar for the upcoming month.
  • Look at your stats. Did you have any posts that missed the mark? Look for posts that were not curated, that did not get may views at all. Make note of them. You may want to revamp them and try again soon, perhaps with better titles.
  • Consider reaching out to the writers that you made the strongest connection with this month. Even a small group could make a big difference for each other. Here are some ideas for building a mastermind.

Whew! Can you imagine what a big difference a month like that could have on your writing business?

I’ve turned this post into a PDF checklist you can download and print out if you’d like. Just fill out this form and I’ll send it right to you.

Here’s my secret weapon for sticking with whatever your thing is.

Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She is an out-of-place Nevadan living in Northwestern PA with her husband, three superstar kids, two dementia patients, a good friend, Alfred the cat, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She’s on Twitter and Instagram and is the author of Viral Nation and Rebel Nation, and The Astonishing Maybe. She is the original Ninja Writer.

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Posts about productivity, business, and systems for right-brained creatives. Ideas aren’t enough. We actually have to do the things!

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The Write Brain

Posts about productivity, business, and systems for right-brained creatives. Ideas aren’t enough. We actually have to do the things!

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