I stared at the numbers in disbelief. I refreshed the page repeatedly, hoping it was just some glitch, that the earning was just not calculated yet.
With a heavy heart, I had to accepted what was to be my new reality.
The rule changed and I suffered some losses as a result. Other than adding to complaints already mounting in the platform, there really wasn’t much I could do about my disappointment.
I started with earning $28.30 on October 2018, slowly building up to finally reached my all-time best of $410.64 on September 2019 (took me almost a year) only to have it dropped to $142.22 on November 2019. All with one change of MPP rule. The earning has never really climbed up ever since.
As with many of the writers here who have been thriving on poems and short stories, I was extremely disappointed.
But I knew I had to deal with it and move on.
I probably earn a bit more than others these days, a little under a hundred, a little more than a hundred some months. But I haven’t earned as much as I used to ever since the rule changed.
I still write poems and short stories. I write long stories/articles too but I refuse to lengthen and puff up my work only for the sake of reading time and earnings.
I say what I want to say, what I need to say and what I think needed to be said. I am here to express myself, to talk to you, to the world.
Everything else is a bonus.
I was very upset in the beginning. How could they? Don’t they know how hard I work to build my readership and learn my craft? How can they value short narratives less than the long ones?
I talked to my husband, my brother and my best friend about what happened, about my disappointment. They listened and nodded in sympathy. They knew how hard I work on my Medium.
I was angry at one point.
What the hell? A voice yelled in my head.
Oh, the unfairness of it all.
That must be how Icarus felt as he plunged into the Aegean sea.
I was mad. I was very very mad.
Until I sat down with the numbers.
And then I was ashamed for being angry.
I finally came to my senses when I sat down with the numbers.
I have forgotten the shame. The shame of being angry to a bunch of people who I have paid a total amount of $5 every month to run a platform with 30,000 writers.
All the shame came rushing back when I read a response from a writer to the Medium team regarding the latest policy change. This writer angrily demanded to be consulted with prior to any change to the platform. Under the 2 minutes Medium announcement to which this writer had responded, was a barrage of angry responses.
I feel so sorry for the Medium team.
Reading some of the responses regarding the latest policy change, one would have thought that these people are paying hundreds, thousands of dollars for the maintenance of the platform.
I was so angry when my earning was cut more than half by the policy change. I was angry only until I calculated my real loss.
Prior to joining Medium, I had never earned anything from writing, something I love doing. By the second month, I was already making enough to pay for the whole year membership. After that, everything I have earned has been a gift.
I reminded myself, Medium does not owe me anything. I pay $5 a month. That probably buys 3–4 Medium staffs a cup of coffee (depends on where you buy the coffee).
Sure, they get paid to do their job. But I am paying a meagre amount of $5.
That put me in my place right away.
I’m not saying you can’t complain. You have a right to after all.
I have no idea what’s behind the policy change. Maybe Medium is reaping benefits from it (whatever it is). Maybe it’s in our best interest (giving better chance to more writers. Here’s something to think about: how many Medium curators Medium needs to hire to eyeball all 30,000 writers’ stories?). We don’t know what happens behind the scene.
But here’s something to remember about our relationship with Medium. Emme Beckett says it best:
We are mere guests at this party. The hosts can do whatever they want. They can change the music to a slow dance melody, or bring in festive strippers.
Or, they can shut the lights and tell everyone to go home. For now, I am grateful to be on the dancefloor. Hey, macarena. . .
We are mere guests here.
It is important to understand that we have been provided a clean, beautiful platform to showcase our work, to connect and build a network.
I have been here for 2 years. Although initially I joined to see if writing is a possible career for me (I come from Asian family, writing is not a real job), my purpose being here has changed.
In the 2 years I’ve been here, I’ve made so many wonderful friends, forged so many meaningful friendships.
When I wrote and expressed my sadness, I got e-mails, messages on Facebook from my Medium friends asking if I was okay. Some of my Medium friends even periodically check in on me to see how I’m doing because many of them know my struggle. I know if I ever need help, I only need to ask, and that’s worth its weight in gold.
I have shared so many special moments here, build special bonds with people I have never even met. It wouldn’t have been possible without the existence of the platform itself, and all the people working hard to run it.
All of the things I have gained here for the price of $5 a month?
I think it’s the best deal I’ve ever made.
I suppose this is a thank you post as much as it is a ranting post.
I believe that Medium is a reasonable entity and is willing to listen (the copyright issue, for example. I thought that was insane but the issue has been rectified based on writers’ feedback).
If you have any grievances, by all means, go ahead and air it. Get it off your chest. Just remember, be nice about it because at the end of the day, Medium does not owe us anything.
This post is a part of my October’s writing challenge:
Although this post does not quite answer any question, I feel like it needs to be addressed. I suppose it could be the answer to the question: Do we have any right to yell at Medium for policy change?
If you have a burning question(s) you think I can answer (it can be about anything), feel free to pop the question(s) in the comment section below or e-mail me the question(s) at email@example.com to join in my October fun.
Thank you for reading and being a part of my journey!