6 Lessons Learned From My First Month of Writing on Medium
I learned more in one month than two years of college media classes.
A month ago yesterday was the one month mark of me joining the partner program on Medium. Despite I’m still at the very beginning of my writing career, I have learned an immense amount about my work ethic and the platform that is Medium.
Therefore, I wanted to share the things I learned in my first month of writing on Medium that I want to pass on to fellow new writers.
1. The Stakes Are Not As High As You Think
When I first started writing on Medium, I immediately felt intimidated by the amount of good quality writing and innovative ideas on the platform. I thought in order to make any sort of traction or get curated, I would have to be the next Shakespeare or Stephen King. However, that is so far from the actual reality.
My very first article was something I simply wanted to share my thoughts on that I thought other people would find value in (it was a list of movies I want to show my future teenage children someday). I spent two days outlining, writing, and editing the piece. Once it was published it ended up being curated within nine hours.
I was so excited, yet I realized I was worried for no reason. I always thought I had to go way above and beyond the community guidelines to get a story featured. And while that is something I still strive for, it’s not as dire as I originally thought it was.
2. Anything Can Be Turned Into a Story If You’re Open Minded
After I wrote all of the stories that had been building up in my mind prior to starting, I was worried I would no longer have good ideas of things to write about. However, after spending a good chunk of this month reading all different kinds of work, experimenting with headlines, and writing freestyle, anything can be made into a good story in theory.
Having trouble with coming up with things to write? Write an article about a strategy where you can never run out of ideas. In a fight with your significant other? Write a brief how-to on how to smooth things out and communicate better. Having trouble concentrating? Write an analysis on the possible causes.
You can turn anything and everything that happens in your day to day life into an article or a story. As a matter of fact, the most mundane and small occurrences can become incredible and insightful content for you audience.
3. Having a Large Number of Followers Doesn’t Matter as Much
Unlike other public platforms, you are still able to write widespread stories that do well without having much of a following. When it comes to social media such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, whenever you post something to your profile, the only people who really see it is your followers/friends/etc. and no one outside of that network.
On the other hand, when it comes to Medium, you are just as capable of being featured on the homepage as the most followed account on Medium. Everything comes down to the content you write and quality of it. A profile could have 100,000 followers, but if they publish a shallow, dull piece to the platform, it’s not going to be featured to the outside masses.
Knowing how this system operates on Medium has made me feel much more optimistic about my progress and motivates me to keep writing. I don’t feel held back for only having a small number of followers like I would elsewhere on the internet.
4. Authenticity is Everything
Aside from Medium, the other website I spend the most amount of time on in my down time is YouTube. As the years have progressed, many content creators on YouTube use clickbait titles and misleading thumbnails to get as many clicks and views as they can. However, Medium is different.
Medium doesn't reward writers for just views or how many people click on your story. Rather, they reward you based on how people engage with your stories. Therefore, you always want to make sure to write a headline and include pictures in your stories that are not only interesting to pull people in, but they should actually be authentic.
Misleading your audience is just going to disappoint and frustrate them. Therefore, it is important to write stories people will not only want to read, but leave them with something to take out of it. This could include a lesson, an answer to a question, or some level of support. You have to be honest about what you’re delivering to your audience, or else you won’t have one.
5. The Money Doesn’t Come Overnight
I already was under the assumption that writing for Medium wasn’t going to be a quick or easy way to make money online. However, I did get that confirmation once I started diving into my work and getting a fair amount of reads on some of my stories.
Like anything else online, such as recording a podcast, writing blog posts and articles, or making YouTube videos, you are only going to see real financial results from months (maybe years) of having grit and patience. However, 99.9% of writers on Medium are here because they have a passion for writing (including myself). This tip is just to rule out all of the potential users who are thinking that writing for Medium is an easy way to make some quick money. News Flash About Life: There is no legal way to easily make some quick money.
6. Medium is The First Step to Something Bigger
In just the span of the month, I have started practicing several skills I hope to use in my future careers and jobs. From learning how to market myself and my work, to pitching to publications, to collaborating with other writers, there is truly so many things I have learned from writing on this platform I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.
While I don’t see an end date anytime soon of me writing on Medium, I know the skills I’ve learned here I can use to dip my hand in some more cookie jars. Writing is a very versatile skill that can be used for future freelancing, company projects, or whatever endeavors come my way.
I’m currently a junior in college studying media communications, and the amount I’ve learned from writing on Medium goes even beyond the points I listed. Not only have I learned a lot, but I also completely enjoy what I’m doing. I’m hoping for all of the other new writers who come across this have the same enthusiasm I do after the first month, and hope that it leads to us all having fulfilling and successful careers.
That is, fulfilling and successful careers filled with lots and lots of words.