You are probably wondering why I am asking what you can do for me? I understand your confusion, since, just a few days ago, I asked you what I can do for you. Why the flip-flop?
I’m not asking for myself.
No, our audience is asking us this question every time they read our work.
It’s fine if you are like me and love to write about personal subjects. But if we want to increase our readership, there are some things we need to start doing. We need to stop making everything about ourselves. And, we need to start giving our audience a reason to come back and read more.
We need to figure out how to add value to our audience’s life!
I know it’s the reason we all love Medium. We can write about whatever we want and get paid, right? It’s not like a blog where we are stuck in a specific niche and can’t get out.
If we want to write about how our mother treated us, we can. If we want to talk about our sex life, that’s fine.
We should write to our heart’s content, but we can’t complain when nobody is reading our work. We also shouldn’t complain when we think the Medium Partner Program or the curators are screwing us.
We are all doing a great job writing. But if we want to make money from our writing, we have to start addressing everyone else’s needs as well.
If you are on Medium to write and improve your craft, write about whatever you want. I realize that not everyone has the goal of making money on Medium. But, if you want to earn when you write about personal topics, you must be solving a problem for the people who read your stories.
Why do people read your stories in the first place? They see the headline and think, “Hey, maybe this will help me?” They want you to do something to improve or enrich their lives.
It’s not selfish; it is how it is!
Think about your own reasons for reading what you do. I only read something I will relate to and will add to the conversation going on in my head. How about you?
What are your reasons?
Since I started writing on Medium, I’ve been very selfish. I’ve written about the shitty things in my life nonstop. And while it’s been therapeutic, it hasn’t helped me earn anything.
I realized that while I can address personal subjects, I always have to impart a lesson.
Shannon Ashley does a wonderful job of writing about things personal to her. But, she always answers the “What’s in it for me?” question. Do you think she would be so successful if people didn’t find her inspirational? Do you think she would be so popular if she wasn’t adding value?
Now, when I sit to write, I think of my reasons for writing and address what I can do for my reader before I begin.
Take this story you are reading, for example. I could have written about why I’m pissed of that I’m not getting curated, and why my earnings are in the toilet. I hear a lot of other people doing it, why not me? I’ve realized that what I need to do instead of complaining is change the way I write. I need to start adding value to other’s lives.
Complaining doesn’t do a goddamn thing, so I decided to write something that everyone can relate to. Yes, it’s got personal anecdotes. But, aren’t we adding to the conversation in your head? Aren’t we helping you to ask the right questions about your writing?
What are you going to do?
Get the value thing straight in your head. You can write about personal subjects, but if you want to earn, you have to add value.
But, Jason? What if I write fiction and poems? How can I add value?
I was a little tough on the value of our work as entertainment. I was going to go back and rewrite that part, but instead, I will address it now.
There are cases where the value of entertainment is greater like humor, fiction, and poetry. You add value by making people forget about their problems and live in another world for a short time. There is a lot of worth in that.
But, a lot of the content on Medium is of the nonfiction variety. It’s okay to write it, but always add value, even if it’s just a life lesson.
I know I have strong opinions. But it’s hard to see people complaining about Medium and beating themselves up all the time. They do it because they think they are doing something wrong or their writing sucks.
We will all be better of if we stop worrying if people don’t like us (curators). We also need to stop worrying if another writer is doing much better than we are.
Just write. Publish. Always improve your writing.
Make it so they can’t ignore you, and they will always come back for more!