We all are at a different point in our writing journey.
Some of you recently joined Medium, even though you’ve been writing for years. You are about to find out the joys of writing whatever you want. You can write for the fun of it, or make money when people read and clap.
Whatever your reasons, you will find out very soon that writing with the Medium audience in mind is a very different ballgame.
When I joined in September 2018, I thought the years I spent blogging, journaling, freelancing, and ghostwriting would be enough to ensure that I would be an overnight success.
Whether I was naïve or had a big ego is in question. But I soon realized for me to make an impact, I would have to relearn everything I knew about what an audience wants. I had to figure out how to appeal to everyone who reads on Medium and make them want to come back and read more.
I hope you’ve figured this out in the beginning and didn’t spend months spinning your wheels wondering what you were doing wrong. Hopefully, you haven’t wasted precious time doing things that won’t get you anywhere but down — wondering why you aren’t getting more traction.
Are you at the beginning?
You are very lucky if you are reading this at the beginning of your path on Medium. You might have ideas about what you should do to be successful — but don’t get ahead of yourself! Spend the majority of your time reading the work of the people who are killing it on Medium.
You should read Jessica Wildfire, Shannon Ashley, Ayodeji Awosika, August Birch, Zulie Rane, Shaunta Grimes, and my new favorite, Brian Rowe. All write about writing on Medium, and you would be doing yourself a favor if you read through their archives.
Your next step is to stop overthinking about what you’ve learned and start writing. Be honest and put your heart in it. It doesn’t matter if you have doubts about well you actually write — just do it.
Imposter syndrome is likely to follow you everywhere, but the best advice is to ignore the little voice in your head and type your words.
After you have written on several subjects, you will begin to see clear winners in your stats. You will also get a better idea of what topics fuel your passion and creativity. Write what you love! If you write only for reads and claps and hate it, the audience will know on some level that you dislike what you are doing.
The Medium audience is a sophisticated one because most of them are writers like you. Most of them either are going through or have gone through what you are at this exact moment.
Write with all your love. Craft your words with passion. Create knowing you love every moment that your fingers tap the keyboard.
If you pour everything into your work, you will write great pieces.
What if you can’t get traction?
I spent my first few months spinning my gears wondering what I was doing wrong.
Are you wondering why you aren’t getting curated? Are readers not finding you and clapping? Are people not engaging with you and your work?
Get out of the mud! Take a step back and analyze what you’re doing. Figure out what the people who are making thousands on Medium are doing that you are not. Be honest with yourself!
I had to admit that my writing wasn’t very good. I was writing for myself — from my point of view. I didn’t keep in mind that I needed to fulfill the wants and needs of my readers if I wanted them to come back again and again.
I was doing what I thought would make me a success, not what I knew would make me a household name. I knew what I had to do, but I let my ego do the talking. I had to silence that guy before I could move on.
Once you know what you have to do, dive back in and do what it takes. Put yourself in your writing, but never forget what the readers want.
We will all get there!
No matter where in the journey you are, know that if you do the work, you will be a success. If you read the stories of the frontrunners on Medium, you will find out that they silenced the inner critic and wrote as much as they could. They were prolific but always kept quality at the forefront.
Borrow the tactics of the successful. Steal them! It’s great to be unique, but you don’t always have to be a trailblazer.
Put all your passion and creativity in your work. Create at the moment. You don’t always have to think about what comes next (although some fiction writers will disagree with me).
Your best work will happen if you let go of your preconceived notions and write with your heart.