Lessons From Writing 22 Articles in December
and what comes next
30 day challenges… love them or hate them, they teach you a lot. I originally tried to go for a 30 day- 30 Medium stories- 30 publications in July. I came up short by 8. By the end, I didn’t want to write for the publications I had left with the content I wanted to write. It wasn’t a fit. Having “failed”, I wanted to retry in December. I again produced 22 Medium stories. However, I’ve learned a few things from the experience.
You Will Find Your Publications
What do you enjoy writing? Poetry, short-form, essays, or articles? Maybe a mix. I spent time in December pitching articles to the same publications. I experimented with a few that I think my style fits well into. By trying the same publications a few times, I got a better feel for both working with the editors and how my work is received there. It gives you a good feel for the community of writers, especially when you choose to read and interact with others’ work. I have my list of publications for when I write poetry and short-form and I will continue to work with them.
Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things
Write different stories. Try different publications. Challenge yourself to tap into a whole different topic that you’ve never tried before.
One of my favorite things that I did during a 30-day challenge was to write about the Renaissance’s most successful killer. It was not at all what readers of my work expect. However, it was a lot of fun looking at different sources and figuring out how to piece that type of article together. It’s something I haven’t done since, even though the idea of mixing history and crime keeps coming back to me. Plus, there’s a book that came in of 2021 that is historical fiction and matches the story that I wrote. I can’t wait to pick it up.
The secret to finding what you enjoy writing about and which publications you enjoy is to try different things. You can do it at a pace that feels comfortable for you. You don’t have to challenge yourself to join and publish with 30 different publications in a month. Maybe try 3–4 and see what happens.
You also don’t have to narrow down your topics. Allow yourself to do something that is out of the box. Allow yourself to try all the topics you might be interested in. In the example above, crime writing was way outside of my comfort zone, but I enjoyed it.
Remember that Publications Take Time to Publish Articles
I had an article that I wrote at the very beginning of December published today. It was an article that I thought would have been better at the beginning of December as it is about January 1st being arbitrary. However, the editor sent me a really sweet note apologizing that it was late in publishing and the reason why. I still think that it will be valuable for someone coming across it later in the year.
Publications are usually run by a small crew of people. They all have lives, and get sick, just like we do. No editor owes you or me anything. I have nothing but the utmost respect for those who choose to include my articles in their publications.
You may have to wait longer than you’d like for a story to be published. There is no way to control it and sending pressuring notes only makes you look bad. So, if you’re looking at a time-based challenge, you have two options:
- Batch create a few articles. Submit your work. If it doesn’t get published, refer back to another article. Self publish.
- Accept that some of the articles you submit may be accepted or rejected after the fact.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up… Even if the Outcome Isn’t What You Wanted
Would I have loved to actually get the 30 articles in a month done? Heck yes. However, I’m okay with 22 articles because, for me, it’s more of a learning process. It’s a chance to learn what works, where I want to be involved, and what I love.
There is no point in beating yourself up about results. As long as you give it your best effort and you learn, you’ll keep progressing. If you didn’t make it to your goal this time, there’s another day starting today. Get back on the horse and finish strong.
What comes next?
Reflection is perhaps the most important part of the process. Look at the wins, and losses. Feel free to look at your stats, and earnings, but also look beyond that. Did you do something this month you haven’t before that you want to do again? Did you find a publication that inspires you that you know you want to write more for? Did you try something that didn’t work for you? How will you change that in the future?
What’s next for me after this month? I’m scared to admit it because I’ve tried it before and failed. Hell, I might fail a few days when I try it now. However, my goal is to write something on Medium each day in 2022. Whether that is as small as a haiku or as long as a 10-minute article. That’s the plan, write every day.
As a small note, I do plan to work with publications. I realize that some of my articles may not come out the day I write them. A few may appear on the same day. That’s okay with me. As long as I know that I’m doing the work I need to do behind the scenes.
Thank you for reading my work today. I appreciate the time.