Year One: Five Lessons from Medium

Taking Time to Reflect on the Experience… and Why I Keep Going

Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash

A year can lead to powerful destinations. It can be the time needed to experiment, see if something is really working for us and to learn, grow and change in a particular area.

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been on this platform for a year. I joined the community in March of 2019 after coming across the mention of Medium in a freelance Udemy course.

I didn’t start writing until June. I was considering freelancing and Medium seemed like a good place to hone my craft and create samples.

The past year has changed my thoughts on what it means to be a writer. It has devleoped my skill set and continues to be a big love for me.

Today, I wanted to spend time reviewing what I’ve learned in the past year and what I wish someone had told me last year.

The one area I won’t really discuss here: money. There’s plenty of articles claiming to give away the secret to making money on this platform. That’s not why I signed up and not why I stayed.

I’m grateful for the Kickstart Orange I’ve bought with my earnings each month, but I’m not rolling in the cheddar from this platform.

When I came here, I was just trying to learn to be a better writer and create some articles I was proud of. I’m still learning.

Right now, I’m working on the habits of: consistent writing, being prolific in my work and promoting my work.

There are a lot of writers who write and work patiently for over a year or two to make money on this platform. There are others who vow to keep working until they make it despite the pennies they are making right now.

There are a lot of writers who wait for over a year to make money on this platform and others who pledge they will keep going until they make it. Writing is a long game and that might mean making a small amount for a long time before hitting it big.

So, if money isn’t the main motivation, what is?

Write because it’s natural to you. Write because you have something to say. Write because the revolution in your heart won’t be silent until you give it a voice. Write because you must.

That’s the reason to write, not for money or for love. When you write for the money, you lose the joy. If you lose the joy and inspiration, you lose the desire to work which overall makes wrting seem impossible.

Beginner’s high is real. When we begin a new project, we have a lot of energy. We want to spend tons of time because this is what we want to be all about.

However, life often shows us that we don’t have as much time as we think that we do. We might plan to write on a platform 4–5 times when we first start, but how long can we keep that commitment in a world of shiny object syndrome and other demands that scream for our attention?

Sometimes choosing to commit to less allows us to write better, and to be more consistent.

Finding what is right for you will be an experiment.

I’m finding my sweet spot at 2–3 times a week. I would love to do more, however, other things in my life (full time job, being a care giver, being a girlfriend and wanting to finish reading 100 books this year) slows me down.

We have seasons full of different productivity and the tricky but important part is to find out what the best use of time during that period is and what we can ironclad commit to.

If you can only publish 2–3 times a week, make that commitment. Anything else is extra. Make those 2–3 articles really shine. Take time to create work you are proud of.

Interact and Go Beyond the FB Groups

This was a huge lesson for me. Back in December, facebook groups were bringing me a lot of traffic. However, in June of 2020, very few people find me through clap for clap platforms.

Reciprocity does the trick a lot of the time. I’ve found followers and people who read my work through choosing to interact with others.

What I’m learning is to not put all your eggs in one basket. Twitter and facebook are great for driving from social media, but so is investing the time in others. Find what works for you, but don’t limit yourself to one channel.

You won’t know what you really enjoy until you try. Experimentation leads to finding what is best for your work on this platform.

Experiment with:

  • post length
  • posting schedule
  • types of content
  • publications you want to submit to.

Also, take the chance on yourself to reach out to others and try for publications that you don’t know if you’ll be accepted to. Every no leads to a shift in focus and every yes gives you the chance to improve your work.

You won’t regret trying different things, but you will regret the fact that you never gave your ideas or goals a chance.

Here’s the question: if you weren’t ever going to make money writing would you do it?

The answer for me, and countless others is yes. We do it because it helps us relate to others. It shares our passion and viewpoint. It also helps us to meet our own minds and share our journey.

If you’re not enjoying the process of writing, maybe it’s something that you need to take a step back from and decide if it’s worth pursuing.

Also, please let yourself write the fun pieces. Go witty, sarcastic, or irony. Write poetry about your favorite city or write a piece about a real life experience as humor.

I know that I want to keep creating content for a long time to come. For right now, I’m not seeking freelancing. I’m doing this because I love the community and I love challenging myself by writing.

Year two is where I want to grow, learning marketing and becoming more consistent. Year two is where I focus more on becoming a content creator. I’m not going to push myself for daily publishing (though it might happen) because I know now that it will lead to burn out.

To everyone who has ever read my work, thank you for your time and choosing to give my work a chance. Thank you for allowing my words to influence you and especially for the kind words that you have left as a response.

Thank you to Life’s Funny, Life on Purpose, A Few Words, Brave Writer, Romance Monsters and Inspired Writer, for accepting and publishing my articles.

Thank you to so many writers on this platform who have inspired me with your beautiful work. Thank you for pouring your heart out and sharing what’s on your mind.