Sometimes you just have to step away from it all
I started writing on Medium on May 22, 2020. The first story I ever wrote made $0.04. I was really excited about it. The idea of me being able to make even a penny from writing was so thrilling. But I had to remind myself that that was not the reason I wanted to start writing.
I wanted to start writing to get into the habit of it. I hope to write a few books someday and the only way to make that possible is to learn and practice how to write. I don’t know why, but I felt like Medium would be the best place for me to grow. Maybe it’s because it was the first platform I came across and I liked it. I’m simple like that, if I like the first thing that comes my way, I stick to it. I don’t bother looking for more options because more options only lead to more confusion and delay.
After my first article, I started reading other stories on Medium to see what people were writing about and what stories did well. I ended up falling into the rabbit holes of articles about how much money people were making on Medium. I must say that I fell for the glitz and glamour and wanted to join the elite group of writers that are able to repeatedly produce viral content. I wanted to write for money and prestige.
Keep in mind that I was an absolute beginner in all this, yet I was consumed by the promises in these articles. Although it was only a year ago, back then, people weren’t as transparent about their earnings and struggles as they are now. Maybe they were, but the articles I kept seeing on my feed made it seem so easy.
After my first article, I decided to emulate the writing style and content ideas of what I thought was trending at that time. I wrote three more articles. They didn’t gain any traction and I’m really glad they didn’t because they were not my voice. I had become a stranger in my words. After a few weeks of reflection, I decided to delete them and just keep my original first article. I told myself that I probably wasn’t ready to start my writing journey and I would start again when I was ready to take it more seriously.
Fast-forward to about two months ago. My mind had been filling up with ideas of stories that I would love to bring to life. I figured it was time to start writing again so that I could one day, give these words a home on paper.
I also decided I wanted to be more strategic about my Medium journey. I don’t want to get rich on here, I don’t want to write viral content. I just want a community of people that I enjoy reading their stories and who also enjoy reading mine. People that are just here to write.
I joined a newsletter on how to gain more followers on Medium and one of the points was to follow people. As basic and logical as that sounds, it honestly never crossed my mind. I knew that Medium had a followers-following concept but I never thought too much about it. I seldom noticed the numbers at the top left. That changed the game for me.
The advice was to follow at least 50 people a day. I don’t have that level of commitment and if you’re trying to build a community around you, you can’t just blindly follow people. What I did instead was find articles I really liked and go through the comments section to follow those who left comments. Then every two days before bed, I would read the articles that pop up on my feed from the people I followed. I must say that a lot of smaller writers write really well. I don’t know if it’s because they are not too worried about entertaining an audience, but it has a different feeling from reading a piece by a well-established Medium writer.
During my following spree, I came across an article that explained why it was rude for people to follow others without reading their content. You can imagine my confusion. The advice in the newsletter basically said to follow as many as you need to, and here someone is laying out a perfectly good argument against it. I felt horrible for maybe misleading people by following them but was happy with the almost 300 writers I follow. It has given me the opportunity to expand my circle and discover more writing styles.
So why did I take a break again?
One of my articles was curated and a publication reached out to me and I was published. I was ecstatic! I loved doing the research for the article and was happy it was recognized. But then I started to feel insecure and was also getting back in that whole of worrying about how much money it was going to make ($0.50). I wrote another personal piece after that and stopped writing for about two weeks (until now). I didn’t want to lose myself again. I know the recommendation is to write every day, but I knew if I continued, I would have just kept trying to chase the high of getting curated and published, instead of focusing on finding myself as a writer.
I’m back again now because I think I’ve gotten it under control. I will no longer be checking my stats every day because that’s not my goal on this platform. There’s absolutely nothing wrong in wanting to write to make the most money on Medium. You just have to understand if that’s what you really want.
Why do you write? And why do you write for the world to see?