The 3 Key Takeaways Learned After One Month on Medium
Every twist and turn provides an opportunity to learn.
I’ve only been writing on Medium for just over one month. The first time I’ve ever taken writing seriously. I don’t see myself as a natural writer. I’ve always been creatively minded. Tending towards photography over the printed word. It was only after the suggestion from a counselor and discovering the benefits of writing a journal, that I discovered Medium.
At the time of writing this article, I’ve published four articles and waiting for the acceptance of a fifth. This isn’t an enormous amount by any stretch of the imagination. I also know this amount won’t cut it if I want to ‘make it’ on Medium. Having said that, the amount I’ve learned has been phenomenal.
I haven’t earned the right to preach about what I don’t know or have experience with. Writing is new for me, but every day is like a little adventure. If you work your way down to the Conclusion, you’ll see a list of the people that have given me much inspiration. Some are big hitters. Others, not so much. All have provided powerful insight and pushed me forward. I thank you all.
Strive for mastery, not perfection
Perfection doesn’t exist. Striving for perfection limits both creativity and productivity. In Ann Lamott’s book Bird by Bird, she described perfection as “the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people.” That might be an over-exaggeration. But approaching any kind of writing endeavor, especially as a beginner, can make you feel overwrought with fear of failure. Trying to write a flawless piece can strip away your creative imagination, allowing your writing and enjoyment to suffer in the long run.
I’ve already encountered a need to write perfection. It stemmed from an initial desire to be accepted, to have my work published. I also found that I was comparing myself to more successful authors. Deep down, I know that’s a self-destructive attitude to have. Going forward, I want to find my own writing voice, reading about what readers are enjoying about my work, and taking inspiration from my peers.
1. Do not strive for perfection. It doesn’t exist. Strive for mastery instead, allowing you to explore your own creative boundaries.
2. Find your own writing voice by allowing your creativity to come to the fore.
3. Learn to love your writing and yourself instead of focusing on producing the perfect piece. Embrace the creative process.
We can define commitment as a promise or firm decision to do something. Committing to something shows that you believe in what you are doing. That you are willing to give your time and energy for your greater good.
Commitment in writing doesn’t necessarily mean publishing articles for the sake of it. It means showing dedication to a cause and allowing yourself the opportunity to learn and move forward more positively. Commitment can be demonstrated by setting daily goals. Examples can be reading 5 articles every day to gain an insight into the subject, style, and quality of their author's work. It can also be commenting on 5 posts in a way that reaffirms your engagement with the author.
We cannot underestimate the importance of writing daily. It doesn’t matter if it’s for two hours or 10 minutes. Just the act of applying yourself to your writing practice shows commitment and a willingness to learn. It’s also about forming a habit and infusing your writing into the fabric of your daily routine.
1. Formulate a plan. What do you want to achieve? Make them SMART goals.
2. Write or work on your craft daily. Form a habit, whether it’s 10 minutes or two hours.
3. Reach out to other authors. Read and comment on their work. Make it part of your process.
Always moving forward
I love getting things wrong. That’s because I always love learning from my mistakes. I’m always looking for ways to improve. The value of failing, as long as you’re failing fast, has its roots in Agile methodology. The objective is that you make small iterative changes so that if you get things wrong; you get them wrong early. You make changes and move forward to succeed.
As a beginner writer, I’m making a lot of mistakes. Whether it’s submitting work that is of inferior quality. Not taking advantage of publications to maximize my audience reach or learning the Medium distribution guidelines.
Every time I write an article, I make one change in the way it's received. This goes some way to testing whether that one change has made an impact on the response I receive. I iterate and move forward. There are more practical changes I’ve made. I use an article template so I already know key points before I even start writing. I submit to publications that complement the subject of the article I’m writing. The next change I need to make is making sure my Medium profile is up to date.
1. Formulate a plan. What do you want to achieve, and when do you want to achieve them? Make them SMART goals.
2. Look for publications to contribute to. Whether they have a large or small audience. They provide valuable insight into how your interests align with your audience. You also have the opportunity to reach a far greater audience.
3. Make small incremental changes. Take pride in your mistakes. Learn from them and move forward.
Standing on the shoulders of giants
Over the last couple of months, I’ve spent more time reading other author’s work. Drawing inspiration and getting a sense of what makes Medium tick. Here are some of the authors (in no particular order) I’ve had the absolute pleasure of taking advice and inspiration from. I thank you.
Michelle Loucadoux, MBA
It remains to be seen where the Medium road will take me. But for now, I’m having a great time. Not only because there is the potential to earn money from your efforts, but It’s also important that no matter your commitment level, you never forget to have fun and enjoy the ride.
One last thing. If you are interested in learning how much I’ve earned since being on Medium, my first payment was USD 0.87. I just about hit the roof with excitement. It’s not the amount. It’s the realization that someone out there wanted to read what I wrote. That is to be celebrated.