Don’t Chase the Medium Money Trail
Once again, I started writing a Medium article and got stuck. After all, I want to write the next viral article. *insert eye roll here*
You know the feeling.
As I scrolled through the different featured topics and publications, I sighed in frustration. Sure, I could write something about love or productivity or technology, and see if that gets me anywhere. I could try to get into a new publication, or write an article for one I’m already part of.
But the more I tried to think of ways to make my writing fit into dozens of molds, the more frustrated I got. It just wasn’t . . . Me.
I’ve been using Medium wrong
Instead of giving, I’m trying to take. Instead of contributing, I’m trying to earn. I wasn’t thinking about what I should write to help people — I was thinking about what I could write that would help me.
Now, I’ll be the first to say that there’s no problem with earning money from Medium. I’m living like a queen off of my combined $8 earnings from my first two months.
But earning money isn’t the point.
The point of Medium is to be a space where writers and experts in their field can contribute to reach a broad audience. It’s a place where I can come to learn things, discover ideas, and challenge my thinking.
And that’s what I should be trying to write for other people — not something mercenary that’s just going to make me a couple bucks.
I’ve changed how I think of writing for Medium
Redefining my focus wasn’t hard. I made a Venn diagram of things that I love and things that I’m good at. Where the circles intersect is what I’ll write about.
To be honest, it’s a pretty small list of topics.
But, instead of feeling defeated that my list of influence is small, I’m encouraged. Instead of searching for a mold to fit myself into, I have a specific list of things to offer a small group of people.
Maybe I’ll just reach one person.
But reaching one person and genuinely helping them is better than trying to reach 10,000 who will know, three sentences in, that my heart isn’t in whatever I’m writing about.
I won’t pretend to offer any advice on how to make it on Medium — after all, I’m still trying to figure that out. The more I study it, the more I suspect that the secret isn’t really a secret at all. It’s just hard work.
But I’ve given up on making a buck. Now, I’m just going to use Medium how it was designed:
To write well, write what I know, and write with passion.
If I can help people learn, give them food for thought, and genuinely encourage them, I’ll be succeeding on Medium, even if I never earn more than $8.