Hi, I’m Jeremy, also known as
Three things I’ve learned about publishing on Medium in the last year.
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Three things I've learned about publishing on Medium (and the rest of the web) in the last year.
I've been writing and publishing content on the web for years, but I've never been consistent at it. I've always worked at it for a while, but then my momentum fizzles out and I give up again. While I've enjoyed having some sort of an audience during each of my attempts, it was never enough to keep me going.
But this time something's different.
Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay
A quiet, self-identified introvert, I've never been great with words when speaking out loud. I need to process and assemble my thoughts, and that simply can't happen when I'm speaking off the cuff. So instead, writing allows me to formulate my thoughts asynchronously, sharing them with others only when I am ready.
I fell in love with writing in high school. During my study hall periods, after finishing any homework for the day, I would hand write editorials and essays. (This was in the late 90s, long before laptops, tablets, and smart phones were as ubiquitous as they are today.) It was in those study halls where I found my writing voice.
In college, I continued writing, and started publishing on various websites and blogs that I had over the years. I tried my hand at fiction and poetry, but it never felt right. After finishing most of the core classes for my Information Systems degree, I took a "fun" class in creative nonfiction. It stretched me to try new things, and a piece I wrote in that class won a writing competition at my university.
I've been a member of Medium for several years, and I had a previous stint of publishing content on the site in 2016. Like my earlier attempts to be an active writer, I failed. But, toward the end of 2017, the Medium Partner Program opened its doors to the public, and I knew it was something I wanted to do.
For the uninitiated, the Medium Partner Program allows you to get paid for engagement with the content you publish on Medium. For me, getting paid for my writer has always been a dream scenario for me, but like many others, it was a huge leap to try to produce enough content to (hopefully) eventually be commissioned to write. The Partner Program changed that. Finally I could write the content I wanted to write, on my own schedule, and still have the potential to earn some money for my work.
Perhaps perfectly timed with the unveiling of the Partner Program, a major life event happened at the end of 2017, resulting in starting a new job early in 2018.
The changes inspired me to write. With the huge changes in my life, I had a lot of thoughts to assemble and share. And so I did. Medium became my outlet for that. And I haven't stopped since.
What I've learned
It feels funny to reflect on where I've been so early in the process. My first major piece was published in December of 2018. But in that short span I've learned a lot.
1. Writing feels good
For me at least, the process of writing is cathartic. Spewing my rough ideas into a draft, then gently massaging them into coherent thoughts, and finally sharing them with the world is huge for me. It cleanses my mind of all the half-baked ideas I have bouncing around inside. It calms me as I stitch those ideas back together, and edit and refine them. And it makes me feel powerful as I share the final version with others and eventually receive their feedback.
The incentive of writing for the Partner Program and getting paid helps. But more than anything, writing feels good for me.
2. Momentum is everything
Writing is hard. It's often easy to come up with ideas. I can easily list out a dozen stories I'd like to write, but turning those ideas into coherent, relatable thoughts that are ready to be shared with others is hard.
I definitely get a boost of energy when I see the engagement on my stories. I love seeing people's "claps," their comments, and their messages. It lets me know I'm reaching people and connecting to them through what I've written. The small payments from the Partner Program help keep me going too when I'm having a slow period.
But I've learned that momentum really is the key. The more I keep writing, the easier it is for me to keep writing. Some days it's really hard for me to look at the stories I'm working on. But I know the more I made a habit of it, the easier it will be for me to continue.
3. You don't have to be an expert, because you are an expert
Often when I write, I start to get overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy. I feel like I'm not enough of an expert to be writing about a given subject. This is especially the case when writing about technical subjects, but it spills over into other areas as well.
I have to remind myself that the one thing I am an expert on is my own experience.
And that's how I introduce confidence into my writing. When I write from my own experience, weaving stories, experiences and feelings from my life into the content, I know that what I'm writing is true. I focus less on the expertise I'm missing and more on the process of how I got to where I am today. Not only does this help me feel more confident in my work, but it has the side benefit of making stories more relatable and less of an omniscient voice. I've learned that personal stories are the best way to connect with others, even if you're writing about something very cut and dry.
Go ahead and try it
I hope that sharing my experience with writing on Medium will help others get started as well. Ironically, a former coworker of mine just asked me yesterday for advice as she prepared to post her first story on Medium.
Feel free to reach out with questions or your own tips and tricks for becoming a regular Medium writer.
Get in Touch With Jeremy
The majority of my time is spent working for Happy Cog, however I do take on occasional consulting and speaking gigs.
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