I Was Lost in the Sea of Medium-related Advice

Photo by Paola Aguilar on Unsplash

Before I signed up with Medium, I had a content strategy in place. My goal was to write one 800 word story every week for a year, down-to-earth advice I took from Zulie Rane’s YouTube channel. This would build a habit, build an audience, and test my ability to commit long-term. But within weeks of signing up to the platform, I was lost in the sea of Medium-related advice.

Quality vs. quantity. Does distribution really matter? Should you send your story to a publication or publish it yourself?

Worse, I couldn’t stop reading stories from all the people making money on the platform. Was it possible I could make some cash if I used the right strategy? Medium isn’t a get rich quick platform, I understood that, but maybe there was some hope for me if I took the right approach.

Reading the advice from writers I followed was a wonderful distraction and source of procrastination. I was so confused I didn’t publish a thing. Since I signed up in January, I have published six stories. That’s right. Six. And only four of those stories have been non-fiction.

For someone trying to learn the art of writing a personal essay, I’m doing a piss-poor job.

My brother offered me some solid advice. Over dinner not so long ago, he asked me about my experiences on Medium. I told him I couldn’t work out the best way to approach the platform because there’s so much conflicting advice.

His answer was a slap upside the head.

“Well, which strategy do you prefer? Forget making money, you should know by now what works best for you. What feels right?”

I can tell you how I felt in that moment; I felt like a dumbass.

I haven’t pressed the publish button enough. My twenty-three drafts prove that. I don’t have enough experience under my belt. I haven’t found my voice, my style or an audience.

So much of the advice on this platform is valid. Each writer’s experience is unique and authentic. If you have a system that works for you, and you’re successful on the platform, no one can dispute that system works. But what works for you and what works for me might be totally different.

More importantly, advice that was relevant six months ago isn’t relevant now. This year, the Medium Partner Program has changed, and you must now have 100 followers before you can apply to the program. The algorithm, too, has changed and will continue to change. And you can now make money from writing plus referrals.

The platform is constantly evolving, and my strategies must evolve with it. Everyone has an opinion and advice based on what works for them. But if I’m too busy listening to everyone else to write and publish my stories, I won’t ever have a success story of my own.

So, my new strategy? I’m focusing on what’s important to me; writing, publishing and improving. Simple, right? If I make money, great. If not, then I hope my writing will at least improve with practice. I’m going to write what I want, when I want. Schedules, word counts and everything else might be relevant later. Right now, they’re just holding me back.

If you, too, are lost in the sea of Medium-related advice, I suggest you listen to your gut. Do what works for you, what feels best, and what makes you feel awesome. If you’re not meeting your goals, try something new. No one, including me, can tell you what will work for you. Find your own way. And if at first you don’t succeed, change strategy and try again. Good luck.

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Romance writer. Fiction publisher. I serialize books on various platforms. Aussie gal, mum, and wife. New to podcasting, paid newsletters, and personal essays.

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Elle Fielding

Elle Fielding

Romance writer. Fiction publisher. I serialize books on various platforms. Aussie gal, mum, and wife. New to podcasting, paid newsletters, and personal essays.

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