8 Stages of a New Medium Writer
Several of my usual reads in the blogosphere have moved on. Maybe they are writing a book; maybe they are planning a hit on a neighbor; maybe they are learning to crochet. Whatever the reason, they are not talking about the world on their website anymore, and it makes me wonder where I’m headed.
I’m approaching my sixth year writing on the internet. I started with a blog, changed the name of the blog as soon as it became successful, then floundered until I found Medium. I wanted to examine the life-cycle of a writer on Medium starting with myself. If you are thinking of getting in the game, and don’t be mistaken, it is a game. Here is what you can expect. And, as always, I am 100% right about exactly 2.7% of the time, so this is popcorn at best.
The 8-Stage Life-Cycle of a New Medium Writer:
- Excited terror. I squirmed when I hit publish that first time. Practise may not make perfect, but it sure improves the mundane. Still, I waited for the bots to spot me. Like an automatic faucet at the mall (remember malls?), I was invisible and unworthy of the attention others received. Strike one.
- Excited exuberance existentialism. Not really, but the alliteration made me smile. This stage is called DESPAIR. But, saying that might deter those who just look at the bolded titles. You certainly start excited about the prospect of someone else reading your words, (or bots curating your word babies) but when you get an average of one view per day to start (and it is your mother), you can become dejected fast.
- Real excitement. Your first clap from someone you don’t know in person is a thrill a millisecond. Unfortunately, you immediately want more. More claps, more comments, more highlighting. More robot adoration. I want it all!
- All-consuming over-sharing. Once you have strangers reading your words, you start writing and sharing and pushing those social media channels like crazy. It feels like success is around the corner (for the lucky, maybe. For the majority, you have four stages to go.) We are told to write daily to keep the writing muscles exercised, but sharing those word babies so often can be a trap that might send readers running. A daily commitment to reading your life story is a lot and nobody, but robots, are that interesting. Absence makes you feel more affection for those you love when parted from them. That’s the saying, right?
- Overwhelming frustration. The same lovely folks are there for you, but there is nobody new. Nothing has been spotted by the bots. It feels like no progress. I get it, the demand of sharing as well as reading, clapping, and highlighting other posts can be a time suck. I have no advice because I’ve tried everything that has been recommended and didn’t improve. So, yeah. Good luck.
- Despondency, reevaluation, and retreat. I called it a ‘slump’ to make it sound more ‘writing tragedy.’ Feel free to use that. I reevaluated why I was writing and who I was writing for at this stage. Sure, I was writing for the robots, but my unrequited love was getting as boring as this season’s Bachelor. The stats. I watched the stats. Don’t be me.
- Decision time. My decision to stay with Medium happened around the time I got my first notification of money coming my way. For me, it was — wait for it — $0.05! I spent close to $2000/year on my blog and Medium sent me money. No brainer! And last month I made over $2. If that was an investment account, I’d be flush. Look, most blogs only last two years but I kept mine alive for six. I went through this life cycle three times and settled into a comfortable rhythm of random postings and sporadic sharing. Now I’m back to writing and posting two-three times a week. I’m like a toddler discovering his penis! Or a robot discovering new talent on Medium. Same/same.
- Success. Be it something viral; Traditional media recognition; Bradley Cooper sharing your blog and calling you HOT; A steady pace with a predictable schedule; Or, 1,000 subscribers :) Subtle hint there… Part of the life cycle is defining your success. Mine, for now, is to publish. Publish here weekly. Publish anywhere else up to two times per month. Edit my manuscript on the side and publish that eventually. The end game will be to share my words, inspire, entertain, and relate. But would it kill the bots to just give me a pat on the back?
Wherever you are in the life cycle, or if you are thinking of starting here at Medium, know that it might look easy and fun, but the mind is a bitch. Thicken your skin, strengthen your resolve, stretch those fingers, and get typing. If it only lasts two years, consider it a journal. If your energy lasts longer than two years, consider it a successful hobby. If you make money, time to thank the bots and curators. Do you think they like champagne?