I Fell Out Of Love With Medium
Disclaimer — No Medium writers were harmed during the making of this article.
So…it’s been a while.
For the past six months, Medium has been my most visited site. Whether that be for reading, writing or obsessive stats-page checking, not a day went by that I didn’t use Medium. From the moment I pressed ‘Publish’ on my first post back in May, I fell in love with writing, and with Medium, for the freedom that this platform provides to broadcast our thoughts out into the world.
For the first three months, I focused entirely on writing. I would publish one or two times per week, but completely failed to engage with the rest of the community. It was only when I read a post by Dr Matt, MBBS BSc, that I realised the error of my ways, and I started reading more articles than I was writing. I started by using his recommended 3:1 read to write ratio, but in the same way that it’s so easy to find that the one Youtube video somehow turns into ten, I quickly found myself reading maybe six or seven articles for every one draft that I was writing.
Lo and behold, my views started to reach previously unforeseen heights. I gained more followers in the month of August than I’d amassed in the three months previous combined. I wasn’t just reading, but I was engaging with the (mostly) wonderful people of Medium. I joined Facebook groups which encouraged writers to share their latest work and to read and clap for their fellow writers. I’ve connected with other writers, one of whom has become one of my closest friends.
Trouble in Paradise?
You could rightly assume that I would be happy, with my increased readership and a new-found sense of community on this platform.
But I should have seen the signs.
I started noticing that once a month, usually in the last few days, the content other writers were pushing on the Facebook groups transformed. What had previously been an array of interesting and thought-provoking content had mutated into a deluge of articles, all with a title that resembles one of the following:
- ‘I Made Over $100 On Medium Last Month (Top 8%!), Here’s How You Can Too!’
- ‘How To Be Super Successful On Medium.’
- ‘Want To Write For A Living? Read This And I’ll Tell You How AND I’ll Give You A Map To The Lost City Of Atlantis.’
You get the idea.
To clarify, I have nothing against writers who want to share the tricks of the trade with fellow authors. I myself wrote an article, directed at newer writers which contained some tips I wish I’d known when I first started writing. I wrote that article because it’s something I wish I could have read at the beginning of this journey. But at what point do we have enough articles on the topic of how to make money on Medium? Are they anything more than a brag, not-so-cleverly disguised as the Holy Grail of achieving financial independence from writing? Or are we subconsciously telling every writer on Medium that their reasons for writing should be to make money, and if for any reason you’re not in pursuit of that goal then you’re doing something wrong?
I didn’t start writing on Medium solely to make money. Some writers do, and that’s great. I didn’t, but I’m fortunate that the bulk of my writing has been well-received, and I’ve managed to make a decent bit of change from my writing. In fact, I’m qualified to write my own ‘How to make $100 in a month’ post. But I didn’t, because (and this is my personal opinion, so if you are someone who is a little precious, stop reading now) to me it feels cheap. On a website where ANYONE can be a writer, it’s no secret that the most widely read topic is ‘writing’, that people want to know the magic formula to success, so articles on writing (and how to make money doing so) are the ones which make the most scratch.
My Facebook feed was full of these articles, and eventually, I ended up unfollowing most of the groups I’m a member of just to avoid seeing them. I stopped reading on Medium, and my engagement within the community became non-existent. And then my writing started to slow down as well. Below is a screenshot of my stats page from August:
And the last thirty days:
Looking at those two screenshots I’m not overly surprised that I’ve been feeling burnt out. I published fourteen times in August — September. But only twice in the past thirty days. As much as I’d love to attribute my lack of writing to my new work pattern and my two-hour daily commute I’d be lying to myself if I did. I was just fed up of reading the same old recycled content, that I needed a break from reading, from writing, from Medium.
But after a month-long hiatus, I’m back.
Medium, my old friend, let’s not fight anymore. I’ve missed you.
Jon Peters is a 28-year-old writer who has recently discovered a passion for baking. If you made this far down the page, thank you for reading. I’m glad to have you here. If you’d like to read more from me, you can get to my profile super quickly by clicking here.