By now, you’ve read a lot of articles on this same subject. How to be successful on Medium. And most of those articles tell you the same thing. The way to be successful on Medium (or most anyplace else), is hard work and consistency. But working hard at what? Be consistent with what? Trust me, you can work hard and consistently day after day and never be successful at anything.
The best news is that Medium is very flexible and forgiving. You can write on pretty much any subject you choose. Do some random searches if you don’t believe me. In researching this article, I searched Medium for the keyword platypus. Guess what? Several pages of results. Don’t believe me? Go check it out. I’ll wait here.
Did you read that article about platypus milk? I didn’t either. But it got over 900 claps.
But the point is, someone wrote it. And other people read it. That’s not always the case, though. I wrote an article about one of my many fields of expertise: construction. It got crickets. Those articles do very well on other platforms, but here; nada, zilch. Well, that’s not true. It got viewed 12 times in two months but made me not a penny. Not a stellar performance.
But if construction is your thing and you want to write about it, I’m sure you can make it work. Create your own publication and market it in other places. If that’s your passion, write about it. It’s not build it and they will come. But build it and it will get built. Then you can go drag some people in. If someone gets something going here on construction, let me know; I have a lot to say about it.
So, this article isn’t about telling you what subject or subjects to not write about. Write what you know. And more importantly, write what you love. Write what you’re passionate about. And that brings us to the point of this article. If you should write about what you love and are passionate about. What is the one thing you can’t write about to be successful on Medium?
Don’t write about something, just because it might make a buck. Sure, you can look at the successful writers here and try to mimic their fame by writing on the same subjects. But you probably won’t be able to sustain it unless it’s something you enjoy.
When I first got here, way back in January, I saw a ton of articles about writing on Medium and most of them did well. I thought, why would someone write about that? Well, the why is pretty obvious. Because people want to read about it. And that’s where the money is. But I knew that it wasn’t for me.
But I was wrong. Because I am passionate about writing, and pretty soon, I became passionate about writing on Medium. So I have written several articles on the subject like this one and the one below.
But if I wasn’t passionate about it, I couldn’t write more than one or two articles about it. That snickering you hear is the long-time professional writers laughing behind my back. Because the reality is, if you are a professional writer, you have to write about what you have to write about. You don’t need to like it. It’s a job, roll up your sleeves and get to work.
I’ve been there. I spent a month one time, writing daily about heating and air conditioning. I make good money at it. But I couldn’t sustain it. The client complained that I was getting repetitive. Well, duh, it’s an air conditioner. There haven’t been more than one or two ground-breaking developments in the last 50 years.
So, I lost that gig. Not because I couldn’t come up with fresh material. It was because I just didn’t care. And that apathy showed in my writing.
There is another splendid example going on right now. Everybody is writing an article or ten about the virus. I don’t even want to name it, that’s how little I care about writing about it. I tried. You can make money on the subject and it’s a subject most everyone cares about. And I wrote a couple of articles tangential to it just to get it off my chest.
But I’m tired of reading about it. I certainly don’t want to dwell on it for the hour or two I take to crank out an article. Yesterday, a friend asked me if I saw how many recent cases there were. It shocked him that I didn’t know. I’m sorry, I’m tired of being inundated with it all day every day. So, I will not write about it.
I might write about puppies or daffodils or kittens. Well, probably not, because I don’t care about that stuff either. But the point is, I will not write about the virus. Hopefully, that subject will dry up and blow away one day. Soon, I hope.
So, friends, that is the type of article you should never write about on Medium. The type you don’t care about. The type you don’t enjoy reading about. Anything you aren’t passionate about.
Because for me, that’s what Medium is. A place where I can write about what I want to. In my voice. In whatever tense I damn well please. And if I want to be writing in passive voice and ending sentences with a preposition, so be it.
That is why I abandoned the content mills and guest blogs I have written on for years. Because writing has become fun again. Writing is something I look forward to every day instead of a job I have to face.
If you want to be successful on Medium, write for the long run. Look to the future and create content over time. And to do that, in my opinion, you have to care.
So write about what you care about. And never write about a subject you hate, just to create content. It’s not worth it. And in the end, you probably won’t be successful at it.