I began writing here on January 21, 2020, exactly eight months ago today, and this is my 300th article. That is something north of one item a day, which exceeds my expectations considerably. I also greatly underestimated the fun, fulfillment, contentment, and joy that writing here would bring me. So, I thought I would reflect a moment on what those first 299 articles taught me and what I plan going forward.
Not My Job
As Chico always reminded the man, this is not my job, man. I make money here. In fact, I’ve been more than pleased with the money I have made here. But I’m not doing this to pay the bills or put food on the table. I’m writing here because I enjoy writing, and writing on Medium is the single most enjoyable experience I have had as a writer. Well, that $10 check I got for my first fiction piece was pretty good, but this has been a consistent, long-lasting enjoyment that keeps me going every day. As I reflected in a recent article, I now write more for the pleasure it brings me and less for the money, since it’s not my job.
And yet, the money is still good.
Read More Than You Write
Whenever I feel the pleasure of writing here slip a bit, I look back at the last few weeks’ articles. Not finding anything wrong, I reflect a bit, and then it always comes back to me. I haven’t spent much time reading here lately. Reading articles by the fantastic writers on Medium keeps me centered, focused, and in touch with what I like about Medium. It makes me a better writer. It makes me enjoy my own writing that much more.
The writers here hit on a wide variety of subjects, although admittedly and understandably, it’s mostly about writing. But that’s okay. I have always enjoyed reading about the things that I enjoy doing. In the past, I have spent a lot of time reading about backpacking, skydiving, running, motorcycles, photography, and guitar. So, naturally, as a writer, I now enjoy reading about writing. And some of the most engaging and entertaining articles about this craft can be found on Medium.
Curation, Publications, Followers, and All That
Yes, all that. If you want to make it here, you have to care about it. But don’t let it consume you. Don’t let it change you into something else. My highest earning month here was three months ago. I know which articles caused that spike, but I don’t know why. And I no longer care. I was a little disappointed the first week of the following month when I realized that the party was, at least, temporarily over. Then I realized I was still going to crack the mysterious $100 mark. By a wide margin. The fact that 94% of the writers here don’t hit that target both amazes and humbles me. That enough readers engage in my work enough to keep me over that threshold is exceptionally gratifying. And writing for those regular readers and followers is really what keeps me coming back.
So, I keep an eye on what it takes to get curated. And I still submit to the larger publications at least once a week. But, I’m writing for the sheer pleasure it brings me and for the fans that let me know they enjoy my work. I don’t think I could have sustained the rhythm required to publish 300 articles without you.
I don’t know. I really don’t. I have a substantial list of ideas, so I sort of know what I’ll be writing about for the next few weeks. But after that, as the magic eight ball says, “Answer Hazy. Ask Again Later.”
But I do know one thing. I won’t be writing something just because it will get a lot of hits, claps, or whatever metric comes next. I will write each article and subject for one carefully chosen and specific reason.
Because I want to.
I apologize for this rambling little piece; I’ve been watching that 300 mark get closer and closer over the last few weeks. It’s an important one to me, especially given the few and far between victories we get in these strange times.
By the end of the year, I should easily clear 400, maybe 500 articles, pending some other global disaster. And then we can all get on to 2021, a year we are all looking forward to.
If you are a writer just starting here, I was you eight months ago. Look where I’ve gotten to. Follow me if you want. Blaze your own trail if you don’t. And please, let me know when you hit 300.
And now…. back to our regularly scheduled program.