In the olden days, say, twenty or thirty years ago, writing was much different. You typed your manuscript or printed it out from WordPerfect. Then you leafed through the thousand or so pages of Writer’s Market looking for magazines that might want to publish your piece. Next, you addressed, stuffed, and posted envelopes and mailed them out, sometimes to multiple markets, often to only one. Then you went back to work on your next piece, while you waited several months to see when or if anyone would get back to you. Most didn’t. If they did, the letter would most likely begin Dear Sir/Madam, and you knew you had missed again.
Then the Web blossomed, and online magazines and blogs became a thing. You could email your work out at the touch of a button and get rejected in weeks instead of months. Sometimes days.
Next came content mills. The demand for content far outstripped the supply, so sites like Constant Content and Demand Media popped up. Now you either wrote articles on demand for things like bumper pool tables and air conditioners, or you wrote what you felt like and put it out there on spec.
This is where I came along. I did some work back in the horse and buggy days but lacked the patience to wait months for a rejection. I made good money at these sites for a long time, but it was still tedious work. You were either writing about things you didn’t care about for a quick buck, or you wrote what you wanted and hoped someone else wanted it too.
If you wanted to publish your own blog, you paid for a website, registered a domain, spent a lot of time configuring a site, and finally published work that probably no one would ever see. Tools like WordPress and Wix made the process easier but did nothing to bring readers and writers together.
Then, Evan Williams, the guy behind Twitter and an earlier writing site called Blogger (yeah, I was there, too), created a site called Medium.
It was a new concept. You just write. You write what you want and publish it on the site. And readers come by the thousands. No websites, domain, approval process, guest blogging, pitching, or waiting. Write it today, publish it today, and more than likely, it gets read today.
As a new writer, you probably struggle with your craft. Like the Grammarly ad says, “writing’s hard.” And unlike the ad, Grammarly doesn’t make it any easier. It can help you look less like an idiot, but you still have to do the hard part, the actual writing.
And rather than have to think about all the other stuff that comes with being a writer, all you have to do is write. You don’t even need any other software, you can write and publish directly on their site. I wouldn’t recommend it, but you can. There is nothing wrong with writing on their site per se, but then there is only one copy of your work in the universe, and you don’t have it.
Any digital asset worth its salt should be in at least two places at all times, preferably three.
But you don’t need to worry about that right now. You are a beginning writer bursting with fresh ideas and want to get your words out there for the world to see. And that is what Medium excels at. Medium has about 100 million active users and is in the top 100 websites in the world. And you can publish there.
It’s a great place to hone your craft. Once you get past the stumbling newbie phase, you can pitch your writing to publications that already have huge followings. And, if the writing is good enough and your lucky number comes up, it might even be curated, although the whole curation thing seems to be in a state of flux right now. Getting in publications and curated are the two ways to quickly get your writing in front of a lot of readers. That doesn’t mean they will read it, but at least they will see it. And that’s more than you can say for your blog on myhiddensite.com.
If you are a new writer and haven’t yet tried Medium, I suggest you do asap. You’ve already found it — you’re reading this article. So go ahead and sign up. Even if you’re not quite ready to publish here, there are a multitude of well-written articles on a wide variety of subjects you can read in a nice clean window like this one, without all those annoying pop-ups, gifs, and streaming ads for auto insurance.
Writers write. And in my opinion, right now, there is no better place to write than Medium.