The good and the bad of a two-year-long journey
I published my first article here without knowing what Medium was.
A friend suggested the platform to me, and I gave it a try, without spending one minute learning about it. This was two years ago. Long story short, I first published on Medium to cover a programming boot camp that I did. When it finished it, I stopped writing, until I started publishing again occasionally, switching to consistent writing when the pandemic hit.
I have covered my Medium journey in other articles (like this one, and this one), so I will not bother you with it again. Instead, I want to reflect on what this journey has meant to me, what I learned, what I like about Medium, and what I don’t.
The Good Part: Writing and People
The good part about writing is… well, writing! If you like to write, you know what I mean. It’s the freedom of playing with words, the therapeutical process of understanding your own thoughts, and the possibility of feeling something deep in the process while, potentially, making others feel too.
It doesn’t take much to be a writer. In fact, there is only one thing you need to do: write. But it’s not that simple. If you don’t have some sort of structure pushing you forward, you are, most likely, going to quit. It won’t be a conscious decision, but you will skip one day, then another. Before you know it, it will be a month since you last wrote a line.
Medium can be that motivational structure for you. It provides you with a platform, a readership, and little incentives like curation, claps, and money. The feedback is instantaneous, and you can establish strong and beautiful connections with your readers.
Which brings us to the other good thing that the Medium experience has given me: people. Even though I haven’t talked directly to many writers on this platform, I feel that, somehow, I made so many new friends. People that have continuously supported me, and others who I have faithfully followed and read. I’ve reached out to some people and gotten help from them, and I’ve helped others who reached out to me. I feel Medium writers have a sense of community, respect, and encouragement to each other that is hard to find online. So, to all of you out there, thank you!
The Not So Good Part: Time
I love my Saturday morning routine of waking up, working out, preparing myself a nice cup of coffee, and sitting in front of the computer to write. But I can’t write that much in one morning per week. And one thing I learned over these months is that, while you don’t need to publish every day, publishing once per week is probably not going to take you far either. So you need to write often, but writing often takes time.
We have all heard the story: saying you don’t have time is just an excuse. It is, and if I wanted to write 20 hours per week, on top of my full-time job, I could. But I don’t want that. As much as I love writing, I also love to hang out with my friends, talk to my family, do yoga, learn a new language, take walks in the city I live in, or simply relax.
Life is about choices. During the time I am writing, I am not doing any of those other activities. And that’s ok, but not all the time.
Writing is a pleasure. But writing on Medium has become somewhat of a challenge that I want to conquer (you know, type A personality…). The not so good part about this whole experience is feeling that, in order to achieve my goals here, I must dedicate a bit too much time to it, stealing it from other things that also bring me joy. But that is ok because I have a timeline.
Why I’ll Keep Doing It
I have always been the biggest quitter. I quit jobs, projects, relationships, anything. I quit because I get bored and because I believe there is nothing wrong with moving on to something that excites you more. Well, most of the time.
I usually blame it on having turned 30, but around 2 years ago, I started gaining the ability to think from a bit more of a long-term perspective. I invested time and effort into projects that I knew would only pay off months or years later. But, you know what, in the end, they really did.
I am trying to do the same with Medium. I started writing more seriously here in March 2020, and I gave myself a year. Until March 2021, I will keep writing and posting regularly. Only then, will I ask myself the question: do I want to keep doing it? Whatever the answer will be, this whole experience will have been worth it.
For four years, part of my job as a journalist was to write a personal essay for a magazine each month. Now, six years later, I sometimes revisit those texts. Some embarrass me, others are just boring, but a few of them are inspirational because they take me back to the person I was back then. To the dreams, the hopes, and the raw energy of someone in her early 20s. I can use some of that in my days now.
I feel I am building a similar catalog here on Medium. Maybe in my 40s, I will scroll through these words and revive the feelings I am experiencing now. I will read a story and catch a glimpse of myself on my parents’ porch, on quarantine Saturday mornings, writing.
They say you need to write with your reader in mind. But all writers are a bit narcissistic, we all get something out of the process. So, in the end, if you provide value for anyone other than yourself, well… that’s already one person more than zero.