Yes, I am talking about Medium.
As most Saturday mornings in the past year and a half, I sit down at my desk with a cup of coffee and a goal: write an article to share on Medium. As usual, before letting out some words, I let some in. I read some of my favorite authors on the platform, and realize they publish more and more sparingly these days.
Medium’s algorithm has changed substantially lately and, for the first time, I see that impacting the content and amount of articles published by the “big names”. It’s not just that feeling of “Medium has changed, but I’ll keep writing to see where it leads me” anymore. It’s more of a “Medium has changed, so I will keep writing but bet somewhere else. I’ll keep publishing here once or twice a month”.
I ponder over what to do. Should I keep writing with the same frequency? Should I decrease my output? Maybe I should stop writing on Medium altogether?
I see people here debating the same question and finding different answers to it — naturally. We all have different reasons why we got here in the first place. Let’s discuss them together, maybe you’ll find your answers too…
1. Are you learning?
If you managed to stick with your online writing habit for long enough, you will have learned something. I am 100% sure of this.
I was a journalist for a decade before getting here and still, writing on Medium has taught me so much! You can write all your life and still find ways to improve. Maybe you write slightly better headlines. Or intros. Or you improve the art of punching your readers in their stomachs. Or you learn to leave them with a smile every time they finish reading your words.
Writing is a journey without a destination. But as you put one foot after the other, walking gets easier. One day, you realize you can climb that god damn mountain without effort. That’s the day you both win and lose: you’ve made it to the top, but now what?
2. Are you earning?
Money, money, money.
Let’s skip the bullsh*t and be honest: most people write on Medium to make money. This applies to other hustles as well, of course. If you invest your time and energy, you want a tangible return, it’s only fair.
“Fair” as in “it’s fair for you to want some kind of reward in exchange for your time”. Not “fair” as in “hey Medium, pay me because I spent so much time crafting that pointless article, you should reward me”. You knew the rules when you signed up, there are absolutely no guarantees. You wanting to make money is legit. But maybe Medium is not the place for it. Or not anymore.
3. Do you find joy in it?
“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Cheesy, cheesy, but so true. Not everything in life is about money, learning, productivity, and success. The best things have no hidden agenda, you do them because they give you joy.
It takes less than 2 minutes of scrolling through Medium to find someone claiming they write here simply because they enjoy it. For some people that might not be the whole story, but it certainly plays a part.
Writing can be therapeutic, I know it has been for me. I claim writing on Medium as one of the things that kept me sane through the lockdowns of last year. Forced by a terrible situation, I ended up rediscovering something that had given me so much pleasure growing up but had, somehow, slowly faded.
These are my answers to the questions above:
- I still learn by writing on Medium but I feel I have reached a plateau. It was exciting to see my writing improve by the day when I started, but now it doesn’t happen as often.
- When you start writing here, you read the inspirational stories of people who wrote for a year until they finally reached some kind of significant income. I believed that would happen to me too. Well, it didn’t. And after a year and a half, it most likely won’t.
- I love my Saturday morning routine of run+coffee+Medium. I get to connect with a part of me that is often hidden during the week, as I do my technical job at an IT company. Writing lets me tap into my humanity. It allows me to be creative. It feeds my soul.
So what is the final answer? I will keep writing on Medium, but less frequently. I enjoy writing, but I feel there is no learning or earning in it for me anymore.
I don’t want the pressure of having to find time to write when I’d rather be with my friends and family. I don’t want to write about topics that might do well on Medium but I’m not interested in. I will do it for the joy, and the joy only.
How about you?
If there is at least one of the points above that still provides value to you, maybe you should stick with Medium for a while longer. But if not, maybe it’s time to part ways. Before doing so, read this article from my favorite writer on Medium, Niklas Göke, about 3 rules for dropping projects.
See you around.