What I’ve learned from publishing stories on Medium
When I first started out writing articles that would later get published on Medium, I didn’t have a goal. I wrote on topics that were important to me and I felt should get a spotlight to illuminate them. Having said that, doubts plagued me. Those doubts told me that no one would read my stories or that the subjects I chose to write on were redundant. I didn’t know how well my articles would get received and if I would have a reason to continue writing.
After consistently publishing stories for the past couple of months, I’ve taken a look back at all the stories I’ve written and want to share with you the lessons that I have learned along the way.
Where It All Started
The first article that I wrote was about a personal experience I went through, searching for a second job. There were plenty of articles by people who just started out in the industry, but I could not find one that described what its like searching for a job in the tech industry after you already have some professional experience.
I thought to myself that like me, there must be other people that have faced or will face the same situation and can benefit from reading my article. And indeed, since the article has been published, it has gotten almost 4,000 page views to this day. I would never have imagined that it would get that much exposure. This fact alone drove me to realize that I had hit something worth writing about and have an audience that would want to read my stories.
After the first article got published, I had more ideas on what to write about and I started making a habit of writing an article every couple of weeks. Even if my idea wasn’t all that fleshed out, a simple click on the New Story option and jotting down what I had at that moment, led me to have something to strive for. It kept me going and inspired me to keep writing, even if I didn’t know how or where the story would take me.
How To Find A Publication
A big part of getting an audience is publishing your articles under a publication. Similar to when you write a book, you want it to get published under a strong publisher that can get your book to as many people as it can.
When I wrote my first article, I was also heavily participating in, contributing to and interacting with the freeCodeCamp community. At some point, I noticed that they had a publication on Medium and browsed over to see what kind of stories they were publishing.
Seeing that I was writing in their respective ball park, I went ahead and sent them a mail with a link to my draft. It didn’t take long to get a reply, some revisions were made, and eventually my article got published under freeCodeCamp’s publication.
The feeling you get when you accomplish something you set out to do is second to none.
And through my interaction with freeCodeCamp, I had opened a channel that let me continue submitting articles and seeing them published.
Because freeCodeCamp’s publication has a ton of subscribers, this allowed me to gain more followers and bring in more audience to read my articles. This not only exposed my writing to people, but also exposed me to various other writers out there.
First Time’s The Charm
Like every person that succeeds in something for the first time, there is always the pressure to recreate that achievement the second time around. I had several ideas for another article, but I didn’t know which one I should continue to work on the most.
A month passed before my next article got published. It didn’t receive the same amount of exposure the first one got. Granted, the two articles varied on topic, but I thought the subject I chose was one that would attract people’s attention. This was obviously not the case, but it did not discourage me.
It is important not to be too critical with yourself and to understand that you cannot control who will read and how they will react to your articles. Like you, there are thousands (if not more) writers publishing in various publications on a daily basis. Try to look at things with a glass half full perspective.
Enjoy the fact that some people did read your article and you did manage to reach out to them. Truth be told, no one knows the magic formula to capturing an audience and as long as you set your goals to a realistic level, you should be set.
Finding My Own Voice
Getting published in various publications takes work, and the process of submitting an article and getting it published takes time. Part of the process is also accepting different views and takes on your article from the people who manage the publications.
Constructive criticism is your friend and I suggest you listen when someone has a different opinion than yours. Take into account that the people behind these publications see numerous articles on a daily basis and have an idea of what type of articles work and what don’t.
They also reserve the right to publish articles that fit their agenda. It is, after all, their publication.
It isn’t a one way street, though. If part of what the publisher is saying doesn’t fit with your vision, try to explain yourself. There is a chance they are not seeing things like you are and need the extra explanation to understand where you are coming from.
With every article you publish, you develop a certain style for how you write. You may not notice it at first, but it will become apparent to you over time. It can be how you highlight certain words or phrases for emphasis. Or how you present a different take on something familiar. Make sure you maintain this characteristic of your writing throughout the articles that you publish. It will be the magnifying glass with which readers will identify your writing.
My Two Cents
- Let your voice be heard - You have a personal story to tell, with your own set of experiences and thoughts. Don’t be afraid to share it.
- Don’t get discouraged - Writing is a tough process and you don’t always have the mood or stamina for it. Learn to identify when is a good time to brainstorm and write.
- An idea is everything - Don’t go looking for publications to see what you can write for them. If you have an idea for an article, write it out. The rest will follow.
- Patience - I can’t stress this enough. Things take time, whether it is the writing process, contacting publications and getting a response back or waiting to get your article published after it has been approved. Don’t let things sit idle for too long, though.
If you are interested in reading any of my other articles, you are welcome to check them out in my profile. You can also reach out to me here on Medium or by mail.