Hello, New Medium Writer

Some advice from a nobody to the newest writers of the platform

 · 4 min read

Medium Feed.
Source: Author

Here you are. You are going to let others read your writing, and, after several experiments with WordPress, WIX, and others, you have arrived at Medium.

Look at its beautiful design, its cleanliness, the perfection of many pieces published here! This is by far the best place to publish your first stories. And I am not by any means trying to grab Ev Williams’ attention; It’s just that I have seen other places and I have compared them. Most suck and I am very vocal about it. However, there are some things that you need to learn.

As you discover the platform, you are going to notice one kind of article. The one that promises you to get rich and famous if you follow its advice.

Medium clickbait article.
This kind of article is not worth your time. Screenshot of Medium’s feed modified by the author

Congratulations! You have found one of the many clickbait pieces that are published here. Because Medium being a great place to publish and read interesting pieces does not mean that you will not also find a ton of trash.

You will feel tempted to read them, and after reading them, you will start doing useless things like checking your headline millions of times because some moron promised to have found the secret headline formula that leads to curation every time.

Or worse. You will do as I did, and you will add useless emphasis tricks that will distract your reader from the story that you are telling.

Emphasis tricks, such as bold letters, should be used to emphasize something. Italics are for mentioning works like Harry Potter, and pictures should be related to your piece.

Writing.
A picture of a writer for an article about writing. However, it could be a better one. Photo by Adolfo Félix on Unsplash

You must learn this quick, because nothing is more annoying than a piece full of useless effects.

Other writers will try to convince you of writing pieces using celebrity names on the headline. It not only doesn’t work, but it also will attract the type of reader that usually reads crap and moves on, and it will be more difficult for you to create a solid audience.

Also, this tactic is clickbait, and Medium has a strong anti-clickbait policy, so dismiss it if you aim towards curation unless you want to make fun of it.

Some authors will tell you to write only about certain topics where the number of reads is high. This is useful if you care about money, but have in mind that those fields are crowded with writers, and even if you excel at them, it will be almost impossible to thrive in them. There is a better chance of being read when you talk about what you know.

Writing about trending topics grabs some attention, but writing about your true interests gives you better engagement, because you will post content that will attract your target reader and will keep him interested in your work.

There will eventually come a day where you will read someone saying that you must publish every day, no matter what. Please don’t do that.

It is different writing every day from publishing every day. We don’t always have something to tell; And that’s okay. Our goal here is to communicate, to deliver something useful to our audience. If you publish crap, they will know you as the one who posts crap. And like crap, a poor reputation is hard to clean.

It is better if you write when you feel like it. The best creations come to live when you are in the middle of the creative flow, and to do that, you must feel like writing something. You must feel the creative spark. This is Medium, a place to learn and find your own style.

You won’t get rich. So, enjoy!

Some Extra Resources

Thank you for reaching the end of my article. Here I have selected some articles by more experienced writers than me that will help you. And one final advice. When you are going to add some cool extras, do not tell it at the beginning. It is also considered clickbait because it forces your readers to scroll to the bottom of the page.

1. Casey Boticello’s Medium Blogging Guide.

The Best Medium Article Formatting GuideA comprehensive guide to formatting Medium stories like a top writermedium.com

2. Entertaining advice by David B. Clear. Medium’s best cartoonist.

Dear Writer — You’re an Entertainer FirstOr why your utmost priority should be to entertain your readerswritingcooperative.com

3. Tim Denning’s advice on running out of ideas.

Your Creative Genius Can Run Out of Energy (It’s Normal)Here’s how to get it back, based on my recent experience.medium.com

4. The Writing Cooperative’s Publication

The Writing CooperativeA global community of people helping each other write better.writingcooperative.com

Kanye West writing a blog

Formatting Like Crazy Will Not Save Your Story

Why you should not abuse of aesthetical resources when writing

I have been writing on Medium for some months now, enough to know that because I have mentioned them, they will not choose this story for further distribution — curation, for the newbies.

And I have been writing enough time to have learned from my mistakes in previous stories through experience, and through the advice of some people who have helped me.

When I arrived here, I read a lot of stories about how to be curated, and how to increase the number of reads. Most of their advice promised to provide lots of reads, and so, lots of money.

This is the worst advice I read ever. It does not work on any platform, not even in Vocal or Substack. If you expect to make obscene amounts of money with generic writing advice, you are wrong.

Format Like Kanye West

I cannot remember if that was the actual title, but this story advised its readers to use bold letters whenever they could, add lots of pictures, italics, and whatever could be added.

As an amateur writer, that surprised me, but at that point, I did not know what I know about writing on the internet. So, I took the advice seriously and implemented that advice.

I added lots of formatting and lots of pictures to everything. I had to spend hours looking for pictures in Unsplash. And it was a massive loss of time because placing many unrelated pictures distracts the reader, and it is even worse when those pictures are generic stock photos that everyone can easily use.

A picture must always be related to the story you are writing and be the most original possible. It must add value, not make the reader look away. In my personal case, I like to edit my own pictures to deliver the information in a funny way. They help the reader to understand better my content.

Image for post
Image by Anastasia Gepp. Modified by the author

Also, publications dislike seeing a ton of unrelated generic pictures, and if they see this, they will reject your pieces without reading them. It happened to me many times.

Then we have the bold letter abuse. I’m quitting on that right now, thanks to the advice of Amy J. Wall, and my recent experience writing on Vocal, where formatting has more limitations.

Bold letters are used to emphasize, they make your readers’ attention go directly towards a point in the page, but if you abuse them, you will make your readers lose their focus, and chances are they will close your story before finishing it, and the abuse of bold letters is another thing that will make a lot of good pieces be rejected.

Abusing cosmetics will never make-up for a poorly written story where there is no obvious outcome for the reader, so it is pointless to attempt to do that with serious publications.

Publish Something New Every Day

This one is another useless tip given by poor writers. It is repeated everywhere, and it does not work, because if your potential readers see invaluable content every time they visit your blog, they will eventually stop reading it.

When you write, you must deliver valuable content to your reader because that is what they expect, but creating decent content takes its time. You can finish a day having nothing good to publish, and that is perfectly fine too. You are a writer, not an AI writing machine.

Try instead to write a bit every day to keep practicing. It will relieve you from the pressure of the need for publishing, and when you liberate yourself from it, creativity flows better than when you spend your days typing without intention. And best-selling articles take time to be crafted.

Bonus Poor Advice: Just Hit Publish and Forget About It

Image for post
Image by ashish choudhary from Pixabay. Modified by the author

This one is the worst advice I have read to date.

Right today, I had to revise one of my old pieces here in Medium because it had some typos and mistakes. Why? Because when I wrote it, I hit Publish and forgot about it.

Here we are not only writers, but we also are editors. It is on us to deliver the final product to the reader, and that means it must meet quality standards. It is never enough to write the piece, it must also be edited carefully for it to be readable. This applies to every platform, specially, if you run your own independent blog.

Takeaway

Writing something takes time. Your work needs to be well written and formatted to keep a high-quality standard and an excellent reputation as a writer. Do not abuse visual effects to compensate a terrible story and focus on properly delivering your ideas.

And now, I’m going to wait two days, then I will edit this piece, and only then I will hit Publish.