Write for the Long Haul
Whenever I read a piece here on Medium, I click on the profile of the author. I do this for a number of reasons.
Curiosity leads me to wonder how many followers they have. If I enjoyed the article, I want to see what other topics they write about. But also, I scroll through their list of articles to see how frequently they post, and, if it doesn’t take too long, how long they’ve been writing on the platform.
Through doing this, I’ve noticed something. Despite only being on Medium for around three months, I’m actually one of the more experienced writers here.
Most writers I find have just started within the last month or two, and have only published a handful of articles on the site. From this, we can draw two conclusions — one positive, and the other not so much.
- Medium is continuing to draw in plenty of new writers.
- Most people quit writing, at least on Medium, pretty quickly.
From a curation standpoint, the same holds true. Earlier this month, I created a list of all the people that had been curated in “sports” (my #1 topic) from the beginning of May through July 10 (can you tell I enjoy looking at this stuff?), and found that 85% of people who had been curated were only curated once.
The fact that most people stop writing so quickly might be good for those writers who stick around (and I’m unsure of even that), but it’s not beneficial for Medium as a whole, and it’s pretty discouraging in general.
Everyone has dreams of the overnight success, but for just about everyone, that doesn’t happen unless you’re already a big name coming in. Success isn’t instantaneous. It just isn’t. Five articles won’t get it done. Don’t call yourself a writer for a few days and wonder why you aren’t famous when your body of work simply isn’t there.
This doesn’t mean that it’s not okay to take breaks. I’ve certainly taken some breaks over the years when I was writing on my personal website, and for longer than I’d like to admit. However, I always come back. Personally, even when I hate writing, I hate not writing more, and that pulls me back in.
To be successful, you have to keep coming back. Experimenting. Practicing. Learning. You must be prepared to write for the long haul.
But there’s good news. If you’re doubting whether or not it’s possible for yo to make it as a writer, know this: you CAN do it. It requires a ton of work, a ton of skill, and some good fortune, but it is very possible.
There ARE people that make a living off writing on Medium or freelancing or turn writing into a viable part-time job. Every day you write takes you a day closer to achieving your goals — you just need to be willing to make it happen.
If you’re unsatisfied with your stats and are thinking about quitting, I would implore you to keep going. You’ll be happy you did.
Connor Groel is a writer who studies sport management at the University of Texas at Austin. He also serves as editor of the Top Level Sports publication on Medium. During the college basketball season, his bracketology is featured at bracketmatrix.com. You can follow Connor on Medium, Facebook, and Twitter, and view his archives at toplevelsports.net.