Wednesday 25 September 2019

Why I Write on Medium

DammitKaren: Why I Write on Medium. It's more than reading and writing about reading and writing.

Reading and writing about reading and writing

An open laptop, mouse and ceramic mug sit on a wooden desk
Photo by Anna Auza on Unsplash

I've been writing on Medium since June 2018.

From the beginning, I've been trying to pull away from my standard "bloggy" style to craft more professional articles, ones that will boost my portfolio and stretch my skills, so that I'm ready for the call, when it comes, and more honestly, to build my confidence so that I feel able to pitch, submit and query and all of that terrible, soul-destroying work that is so integral to this whole "being a writer" schtick.

It's a safe space, without (much) rejection, with the added validation of (sometimes) clapping and (sporadic) curation. It also pays me--though I admit that some months, it's not enough to even cover the membership fee--which means I can add "professional" to my "writer".

Half by accident (as I do), I tend to write what I know: health and fitness, then more and more about grammar, writing and freelancing as I read and write and research for my own purposes. In this way, I feel that I've fully succumbed to Medium, which at times, feels very meta: writers writing about writing for writers. But, if I've put all this energy into researching these things for myself, then other writers might appreciate my least enough that they clap for me.

At times I howl with frustration when I see how many claps a writer gets for putting out another piece on how much money they make through this site, and how publishing something every day is key and how to have your stories curated. Other days I read such articles feverishly, bookmarking and taking notes and trying to remember everything that it takes just to be a real writer.

Medium, at times, feels very meta: writers writing about writing for writers.

I find that, when I stop just reading about writing, there is every kind of article and viewpoint under the sun, all in one beautiful, accessible place.

The more I delve in and explore the site, the more I find. I find great writers, good writers and mediocre-at-best ones, which, respectively, inspire me and make me fear that perhaps I'm no good after all. I am motivated to "do the work" and to write more often, but pressured to do so as well; writing more for Medium means that my blog is neglected or my WIPs stagnate.

On Medium, I find writers that bill opinion pieces as fact and call fact reporting "opinion", and both of these are sometimes curated. I read articles by writers for whom English obviously isn't their first language and am offended that their work is curated if mine isn't, and awed at how well they can express themselves, errors and all, in a foreign tongue. I read more intolerant and misogynistic views than I expected, but I also read well-researched and thought-provoking pieces. I read ignorance and brilliance.

It's not perfect, of course. I'm reading humans, all of whom feel, like I do, that what they have to say is important.

That, I think, is the essence of Medium. It's not a group of like-minded people, but we all have the same goal: to be relevant; to be heard; to write. And we have the perfect medium to do it.

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