Are You Willing to Work 2,010 Days for $1,000?
I can’t remember how I found Medium.com.
I was bored — I’m assuming — sitting at my desk job in an office tucked away in the corner of a drab industrial park.
This was nearly six years ago. Medium was newish and niche and I remember loving just how simple everything was. The interface, the writing processor, the community.
I wrote and published my first piece on March 18, 2015:
A Millennial Manifesto: Live, Create, Persevere, and Dream
Trying to sum up what it means to be a millennial is no easy task. Heck, that’s what we’ve been attempting with this…
Yesterday, September 16, 2020, over 2,010 days later, I cracked $1,000 in earnings. Not in a single day, no. I’m talking about $1,000 in lifetime earnings.
Sure, Medium didn’t launch their Partner’s Program until way after I joined and the majority of the $1,000 was earned this past year.
However, I say this, not to discourage the eager new freshman of Medium, but to give you a realistic outlook. “Success” comes in many forms.
I’ve been writing on this platform for almost 6 years. I’ve had maybe 3 viral articles. I’ve made $0.50 a day.
And yet, in my mind, I’m still getting started.
Always keep the next 2,010 days in mind
The next five and a half years will look different, I think. Actually, I know. I am certain that the next $1,000 I earn on Medium will take far less time.
I’ve put in the effort. I’ve built the audience. All I need to do is show up and produce good work.
I share all this because I’m seeing a lot of new writers on Medium — those who didn’t go through the atrocious Medium rebranding of 2015 nor the mass exodus of publications in 2017 — who are trying, in earnest, to replicate the success of many top writers on the platform.
Some have risen to Medium-fame in a short period of time. I’d be lying if I don’t feel a twinge of envy. However, I’ve also been here long enough to see the biggest writers quit.
In 2015, I was reading articles written by the Hardys, Westenbergs, and Forouxs of the time. Now those writers are elsewhere, replaced by the next crop of eager writers.
And it’s these eager writers with whom I want to share my message: Don’t sacrifice long-run success for short-term gains.
What do I mean?
Stop approaching every piece you write as if it needs to go viral. Stop being discouraged when “only” 100 people read an article with your wittiest headline. Stop trying to reverse engineer the success of others.
Yes, the “Here’s how I made $10,000 on Medium” articles are inspiring. They make it look so easy. But they leave out the fact that some people just get lucky, while others still have to put in 6 years of work.
Success doesn’t come easy. For some — like myself — it’s a slow, drawn-out process.
Stop worrying about your success. Keep the long-run in mind.
No, you aren’t screaming into the void
Do not be discouraged.
I — like many fellow writers — often feel as if I’m screaming into the void.
Does anyone really care what I’m saying?
I go through writing slumps. One week an article blows up my notifications and makes me feel validated. The next week crickets.
Am I not interesting? Do I suck at writing? Have I upset the Algorithm Gods?
There is no void. On the other side of every view is another human being who is curious enough to poke around and read what you have to say.
The majority of your readers will remain silent. It’s not a bad thing, they’re just busy and distracted by a thousand other things.
Good luck but you don’t need it
How have I lasted 2,010 days writing on a platform where attention and earnings seem to be the only metrics writers care about?
Because writing in and of itself is the reward.
Consistently writing massages new ideas out of my brain. New ideas make me take action. Action moves my life forward. Forward motion leads to new things to write about. And the process repeats itself.
I’ve made friends on this platform. I’ve documented becoming a father, leaving my career, starting a business. I’ve shared my hopes and fears.
That is enough for me.
The views might not be what you expected and the earnings will never feel adequate, but keep going.
If you are here for the attention and money, I wish you the best of luck. You’re going to need it.
But if you are here for the long haul, if you are here to write and add to the collective conversation and actually care for the actual human beings behind every view, welcome.
Stick around, you’re going to do well.
Hi there, I’m Declan. I created a self-audit workbook to help my Medium readers uncover what’s holding them back in life. Download it here.