What these writers have learned in years, you’ll learn in minutes.
Medium is truly a godsend — especially for those who just started writing on Medium to share snippets of their lives, build their business, or simply inspire others to change. What’s even more fascinating about Medium is that anyone can bring their ideas and life stories and break into the wall of fame (aka. Top Stories).
You don’t need 10,000k followers, or 100. You don’t need to be in a publication. You don’t even need an English major or write a best-selling novel to be a big star here.
If you want your name embedded across the entire Medium community and people to recognize your work, pocket these tips I’ve taken from some of the most inspiring writers on Medium. They’re tips I personally believe that can completely transform your writing and make you the writer you’ve always wanted to be.
“For the first draft focus on getting your thoughts out of your head. Just write and don’t let your fingers stop moving. The result should be a shitty first draft. This is the trust your intuition phase. Any editing is premature.”
It has always been stressful for me to release my thoughts on screen, because I wanted my 1st draft to be perfect. But then I realized, there’s no such thing as the perfect draft, just wasted time. It’s more important to get your main message out than edit your grammatical/spelling mistakes and fix the flow.
“Your headline and opening image are the only things people have to judge your story on. Before they can even read your story’s first paragraph, they must answer a question. It’s the same question that we all ask ourselves every day: is this going to be worth my time?”
You can pour 100 hours of your life crafting your best masterpiece, but if your headline and image echoes mediocre, no one’s going to click your story. There are too many boring headlines and generic images. So change your game — tweak your headline until you believe it sounds mind-blowing. Get your own photographer to contribute their high-res images for your stories. First impression means everything when it comes to broadcasting your story. Take some time to do this right.
“Instead of trying to steal someone’s success, learn how they built it. Steal their knowledge and build your own. If you didn’t build something, it is never yours.”
Stealing may sound unethical and dishonorable, but let’s admit — we all take other people’s ideas and use them to build our own. Think about those celebrity chefs. They didn’t just pull those gourmet meals right out of their ass. They borrowed a recipe, threw in a couple extra spices and chalked it up as their own. So if you want to write successfully on Medium, find a writer you admire and twist their success with your own originality. The goal is to outshine the original.
“Say what others won’t in ways that others don’t. The faces in the crowd don’t get noticed — the ones who break from it do.”
Unveil your dark moments. Express your full-support for Donald Trump. Explain why you’re quitting Medium once and for all. People love reading about taboos and the unspeakable, because it’s something Medium lacks and what writers are afraid of sharing most. Go with this direction — you’ll spur more people to dive deep into your content.
“Now it’s time to write. Turn off the television, disconnect from the internet, and take away all distractions. Listen to music if it helps you concentrate, but not if it’s distracting (I have a special playlist of wordless music I like to write to). My most productive writing sessions took place on long flights. There’s a reason for that. (Internet-enabled airplanes will ruin me.)”
Bringing out your best work requires a stable mind. That means finding a quiet spot where you can concentrate and deliver words that evoke people’s emotions or empower their mind. A park, the library, the beach, a gym club, college campus, a co-working space. The more focused you are, the better quality your work is.
“Great writing is alchemy — you take bits of entertainment, mix in some education, and add a dash of inspiration, in order to create remarkable work”
If you ask me too, the best stories entertain, teach and inspire at the same time. Because when you target the 3 types of writing people enjoy reading on Medium, you cover a greater range of admiration for what you’re able to write. In truth, it’s pretty difficult to write a piece that covers these 3 essential parts that make a phenomenal story. Get it down though, and you might reach the top Medium stories or get asked by the highest ranked media sites to feature your post, like HuffingtonPost did for mine.
“We don’t want to hear about the amazing you who figured it all out. We want to hear about the real you. The one who doubts, tries and sometimes fails. The human being with a story to tell who doesn’t need bullshit bullet points.”
Most stories on Medium lack feelings (the ones where you feel fear, embarrassed, pissed, torn). What you mainly see in your feed are stories that revolve around success, stories that only applause but don’t vent. What people really like to hear are the struggles you had to bear with and how you actually felt. It shows how real you are and how you’re living in the same world, dealing with the same problems as everyone else.
“I have respect for anyone who starts putting stuff out there one day and just keeps at it, constantly trying to improve. Someone who reads back over their old stuff, and seeing with new eyes where they need to get better. Putting in the hours in obscurity. That’s dedication to craft and how you become good at anything.”
It’s not enough to simply hit “publish” to conclude that you’re a great writer. Those who keep visualizing themselves as the top influencer on Medium dig up their old work and figure out how they can make it even better. It’s not about writing as much as you can, but more about improving your writing in every other aspect — your word choices, the hypothetical examples you throw in, the deepness of your story. Writing is an ongoing bootcamp for your brain, so if you keep tackling your weak points, you’ll eventually get to where you expected to be.
“Write something a reader finds undeniably useful. They’ll be compelled to share it with at least one person they know.”
What’s the point of reading? Some of us might say for entertainment, but for the rest of us, it’s to learn something valuable that can shift our perspective, build our knowledge, and motivate us to take action and better ourselves. Our brain is constantly hungry every day for stimulation, making us more immersed into articles that give us purpose.
“If you think about it, write it.
If you write it, post it anyway.”
A lot of new writers I’ve talked to worry about their writing. They’re afraid it’s not good enough. They’re afraid people will laugh or roll their eyes, wondering why they even wanted to blog in the first place. Everyone starts from square one (including ALL of the top writers you know). Your first few articles WILL suck, and that’s perfectly okay. Just post it, because what’s the worst that can happen? Is it going to hold you back from ever moving forward in life? Is it going to permanently ruin your reputation? Probably not. It’s better expressing yourself than to hide what you’ve never discovered.