Medium articles may make you money. They may also never collect more than three claps. My assumption though is that if you are putting fingers to keyboard, it is because you feel you have something to contribute.
And I’m all for that, so these rules are what I remind myself to consider whenever I write, perhaps they’ll help you.
- Know why you’re writing the article. Be very clear. Who is the article for? What is the article’s purpose? (If it is to make money, well, good luck with that). What issue does it solve? How does it make the world a better place? Is it meant to be funny? Etcetera.
- Don’t do clickbait titles. You’ll just annoy your reader. An annoyed reader is likely to dodge you because you’ve broken their trust. At the same time, don’t be scared to have an interesting title. Titles that create some curiosity generally work better than titles that make a statement. Additionally don’t be scared to change your title to see if you get a better result.
- To follow on from this, don’t be scared to rework previous articles and make them better. As time wears on, you’ll become a better writer. It can’t hurt to make all that you’ve put out there be your current best.
- Be honest about what you know or think. Be honest about what you say. Be honest with yourself as to why you are saying it. Don’t be scared to be you in your article. You being you is probably the most unique thing you can bring to your writing.
- Accept that people may not agree with you and that that’s part of what happens when you put your thoughts out to the world. Put on your special duck feather coat so that some of the stuff can wash straight off you. Consider the source and reasoning behind any disagreement and seek to improve as a result. Do your best no to attack the people who disagree with you. If worse comes to worse, ignore them, but it is better to learn from them if you can.
- Don’t let ego decide what you write. Your ego that is (or mine in this case). I don’t think any of us have ‘THE’ answer. I think most of the time we have part of the answer. With luck all our various parts can help people find the answer that works for them.
- Don’t be precious about your words. There are no gatekeepers anymore (unless you are trying to get published) so we get to say what we say. The audience decides if they want to listen. I suggest you write to the best of your ability of course, but I also suggest that a good story written poorly is better than a bad story written well (although not always). It does help to know the rules of writing. It also helps to read an awful lot so that you can get a bit of a feel as to what good writing feels like to you.
- Consider your audience. Who are you talking to? I am clearly talking to all the people who have something to say, or are considering having something to say. It is possible for example that a subset of my massive audience (hello to the twenty something of you as of this writing) will read this. With luck it will contribute to them having a better life. It is why I have a conversational style. I’m talking to you, just you. One on one. Face to face across a table with a nice cup of tea or coffee.
- If you include any ‘facts’ make sure you also source those facts. Facts floated like balloons should generally not be trusted outside of the context that defined them. My feeling is that if I want people to trust me then I have to be as full disclosure as I can be. The same for you. If you have an opinion, make sure you are clear that it is your opinion. If you’re voicing someone else’s opinion, it is still important to state the source and give them the credit. This is true for any links you include in your post. Make sure you let the reader know where the link goes to.
- Accept that the hard work you put in to a brilliant post may settle on the ground with the leaves of all the other posts and be blown away by the winds of time, unnoticed as if you’d never said a thing (although the World Brain remembers everything…)
They are my Medium article thoughts.
I’d love to know what you think.