If you’re just starting out writing on Medium, let me make two suggestions for you based on my experience:
- Decide your why
- Seek advice from top writers
That’s what I’m doing. I’m here to develop my voice as a writer, to connect with my audience, and to make money. What’s your “why”?
There’re plenty of articles on Medium about how to succeed on the platform. I suggest finding a few top writers you like and following them and really reading what they have to say. Here’s the truth: I only joined Medium about a week ago and I feel great about my decision to share my writing here.
Here are five steps to develop a plan for your writing — if you follow them, you may end up writing more than you thought you could.
Step 1: Create a Content Calendar: Plan to Write 3 Articles Per Week
Some top writers on Medium suggest writing 2–3 articles per week, some say 3–5. I decided to take the average and write 3 articles per week for my first month, to see how it goes. After four weeks, I’ll reassess and see if I want to write more often.
To keep track of my story topics, headlines and writing/publication dates, I created a Content Calendar. Here are the headings for my calendar:
- Article #
- Outline done?
- Category (I write about self-development, writing and entrepreneurship.)
That might seem like a lot, but I find it super-convenient to have all of that information on one spreadsheet.
Once a month, I update my calendar for the next month by brainstorming topics and writing headlines for them. I love to start writing a piece with the headline already written, since the headline is so important and it’s often the most difficult part to get right.
Step 2: Get Inspired and Write More Than You’d Planned in Your First Month
When I joined Medium and started writing, I got excited about the possibilities of sharing my writing with the world and making some money in the process. This excitement spurred me to write more than the three articles I had planned for the first week.
Instead of holding myself back, I let myself feel the momentum of my creativity and I wrote what came to me. I wrote about topics that I care about, like using social media to feel more connected or watching ASMR videos to relax.
Those articles were not part of my initial plan, but they’ve actually been more successful than the articles from my Content Calendar (so far).
Step 3: Stick to Your Content Calendar
At the same time, I continued to write articles that I’d planned for; I didn’t abandon my Content Calendar. I think that as a creative, there’s room for both planning and spontaneity.
Personally, I feel more secure with a Content Calendar. That way, if I arrive at my computer one day with no idea what to write about, I can just refer back to my calendar and write what I’d planned.
On the other hand, if I feel inspired to write on a new topic, I don’t hold myself back. But I do add that new article on top of my planned articles. In other words, I don’t substitute my “inspired” piece for the planned piece. Instead, I’ll write them both. (You can see how I’ve managed to write more than I’d planned this way.)
Step 4: End Up Writing More Prolifically in Your First Week Than You Have in Years
I’ve been freelance writing full-time for the past two years. I spent the majority of my time marketing my business and trying (and failing, largely) to land clients.
I hardly spent much time writing in the years I spent freelancing. It was almost all about client acquisition.
Now that I’m writing on Medium, I’m enjoying the momentum of writing every day (or almost every day). My plan for maintaining this momentum is to:
- Practice self-care. (Exercise, meditate and take breaks daily.)
- Pay attention to my energy levels throughout the day and write during my more active times (mornings, for me).
Step 5: Sustainability — How to Maintain Progress Moving Forward
There are two things that will help me maintain my progress as a new writer on Medium:
- Prioritizing my Content Calendar
- Establishing and maintaining a writing routine
In other words, create a plan and work the plan.
My Content Calendar is a tool that helps me organize my thoughts so I can write more often. My writing schedule holds me accountable to my goal of publishing at least three stories per week. Together, they form the backbone of my plan for making writing on Medium a long-term practice. I’m excited to see where it goes. Thanks for reading.