Here’s What You Need to Go Full-Time on Medium

If that’s what you really want to do.

By Shannon Ashley

Should I go full-time on Medium? It’s a question I hear a lot among old and new writers. While I can’t tell you what you ought to do, I can offer some insight as to why I went full-time and explain what most folks need to make the same decision.

I went full-time on Medium in December 2018. I hadn’t intended to quit my job at that point, but a few things happened to make it clear that the time had come.

  • First, I was earning more per week here on the platform than what my social media gig was paying me all month. (The reason I got started on Medium was because my manager cut my clients down to a part-time load.)

  • Second, I was enjoying my work on Medium but hating my social media job.

  • Finally, I realized that all I really want to do is write.

I wound up quitting my job after about 8 months of writing on Medium. Which means I’ve now been full-time on Medium for about 10 months.

This is my no bullshit response to those of you who have been toying with the idea of taking their writing on the platform full-time.

You need to be realistic.

Medium is a platform for writers, but you need to understand that some writing does better here than others. I cannot in good conscience recommend that anyone go full-time on Medium by only publishing fiction or poetry, unless, perhaps, you are willing to be a fucking trailblazer.

It would be an uphill battle for sure, but some folks are made for that.

Another thing you need to understand is that writing on Medium probably isn’t going to make you famous. And it’s not a get rich quick scheme either.

You’re not going to start writing on Medium full-time and then suddenly see all of your wildest dreams come true.

You should foster a growth mindset.

Writers with a fixed mindset often struggle to succeed on Medium. You’ve got to be able to use your failures to propel yourself forward, and you’ve got to be able to see the possibility of your success.

While it’s good to have goals, I think it’s even better to be open minded about the possibilities. A growth mindset allows you to commit yourself to a journey you love and see it through. This is especially important for a creative endeavor online.

Writing online for a living isn’t a “traditional” career. It may or may not lead to bigger and better things. You need to be open to it.

You can’t make excuses.

You have to be willing to wake up and put in the hours to write. No excuses.If you want Medium to replace your full-time job, you have to actually treat Medium like a full-time job.

Nobody is going to set your schedule for you. They aren’t going to tell you what to write. It’s all up to you.

Likewise, it’s up to you to stay abreast to changes in the MPP rules and any alterations to the guidelines.

If you want to make a full-time living on Medium, you’ve got to let go of any excuses that hold you back from writing. You have to keep writing.

You have to be adaptable.

Medium changes. There’s nothing any of us can do about that. You have to be able to change with Medium, and you also have to be prepared for disappointing months or seasons.

Adaptability means you can learn from your mistakes. And that you’re willing to learn how to use Medium instead of demanding to go completely against the platform grain.

Things change. That’s just the way of the world, but some of us are more resistant to change than others. Perhaps, the most helpful thing to keep in mind is that whatever changes happen on Medium, the whole point is that you get to write with freedom here.

You need some sort of backup plan.

At the very least, you need to know that you can do something else if Medium doesn’t work out for you.

A lot of people consider going full-time on Medium to be too risky or irresponsible, and that’s fine. It’s not for everyone. Which is really the point.

Not everyone can live with the uncertainty of a paycheck that’s different every month. They can’t all manage a lack of fixed deadlines, not to mention the absence of a benefits package.

You need to have some idea of what you’ll do if you don’t make enough money to pay the bills.

You do need curation.

Hate to break it to you, but it’s true. Unless you happen to have an enormous audience whom you can direct to Medium yourself, you need curation to give your stories legs.

If your stories are curated, they have the potential to be seen for months or years to come.

Everybody can learn how to become a better writer, which means that most writers can also learn how to be curated. There’s a learning curve, but it’s worth the effort to climb.

You’ll need a positive attitude.

No, you don’t have to be a fucking Pollyanna, but honestly, you do need to drop the negativity. Complaints that Medium is unfair or that the big publications always turn you down are not necessarily wrong, but they’re only going to hinder you in the long run.

You need a positive attitude to combat rejection. There’s less of it on Medium, but it still happens.

And you need to keep positive to move past the setbacks and disappointment of failure, criticism, or lackluster results. Positive action will get you past trolls and pain time and time again.

Writing needs to be something you really love to do.

Ah, the problem of passion. You know, I’ve been writing exclusively to earn my income in one way or another for nearly 5 years.

In that time, I have become convinced that most folks cannot “phone it in,” at least not forever. If you don’t genuinely enjoy writing on Medium, it’s going to be hard to be successful in the long run.

And if you don’t love what you do, you’ll struggle to come up with new topics after a while.

What’s the takeaway?

Don’t make a big decision about going full-time on Medium because you think you must. You don’t do it because you feel like you’ve got something to prove. You don’t do it because you think it’s going to solve all of your problems.

Medium can be a challenge for any writer, but taking it full-time is a special kind of challenge.

Make sure that you’re doing it for you.


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