Tools and Your First (or Next) Medium Post

Anti-Blogging for Creatives: Day Four

Student, Notebook, Female, Study, Type, Write, Author

Today, I'm going to talk about two tools that will help you get organized with your writing. And you're going to write your first (or next) post.

Editorial Calendar

An editorial calendar is just what it sounds like: a calendar you use to organize and plan your posts.

I use the Deluxe Monthly Calendar from Erin Condren. (It's under the Lifeplanner + Books tab.) It's a monthly calendar with some planning space for each month in the front and a notebook in the back. 

Here's what a month looks like in my Erin Condren notebook. (These photos are older, but I still do things the same way.)

When I fill out the the monthly squares, it looks like this:

The M and Q stand for Medium and Quora. When I write in either one, I just mark it out. I keep track of my email list size, because that's a focus for me. And I write the titles of my posts.

I also write in writing/Ninja Writers related events.

There is plenty of notebook space after the calendar for brainstorming, lists, ideas, etc.

Idea File

Instead of just keeping a list of post ideas in my notebook, I write them on index cards. Take a minute and go read Ryan Holiday's post about his Commonplace Book. I use his system. 

Especially pay attention to how he reads books and mines them for ideas, which he adds to his Commonplace Book.

I keep a box of index cards next to me when I'm working. When I get an idea, I just grab one and write it down. Every morning when I need to decide what to write about, I flip through my Post Ideas cards. 

Here's one I wrote when I was talking to my friend Amy. It led to this post. You don't need to transfer all of your ideas to cards today, but I would definitely recommend setting up your own idea file. 

Write your first post!

Ready for the fun part?

Pick one of your ideas and write a post for Medium.

Some things to know:

Medium readers like longer posts. It's okay to write 1000 words. Not that you have to. It's okay to write shorter, too. Just don't feel like you need to squish your story.

Don't forget to take a stand.

Use subheads in your story. To do that, highlight the text and pick the small 't.' Subheads break up your text, give your story more white space, and in general makes reading easier and more comfortable.

The most important things in a Medium post are the photo, the title, and the subtitle.

Use this site to help you write a good title. Keep working at it until you score a 70 or higher. 

Write a subhead, too. Something that gives a little taste of what's in your story. (Your stand!)

When someone shares your story on Facebook or Twitter, or even when they are browsing Medium, the picture, the headline, and the subhead are all that readers have to go on before they click. They matter a LOT.

Share it!

Share your story on Facebook and Twitter. If you've mentioned someone with a larger following than you, Tweet the link and tag them. Maybe they'll retweet. 

If you have an email list, share the link with them.

Tomorrow we're going to talk about some ideas for getting subscribers on your email list, and what to do with your list once you have one.


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Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She is an out-of-place Nevadan living in Northwestern PA with her husband, three superstar kids, two dementia patients, a good friend, Alfred the cat, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She’s represented by Elizabeth Bennett at Transatlantic Literary Agency and her most recent book is The Astonishing Maybe. She’s on Twitter @shauntagrimes and is the original Ninja Writer.Today we’re going to get familiar with and set up on ConvertKit.