Why Every Writer Should Try to Get Into Medium-Owned Publications

You’re never too big (or small) to need a little bit of help.

By Shannon Ashley

Recently, when I wrote about how much I hate pitching my work, someone asked why I even care about getting into the Medium-owned publications. In case you missed it, there are now a number of big publications that Medium owns and as a result, they tend to promote the stories in those pubs more fervently than others.

It’s a fair question. The truth is you can do very well here even withoutgetting into any of the big publications like Forge, Human Parts, Zora, or Gen. And although my stats on Medium ebb and flow, even my “low” months get significantly more reads than most other writers on the platform. Most of my stories still get curated (knock on wood), and some readers report seeing my stories on the platform everywhere they go.

I believe the underlying question is do I really need more exposure on Medium? And, aren’t I happy with my current standing?

I think it all depends upon your definition of growth as a writer.

Writing isn’t a competition among other writers. It’s a competition with ourselves.

I think where many creatives lose focus is this notion that we are all fighting for a slice of the same pie. It’s easy to see fame or fortune as finite things, and one way we deal with it is in our tendency to compare ourselves to others.

We might beat ourselves up when others earn more money than us, or we might feel jealous when they receive some of the opportunities we’ve wanted for ourselves.

This is all human and normal, but terribly distracting.

Even people “at the top” can get themselves off track by looking at whatever everybody else is doing. And for some folks, comparison makes them complacent. If you’re already in the top one percent of a platform, why worry about achieving more?

I would argue that this is all an unhelpful focus. It makes much more sense to recognize that the only competition that matters is the one we have with ourselves.

Am I becoming a better writer? Am I honing my skills and improving my craft? Am I learning as I go? And, am I enriching the lives of my readers?

For me, these are the questions that will keep me on my path. Yes, I’m here to make money with my writing. I am here to build a better life for me and my daughter.

But I’m also not here to grow stagnant.

I’m a self-taught writer, and I need all of the help I can get.

Yesterday, I received the first edits to review for my upcoming Human Parts piece. And they were perfect. I’m one of those writers who typically needs a good deal of tightening up. I don’t always realize when I’ve been repetitive because I’m too close to the text.

When it comes to more emotional essays, or those stories which touch a nerve from the worst times in ny life, I am an especially poor editor.

What I really love about getting my work into a Medium-owned publication is that they make my work better. Yesterday, my editor asked a lot of questions to make sure she understood my mindset and that she was making the right sort of edits for my story. Her questions helped me better understand my weaknesses and certain holes in my writing which I’m prone to gloss over.

All of this is good news. I have a pretty standard K through 12 American education. I didn’t study writing in my brief college career. I need professional guidance if I am going to become a better writer.

Yes, every writer on Medium should aim to get their work into a company pub.

Medium offers professional editing free of charge to the writers whose stories are selected. These edits help make your work better, and they teach you how to write with Medium in mind.

Across the writing industry, every individual publication, whether it is in print or online, has its own standards and “feel.” If you want to become a better writer, you need to learn how to write better, on a more professional level. If you want to move up in the industry, you need more experience with professional editors who have their fingers on the pulse of readers today.

Whatever your personal goals for writing on Medium, they can only be helped by working with a editor here on the platform.

That’s why I know I need to try harder and pitch better. It’s not all about fame or fortune, it’s about your personal writing journey.

You never know where one story might take you.

If you get a piece accepted into one of Medium’s own publications, that doesn’t mean it will go viral. As far as you’re concerned, it might even feel like a flop.

But the questions the editor asks you might lead you to examine your work much more closely. You could discover that there’s a beautiful book or 10 epic blog posts inside of you that you never before recognized.

A writer’s journey isn’t all about the reads, clicks, or claps. It’s not even all about the money. It’s about the actual journey and what you learn along the way. And what you learn about yourself.

No writer follows the same exact path as another. Some sprint while others climb.

Wherever you are on your writer’s journey, it’s important to own it. Take pride in your progress. And give yourself every opportunity to grow.

That’s reason enough to quit ignoring the Medium-owned pubs, don’t you think?

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