By Shannon Ashley
Inthe spring of 2018, I was a desperate single mama. Realizing that the writing gig I’d worked on for about 3 years was falling apart, I began evaluating my options if I couldn’t make enough money to pay rent.
A friend in Knoxville said I could move in with him or his mother, but I’d already had to depend upon the kindness of others a few too many times since my fiance left me pregnant in 2013.
No, this time I was convinced that I needed to figure out my own life. Over the past few months, as I watched things at my company grow from bad to worse, I decided this might be the universe telling me to move on and pursue my own writing career.
Stranger things have happened, haven’t they?
After a couple of months of occasional Wordpress blogging, I realized I didn’t know the first thing about monetizing a blog. Worse yet, I had zero desire to figure it out.
I just want to write, I reasoned. Surely, there must be some way for me to earn money writing the stuff that mattered to me.
That’s what brought me to Medium. I just wanted to write whatever the hell I wanted, and get paid more than peanuts. I wanted to build a better life.
OnApril 25th, 2018, I became desperate enough to try writing on Medium. I started out with transferring stories from my Wordpress blog, and on the fifth day of doing that, I felt inspired to write a sort of tell-all about my childhood.
The truth is that I just started throwing anything and everything out there to see what might stick. I did that because I was desperate, and I didn’t have much to lose by experimenting on Medium.
More than 18 months later, here we are. I can safely say that writing on Medium changed my life.
It made me more confident.
Sure, I know that I am not the greatest writer. There’s still a lot for me to learn, but writing on Medium has made me much more comfortable with putting my work out there.
I no longer worry about making a fool of myself. No longer worry whether or not many people like my stories.
After 18 months, I earn a full-time living on Medium, and I’m confident that I can make a living with my writing in one way or another for the rest of my life. I know it won’t always be easy. But I also know that I can do it anyway.
It led to unexpected opportunities.
My work on Medium has earned me invites to write various stories for other businesses, products, websites, and publications. It’s not all glitter and gold, but these opportunities have helped add to my confidence since I know they’re additional steps in my writer’s journey.
I’ve also broadened my horizons to lead writing workshops, and recently received a high profile podcast invite. None of these opportunities would have been available to me without writing on Medium.
It introduced me to new friends.
In my past, I’ve been a social butterfly. I’ve also been known to say I’m not a people person. The truth is more complicated. I’m introverted and Aspie, so it takes time to get beneath my shell. I want to connect with people, but I hold them at a distance too.
A cool thing about Medium is that it’s introduced me to new people who aren’t just great writers. They’re great people whom I deeply care about. And that’s really good for me.
It isn’t easy making new friends when you’re the single mom to a young child. I’m grateful that Medium has given me the opportunity to get to know so many wonderful souls.
It taught me how to hope again.
There’s been a lot of sadness in my life. A lot of trauma. For a long time, I felt like I’d lost my ability to hope and believe in a better future.
The most powerful thing about that hope is the way it’s taught me to take responsibility for myself. Hope isn’t something that comes into my life if I’m lucky.
Instead, I’m building a better future by working on myself and my writing. I’m learning how to take control of my life and handle whatever comes my way. Writing on Medium has given me this opportunity to examine myself and my path in a way I never used to understand.
I don’t know what Medium has done for you, but chances are that it’s changing you too.
Because writing itself is an incredible impetus for change. Journaling does wonders, of course, but writing for the world to read is a different sort of personal work that often helps you and others.
There are all sorts of different types of writers on Medium. One of the best things about writing here is that you don’t have to be typecasted. But maybe one of the most underrated aspects of Medium is how much it can change you.
That can be an incredible thing.
Eighteen months ago I didn’t know if I was going to be able to keep my apartment. Now, I’m focused on maintaining a better quality of life. One that I never dreamed was really in the cards for me.
That doesn’t mean I’m precisely where I want to be. But it does mean that I’m getting closer every day.
I wouldn’t be where I’m at right now without Medium, but it’s the internal shifts that mean to most. Today, I know I can handle whatever life throws my way. I'll be able to take the curveballs. And I bet you can too.
How will writing on Medium change you in 18 months? If you keep writing, we’ll all get to find out.
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