A while ago I wrote a post here about how I got started writing articles on Medium again, trying to make a few hundred dollars a month after a year or two of hard work. (Well, for starters I’m aiming to see how far I’m getting in six months.)
Today marks two months since I returned to Medium after a hiatus, determined to publish more and also engage with other writings and authors on this blogging platform. At first I tried to publish a few articles before becoming a member, but pretty soon I understood that I needed to read widely if I wanted to become successful on this site (as on any site).
Here are a few things about my experience there.
Medium is a publishing platform with a strong social media flavor, but without the pesky ads. Your attention is focused on the piece you’re reading and on a column to its right, where Medium constantly pushes articles that may interest you, based on an algorithm weighted for engagement. Then Medium editors, blending their taste and vision with recommendations from Medium algorithms, also choose to “boost” certain articles across various channels (Medium homepage, feeds, email, apps, and more).
Medium doesn’t offer you enough of the social media buttons that are so useful on platforms like WordPress, and for some reason, people don’t seem all that inclined to comment. You look at the number of claps (a reader can give one to fifty claps) and the number of comments is far less than you’d expect. Also, some very popular authors don’t respond to comments, not even with a clap. That said, there are plenty of authors who do, and plenty of interesting things to read in the comments of the readers who do decide to interact with authors this way.
As for the features that do resemble more those of a blogging platform, you do have your feed and you can read Trending, Latest, and Best articles that pertain to the platform’s main topics.
At the same time, it’s important to note that Medium is not a personal blog. You can write about personal experiences, yes, but you should always add sturdy points of connection between you and the reader, or else no one will read your posts. Medium is meant to offer informative articles and engaging ideas and perspectives about important issues. Yes, personal experience plays an important role when it comes to writing about many of the things popular on Medium (personal growth is one), but you cannot be self-indulgent with it.
As for how often people post articles, on Medium, there are, indeed, some writers there who churn out stories relentlessly, regardless of quality, but these writers are few and far between. That said, many authors on Medium push themselves to burnout month after month trying to increase their earnings. I recommend you find a pace that works for you and adjust your expectations accordingly.
The large majority of articles on Medium are well thought out and much worthy of reading, with important info to share and an engaging style. As my interests are mainly health and wellness, psychology, sociology, literature, and the visual arts (among other things), I read more on these topics, and I have to say I learned quite a few things. In fact, I can aver I am by now addicted to reading at least a handful of articles on Medium every single day. Some days, however, when I take a break from my own writing, I read upwards of ten, twelve articles.
During these two months, I also read quite a few articles on AI and how it garbles facts and spews copy full of biases. But then a few days ago I also read a story (as articles are called on Medium) where AI actually put together journalistic copy in a manner that could trick many a reader. Yes, it was full of clichés, but structurally the story unfolded like the best of them. It could have fooled me.
And then today one article did fool me. It imagined the happy reunion of Prince Harry and Prince William and King Charles’ Coronation via images generated with one of the AI image generators (Jasper), and for a moment, seeing the title (“Prince William Welcomes Prince Harry Home at King Charles’ Coronation!”) and one of these images, I thought the image was real.
In fact, many Medium articles owe their popularity to striking headlines, something I’m becoming better at myself.
I’ve also started to use much shorter paragraphs, sometimes only one-sentence long 😉 as this type of writing is preferred on Medium.
In terms of interesting info I picked up on Medium, there’s lots to say.
On the topics of health and wellness, shortly after becoming a Medium member I read about Dr. Valter Longo’s book The Longevity Diet. Apparently sugar does affect aging, as it does, in fact, activate a gene called PKA involved in aging. High levels of protein are no better, as they both increase insulin and can lead to cancer.
I learned that a trainer to Hollywood A-listers keeps them in shape with the 17/20 principle: 17 meals should be correct, and then you can indulge for the remaining 3 meals of the four-day period. He also advises three meals and two snacks a day, something I’m on board with. Although I may eat two meals and four snacks some days 😉
I was surprised to learn that antibiotics affect the brain, but then again I’m not surprised that gut flora affects the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, because I’d read about it many times in the past. What I didn’t know is that antibiotics in particular can raise the risk of depression, among other mental illnesses. A study on mice also associated them with reduced hippocampal neurogenesis and memory retention.
I welcomed the news that exercise can help mitigate severe Covid.
And I learned from a much younger author something that I really considered only in my forties, namely that I should postpone my coffee brew for a little later in the day, as I do have enough cortisol upon waking up. So these days I drink a cup of water first, followed by breakfast with a cup of tea with a little bit of green tea and some herbal blend, and only afterward by a cup of coffee.
I also concurred with a fitness trainer (Chris Davidson) that doing the Minimum Effective Dose of exercise and healthy foods in my mid-forties is better than trying heavy exercise and diet regimens and not having the time to keep up with them. Chris advises two hours of resistance training with some cardio, coupled with as much walking as possible and at least eight hours of sleep; and then an 80/20 ratio of healthy foods to indulgences. Chris used a very intriguing title for this article: Looking Better Than 99% of People Over 40 is About One Thing (with the subtitle: Not specific workouts, diets, supplements, or ‘hacks’. Once you nail this there’s no stopping you).
I learned much more, in fact, but many of the findings meshed with what I already know on the topic, after doing my own in-depth research for more than a decade now.
In terms of languages, I read a fabulous article on onomatopoeic words (like “owl” from “howl”!!) and many other things. One of the best of them was a short review of the language exchange app Tandem, which convinced me to give it a try (I’m posting a link to my review of two months on Tandem below).
And there was much, much more I discovered on Medium.
The best thing about Medium is that it’s a social media platform without ads. Visitors to the site who want to read more than three articles a month pay $5/month or $50/year to become Medium members. That supports many writers on the site. Well, far from everyone, but from what I’ve read, if you have 2K followers and publish enough (I set my bar at 8 to 10 long-form articles per month, but some writers post one or two articles every day), you may be able to earn $250 a month. That figure varies, of course, with the kind of stories you write and how you write them. According to what I’ve read in plenty of comments, writers on the site used to earn four times as much in the past. Part of that has to do with the fact that the number of members on the site who are trying to get a slice of the pie has exploded with the pandemic.
Either way, it’s a great place to read and write, and I’ve decided to give it a chance and see if I can make a few hundred dollars a month writing on it.
Here’s what I wrote in April.
But before I list those articles, here’s another important thing: When you write a draft on Medium, you can submit it to a publication (after that publication has added you as a writer). Pubs on Medium are many and varied in feel and reach, and it will take you a while to find some that are best suited to you, but once you do, you may find some friendly editors, an audience for those articles, and also some more followers for all your pieces. Finding the right pubs and contributing to them has been very rewarding to me (already!). I have by now written for three publications on Medium and I’m most happy with them. They are not big (only a few hundred followers strong), but they are growing and the articles and writers they support are interesting.
Here are my April posts on Medium. I find that Medium inspires me to write long-form articles on a larger variety of topics. I look forward to delving into many more topics of interest in the months ahead.
Please note that if you click on any one of these links, it will open in a new window, so you won’t lose this post with the list of my articles, should you want to look at it again.
You May Need a Tetanus Booster Only Every Thirty Years, According to New Research
At least 95 percent of you. But, even so, as an adult, you may not want to give up on the ten-year tetanus boosters yet.
Plants and Herbal Teas that Lower High Cholesterol and Help Improve Liver Health
It’s not easy sometimes, but there are plants and herbal teas that help with cholesterol and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. A review.
What I’ve Learned Using a Language Exchange App to Improve my Spanish
For the past two months, I’ve been using the Tandem app daily. Here’s about my experience and what you can expect as a student of languages.
‘Vladimir’, A Recent Novel About Power Plays in Academia: A Book Review
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7 Ways My Self-Expression Changes When I Speak Spanish, and Some Notes on Life in Spain and Romania
Our personality shifts when we speak a different language, based on context and the culture we associate with it. Here’s about me & Spanish.
Funny Online Comments About A Nudist Cruise and What They Say About Us
Nude cruises and beaches are a culture onto themselves. They are often vastly misunderstood, as shown by various comments online.
Kubrick’s and Spielberg’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001): The Quest of an Android Child with Human Feelings and a Parable About the Human Condition
A.I. Artificial Intelligence is a highly philosophical meditation presented as an accessible retelling of Pinocchio and The Wizard of Oz. This movie review includes some spoilers.
The “To Make You Neigh” Ersatz Coffee Romanians Drank in Communist Times
It was officially called “Coffee with substitutes,” but people called it Nechezol, referring both to its ingredients and to Elena Ceaușescu.
Pay Attention to What Your Mother Eats. It May Do You a Lot of Good
I like to experiment in the kitchen and use modern superfoods, but my mother likes to eat traditional foods. Here are a number of them with some of their health benefits.
What to Do and What Not to Do in Response to a Kindness
Kindnesses are always special, whether they are big or small. Here are a few things to consider when someone does something nice for you. At least from my perspective. I’d love to hear yours.
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To a happier, healthier life,