My Best Stories of 2018
I haven’t been writing on Medium for a full year yet — it was just nine months as of December — but my pieces ran the gamut from heartfelt essays to absurdist humor.
I’m no superstar on Medium, so if you started following me recently, you probably haven’t seen most of my work. Here’s a retrospective snapshot of what I was typing in 2018.
1. Most likely to succeed
This story has been my heavy hitter, with the most claps. I had come back to Medium after not writing much for awhile, and I wrote it as a response to all those “Get up at 4 a.m. and work for 20 hours straight” articles.
I work hard, but I think the type of work we do matters. I don’t think burning yourself out is productive, and it’s important to know when we need to pull back. There were times I worked seven days a week or pulled 14 or 16 hour shifts to pay bills in college. That isn’t sustainable long term.
I think there is a huge problem with the work culture in the USA, which is set up so some people must work 3 jobs to survive. That’s not right. And it seems a lot of people agreed with me.
2. Most environmentally conscious
I Tried Going “Zero Waste” for a Year. Here’s What Stuck
Trying to waste nothing, and improving my life along the way
This one is close to my heart because I spent a long time trying the “zero waste” lifestyle. It’s not easy, but trying out a few techniques really changed how I shop and view trash.
For example, I don’t get groceries delivered, because stores around me use a ton of disposable plastic bags if you do. (My idea, to have insulated bags that people can return for money off their next order, does not seem to have caught on.) But all of the food pretty much comes in plastic anyway.
I still thrift most of my clothes, even shoes, and I spend far less on clothes than I used to (with better quality).
3. Most personal
Why I Write Under a Pen Name
I want to be upfront with people: this is my pen name.
This one resonated with a lot of people, which surprised me.
I’ve always had a tangled mess of feelings about my writing. I think back sometimes to the scene in Crazy Rich Asians, where the main character compliments the princess on an article she wrote. The princess says, sadly, that she was heavily criticized for writing it. That’s a fear of mine, to write something everyone disagrees with.
The writing in this piece is a little rougher than I’d like, but it’s an essay justifying something, and the mind is rough with fear and justifications.
4. Most humorous
My life, according to my targeted advertising
When I scroll through social media, I see targeted ads that show every potential version of myself. Ad Me is…
This was one of my early attempts at humor, and while it was a little strange, I think a lot of people got it. It was the turning point from “No one is reading my stuff” to “Ooh, people like my stuff,” so I kept writing.
5. Straight to the point
This is a matter-of-fact story, and is the only one on this list that wasn’t published in a publication (though I later added it to my publication, Minimalist Thoughts). Publications like The Ascent, The Writing Cooperative, and Pickle Fork definitely gave me a boost when I started writing here.
While this story has zero claps, it has my highest view count by thousands. According to the stats, almost all of its viewers come from outside of Medium. I think it shows up on Google when people type, “Why do I keep getting spam calls?” I wrote it because I kept getting interrupted while writing with — well, you know.
I haven’t been bugged as much lately by spam calls, though. I ditched my iPhone for an Android, which doesn’t lock up the whole screen when a new call comes in, and I installed Hiya, which screens my calls for me.
So there you go: my year in review. I’ve got a lot more craziness planned for 2019, so that list should be be interesting.