This Is Going to Be My Year
In a previous article, I wrote about my struggles to write, but how I want to keep doing it. I’ve been thinking about that a lot, especially how my situation now compares to the past.
Last year, I wrote all through January, planning a blog. I had posts written, topics outlined, and promotions planned. I wrote. It was tough.
Once I discovered Medium, I migrated over to here. I still have to write and outline, and sometimes I even try to share my work on social media, but it’s so much simpler — and easier — to share my work with a lot of people here. Write, find an image, connect to audience. Done.
Also, I get paid.
A few years ago, I tried to make money writing ebooks. It worked, but it was time-consuming. I had to make a cover image, which I wasn’t great at, but if I hired someone, I risked taking a loss if the book didn’t sell. I had to write and edit and format, and then try to promote the books.
Well, books take a long time to write. Other people had the time to do five times as much writing as I could. And I wasn’t much of a businessperson. I’m really bad at getting people to buy stuff. (That’s why I’m a minimalist.)
After a few months where it always seemed like I wasn’t putting enough time in, and that I was slipping behind, I quit. But I learned something.
More successful, business-minded writers taught me that you can’t control how much money you make by writing. What you can control is your output. If you write a lot, and you plan your writing well, you can start making money.
I plan to finally take charge of my writing future. I’ve been writing on Medium, off and on, for ten months. Ten! That’s almost a full year, and I don’t feel like stopping yet.
There are, of course, a few bumps in the road. Like 93% of Medium writers, I earned less than $100 last month. I’ve never been a top writer, in any category.
I guess I have nowhere to go but up.
Medium seems to be a game of timing as much as a writing effort. If you post more, your view count rises. People see other stuff you’ve written, clap, and follow. And then the process can repeat, with more people seeing your stuff.
Those of you who grew up in cold climates know how to make a snowman. If you don’t, here you go: You take a bit of snow, smash it into a tiny ball, and roll it. Snow sticks to snow, so the ball gets bigger and bigger. Do that three times, add in some twigs for arms, and you have a snowman (or snowwoman, if that’s your preference).
My point is: if I keep going, my work can snowball. Maybe I won’t even earn $100 in January, but if I keep going, I might make that later in the year.
With every article, I think my writing gets a little better. I get better at organizing content, gathering research, or writing an intriguing beginning or a powerful ending. I get better at catching typos. No one’s perfect, but spellcheck helps.
I’m actually amazed at how far I’ve come. Now I cringe at some of my earlier work, even some pieces I wrote a few months ago. I’m also learning what kind of content does well, and what kind doesn’t. Granted, there’s no mathematical formula for this.
I don’t want to make any bold New Year’s Resolutions, like “I’ll write three novels and make six figures writing,” but I really think this is going to be the year when I take my writing to the next level.
Here are a few writing resolutions for this year. As you can see, they’re quite manageable.
- Create more writing playlists (music I can listen to while I write).
- Keep reading books and articles.
- Dabble in fiction writing, without a deadline to finish.
- Write about topics that interest me, and that I believe may be helpful about others.
- Take time off for self-care when I need it, but come back to the page when I’m ready.
I’m reading through Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell. One important idea I took away so far is that often things that seem like a disadvantage (say, not getting hired by a big company) can actually turn into an advantage later on.
When people become an entrepreneur or join a startup, they’re forced to innovate, and innovation can bring enormous gains. Big businesses get hindered by old ways of thinking; people working independently get to be nimble, and adapt to changes.
Since I didn’t have writing success right away, I can focus on improving my writing and experiment with different topics. That might not seem like an advantage now, but it can be down the road.
I have a note app with thousands of ideas written down. One day one of them could be a book. But right now, I’m focused on articles.
It’s not going to be easy. I don’t have a crystal ball to see what the next year holds. It could be a disaster, or it could be the best year ever. The only thing to do is to keep pushing my snowball.