“Why do you write on Medium?” This question appeared in a comment this morning and I realized the answer was a little complex. It’s certainly not for the money, which fluctuates wildly and unpredictably. I view it as a bonus, not a part of my income.
I have written professionally for almost forty years. By professionally I mean getting paid decent money by publishers, clients, and for the occasional ghostwriting project, usually an ego trip. The problem with that kind of writing is that it is directed by others to fulfill their own goals.
Medium breaks that pattern for non-fiction (I don’t write or read fiction here nor do I publish any of mine) by giving the writer free rein to write about anything we want, within the limits of decency. And we can see directly, in detail, how readers read our stuff and when they don’t. No other platform offers these two characteristics. We have free range for our ideas.
This carries responsibility, responsibility that many writers here (mostly less experienced) don’t really understand. The responsibility is to use your writing to find your voice, one that resonates with readers. The best writers here have found theirs and, not coincidentally, they are prolific and original. And I suspect, based on my experience, they actually make money.
The worst writers here imitate things that once worked for others, a docile form of plagiarism that is more about lack of actual life experience. Bad advice, retread content, sloppy editing. But they are writing and I truly hope they will stick with it and grow past this childish and immature work. My feeling is this would be a better place for writers and readers if these beginners published less often and put more effort in to be themselves in their writing.
Because being myself is why I write on Medium.