How to Start Writing on Medium: A Tutorial

How to Start Writing on Medium: A Tutorial

When you want to write your way to an income stream.

Image for postPhoto by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash

I have a lot of friends who are talented writers ? and who are looking for ways to create income streams right now.

This post is for them. And for you, if you?re checking out Medium because you think it might be a good fit for you, but you?re overwhelmed at the prospect of getting started writing here.

I?m planning a series of posts with the very basics of getting started. Check back every day for the next several days, so you don?t miss any of them. Or follow this publication, to get notified.

This post is about the very, very basic starting steps.

What exactly is Medium and why should I write on it.

Medium is two things. A platform and a publisher.

As a platform it?s easy to use ? clean and simple. You just type your post, click publish, and voila! You?re published. Stay tuned in the next few days for more on exactly how to do those things (because of course everything is easier said than done.)

It?s similar to any blogging platform like WordPress or Squarespace. Or Blogspot. Is Blogspot still a thing? You don?t own the domain here. So instead of www.yourname.com, your blogging at www.medium.com/yourname.

Every post you write is made available to your followers.

As a publisher, Medium has a team of people whose job is to read most of the posts that are published every day and choose those that are high quality, meet their criteria, and fit their aesthetic to curate.

Curation means that Medium is publishing your post in a way that makes it visible to not only your followers, but to Medium readers who aren?t following you (yet!), but are interested in the topic you?ve written about.

Being curated is important. You?ll need to master the curation learning curve if you want to earn more than pennies here.

What should I write?

One of the great things about Medium is that you can write about anything. Anything. And you don?t have to niche so far down that you never write outside your pet topic.

If I was writing only on my own website, which is about writing, it would be really weird if I sometimes stuck in essays about my parents-in-law or politics or being a soccer mom. But I can do that here on Medium.

So, you should write about your passion. Or your expertise. Or something you?re learning and want to share. You should pay attention to what readers respond to and write more of that.

You?ll want to niche, eventually, but you can always write outside your niche and you can take the time to develop your niche in a way that?s difficult on your own website.

How often should I write?

You probably mean publish. You should write every day. I firmly believe that. Touch your work for even a few minutes a day, and see what happens. You?ll knock your own socks off.

But publishing is different. It implies a finished blog post.

If you want to earn a decent amount of money ? enough to possibly replace some or all of your day job?s income, for instance ? then you?ll need to write pretty often.

It?s important, on Medium, to build a backlog of work. It?s hard to do that if you?re writing once or twice a month. Or, frankly, even if you?re writing once or twice a week.

My advice is to see if you can build up to writing five to seven times a week. Do that for at least a year. Then, maybe, you can slow down if you want to. (You might not want to, though!)

I?ve challenged myself more than once to writing daily for 90 days and every single time, the results blow me away. I highly recommend challenging yourself to give it a try. I like 90 days because it?s long enough to see progress, but gives you a end point that?s not too far in the future.

However often you decide to publish, try to be consistent.

How will I be paid?

To be paid for writing on Medium, you need to sign up for the Partnership Program. To do that, you?ll have to have a Stripe account you can link up to.

Once a month, Stripe will deposit your Medium income into your bank account. You can only write behind Medium?s paywall if you live in a country that allows you to have a Stipe account.

As I write this, those countries include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United States.

If you live in another country, at this time unfortunately you can?t be paid for writing on Medium.

You?re paid a percentage of the $5 monthly fee that each one of your readers who are Medium members pays, based on how long they spend with your post.

It?s a pretty mysterious system and I don?t know exactly how that percentage is figured out. I don?t know anyone who does. But every day you can log into your Medium Partnership Program dashboard and see how much you?ve earned for the month so far.

I?m convinced. Now what?

Join the Medium Partnership Program.

Step one is to get signed up for the Medium Partnership Program. Visit this Medium help topic for exact directions on how to do that.

Join the Partner Program

Enrolling to the Medium Partner Program is the first step to earning revenue on your Medium stories To join the Medium?

help.medium.com

Signing up is very straight-forward and shouldn?t take more than a few minutes. You don?t have to be approved or apply ? everyone who signs up gets to write on Medium and be paid.

Figure out the curation learning curve.

Curation is the difference between being a hobby writer on Medium and writing like a professional.

Medium is no different from any other publication. Their readers are paying them and they want to provide those readers with a solid experience. They have an aesthetic ? a way they like their posts to look and feel ? that you have to understand in order to be regularly curated.

Here?s a post where I?ve shared everything I know about being curated.

A Guide to Medium Curation

What it is, why it matters, and how to increase your odds.

medium.com

And here are Medium?s curation guidelines. Please, please be sure to read them before you hit publish the first time. It?s important to put your best foot forward from the beginning, because if you?re not curated in your first few posts, there?s a chance that your posts won?t be looked at as quickly in the future.

Medium’s Curation Guidelines: everything writers need to know

What is curation? Thousands of stories are published every day on Medium. Our goal is to share the best of these?

help.medium.com

Plan your first post.

You?re ready! It?s time to pick a topic and plan your first post.

My favorite format for planning a post involves writing the title, choosing a story to start with, writing your subheads, and choosing a take-away for your reader.

A Simple Framework for Capturing and Organizing Your Blog Post Ideas

The PSST Framework will revolutionize the way you work if you find yourself struggling to write as much as you want to.

medium.com

The headline, subtitle, and feature photo are very important. I?ll write a whole post about them soon.

Write and publish it!

Write your post. Simple, right?

Formatting matters and I?ll write in the next couple of days about how to format your post. I?ll write more about it soon.

For now, know that you need to properly format your subhead. This is the one thing I see done wrong the most often. To properly format it, highlight your sentence and click the small ?T? icon that shows up in the black bar.

Image for postScreenshot: Author

Click the + sign and the looking-glass icon to use Medium?s integration with Unsplash to choose a royalty-free photo that will be properly cited automatically. If you use your own photo or one from a different source, you?ll need to include a citation for every single photo. No exceptions.

I?ll post soon about how to actually publish your post, including about choosing tags. Hopefully, this tutorial will get you to the place where you?re ready to write that first post.

Here?s my secret weapon for sticking with whatever your thing is.

Shaunta Grimes is a writer and teacher. She is an out-of-place Nevadan living in Northwestern PA with her husband, three superstar kids, two dementia patients, a good friend, Alfred the cat, and a yellow rescue dog named Maybelline Scout. She?s on Twitter @shauntagrimes and is the author of Viral Nation and Rebel Nation and the upcoming novel The Astonishing Maybe. She is the original Ninja Writer.

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