What It’s like to Have Your Worst Month on Medium Ever
You can do everything right and still fall short.
This month has been a train wreck for me on Medium. One month you can write like JK Rowling and blow people’s minds, and the next month you can be yesterday’s news.
During your bad months as a writer, it pays to be humble and not get ahead of yourself Indiana Jones. I’m eating those words as we speak.
My stats are approaching the lowest they have been in a year. Perhaps the change to Medium from the number of claps to reading time has caught me asleep at the wheel.
Here’s what I can say for sure: I’m not giving up.
Good stats or bad stats, I’m going to keep writing and that thought might help you too when you have your inevitable bad month as a writer.
The writing just probably wasn’t any good
This is a hard pill to swallow and it’s the reason one’s Medium stats can fall off a cliff. If you’re having a bad month, it’s not the platform, the readers, your fellow writers, your headline or the picture you chose: it’s that the writing just wasn’t any good.
You sucked this month. You wrote bullshit stories that didn’t have enough thought in them and you didn’t do enough research. You perhaps got caught up in the hype and forgot to focus on the one thing that creates all of your success: your writing and how good it is.
So what’s the solution? You have to write better next month and be as helpful as you can while being empathetic to the reader in the process.
‘Stat hacking’ your dreams to death
On a bad month, whether you are Tim Ferriss with a green smoothie in your hand and have had your cold shower this morning followed by an ice bath, you will check your stats and you will try and hack them.
You’ll find yourself looking at the stats and trying to draw some sort of conclusion from them that doesn’t exist. I blamed the headlines, then the story length, then the photo’s I chose and then, of course, Medium.
Stat hacking only kills your dreams and makes you believe there are answers lying in the shadows that you can control.
The only thing you can control is the quality of writing and the frequency that you hit publish.
Everything else, mostly, is dead-ends inside a maze that has no exit. Give your stats a rest.
Your self-worth is not tied to your stats
If your stats are popping and you’re doing well, that should have no bearing on your self-worth.
I tie my self-worth to this one idea: did I help one person today with my writing?
It’s the sort of goal that makes me experience joy and allows me to draw the magic holy water of fulfillment from my work. If you helped one person, your writing has purpose and that matters more than stats.
You can do everything right and still fall short
Here’s what this catastrophe of a month on Medium has taught me:
- You can get curated every time and still reach no one
- You can have people clap and still have shitty stats
- You can have nice comments and still do poorly
- You can play with your headlines like a form of masturbation and still not do well on Medium
Whatever the hack is, it doesn’t really make a difference. No matter how good your intentions are or how brilliant you think a piece is, the crowd can disagree — and the crowd is always right whether you like it or not.
All you can do is keep writing. Get better, improve yourself, and consider that you may not be awesome 24/7.
All you can do is keep showing up
That is the solution to a bad month on Medium.
Don’t let your stats make you give up or think that your writing career has been flushed down the toilet by the grim reaper ready to take your life away and banish you to the depths of hell.
It’s not the end; only the beginning. Will you learn from this bad month and see it for what it is? You created it and therefore, you are responsible and can turn the ship around.
There’s no point blaming Medium or other people. Nobody has a string of endless writing success that leads to a New York Times Bestselling book that lands at number one on Amazon and stays there for several years.
When you have a bad month as a writer, do this:
- Be kind to yourself
- Take a break from looking at stats
- Reflect on what you can learn from your bad month
- Own the bad month
- Reframe from blaming
- Praise your friends at Medium for giving you a beautiful, blank white space to write on in the first place
The world is not going to end because of your writing stats. Pick yourself up off the ground, wipe the blood off your face, and keep writing. You’re doing just fine, amigo.