Don’t be afraid to try
I’ve Been on Medium For Two Weeks and It’s Mind-Blowing
I remember having heard about Medium a few years ago. I’ve been writing all my life. All in German though. I am a German native. English is my second language and I’ve never been as proficient in it as I probably should have been. So I quickly dismissed the idea of writing on Medium back then.
Youtube was my starting point
Fast forward to a few months ago, I stumbled upon a video by Shelby Church. I had seen many of her videos in the past, but this was new to me. She created a Medium account and started writing. In the video, she interviewed Zulie Rane, one of my favorite Medium writers. They were talking about earning money on Medium. It was enticing. By that point, I had already dallied with the idea of posting English content on my blog which was German only. So I thought to myself: What the heck, just go for it! Best decision ever.
Getting into writing
I started slowly. On my first day last week, I adopted two of my German articles and translated them into English. I checked the guidelines, and many tips on how to write for Medium. To be honest, I was incredibly nervous to hit that publish button. I didn’t do it on the first day.
On the second day, I wrote a new article. Midway through, I thought: This is just not good enough. But I went ahead and finished it. I didn’t publish it.
Instead, I published the two translated articles. Without paywall.
The day after that, I published the newly written story. Not in a publication, just for me. I also deleted the two previously published stories, rewrote and combined them. Only to publish them a handful of days later. Again without a paywall.
The turning point
On the same day, I wrote my second new article. I was happy with it. And for the first time, I tried getting it into a publication. My expectations were pretty low. As a non-native English speaker, my writing just wasn’t as eloquent as it needed to be. Nothing happened that day, as I expected. I went to bed. Early morning I checked my phone. I got a note on my post. By Better Marketing. I was excited… and nervous, to say the least.
Better Marketing wanted to publish the story I wrote on day 2. I can’t describe the feeling. It took a few hours and my article was live, in a publication. A big one with over 120 000 followers.
During that time, I rewrote another one of my German articles for Medium. Again, I didn’t think this one was going to go somewhere. I just said to myself: Consistency is king. Try to write as much as you can! I still have a full-time job and a part-time business to handle, not to mention my children. Nevertheless, I tried to consistently write something. The day after, I wrote a Shortform. Just to see what that format had to offer. I published both stories. No publication.
Over the next few days, I saw my views from that Better Marketing article going up. I was incredibly grateful for every single view. With that, my self-published stories got a few views as well.
What a week
After two more articles, something amazing happened. One of those was quickly published in Better Marketing! The other one that I had just self-published welcomed me with a note from The Startup, saying: Feel free to submit your article to our publication! Wow…
Shortly after that, the second German article I had rewritten and published the day before got the same note from The Startup.
And to drive it home, I received another message from The Startup soon after that, giving me the opportunity to submit the very first story I had translated into English to their publication Curious. That meant that I now had all my latest stories, except the Shortform, published in major publications… within two weeks. For the life of me, I could have never imagined that. Mind-blowing!
Now, don’t get me wrong: I did not make a noteworthy amount of money, my views didn’t skyrocket, and no article went viral. That’s not the takeaway. The lesson I’ve learned is: Don’t be afraid to try! I am not a genius writer, my English will never be on the level of a native speaker. My writing as a whole will never be up there with that of a Zulie Rane, Jared A. Brock, Tim Denning, shonda rhimes, or all the other great writers on Medium. The thing is: It doesn’t have to be. It just has to be good enough for me, to feel comfortable with it, to be proud of it, and to be thankful for the support, the views, the claps, and the feedback I’ve gotten so far.
I’ve been writing all my life… and I finally know why.