Medium,  Uncategorized

March: A Curation Story*

My curation rate was 100% in March 2021, yet I still haven’t figured out exactly how curation works…

When I first started writing on Medium, I was utterly confused by the elusive idea of curation. I read articles and watched YouTube videos about things that new writers to Medium must know — writing here, after all, can be a bit like navigating through a maze — but curation was still a little confusing. It seems that some writers have no trouble getting curated, whereas others are constantly chasing curation as it eludes them again and again.

I seem to fall somewhere in the middle. I have had more than half of my stories curated thus far, 21 out of 35 stories, to be exact, but I still don’t know exactly why that is the case. I currently have an overall curation rate of 60%, with some months trending much higher or lower than my average curation rate.

March was one of those months where my curation rate trended higher — every one of the five stories I published in March was chosen for further distribution, making for a 100% curation rate.

I still don’t quite understand how curation works, and don’t know exactly what to compare it to. When I was in college I briefly wanted to study art history and become a museum curator, so that’s my closest association with Medium curation. A museum curator’s job is to pick the art that their museum wants to obtain, based on some sort of institutional rubric of needs, and acquire said artwork. For Medium, curators pick good quality writing that they think readers will want to see, but there’s no rubric — at least, not one that we writers can see. Because of this, there’s always going to be a mythical air to the process of curation, much like there is a similar quality that permeates classical art.

In an effort to figure out why my stories were amongst the art chosen to display in Medium’s museum this past month, here are the details for each article that was chosen for further distribution in March:

Topic(s): Writing, Media
Article Title: The Art of the Close Read
Publication: The Shadow 
Read Time: 5 Minutes

The Art of the Close Read

This is an article that I first wrote at the end of last year and could never find the right home for. I was excited that The Shadow accepted it and it was curated in one topic that I am curated in often (writing) and another that I am not often in (media.)

Topic(s): Creativity, Writing
Article Title: How to Leave Breadcrumbs in Your Story
Publication: The Writing Cooperative
Read Time: 4 Minutes

How to Leave Breadcrumbs in Your Story

This was my best performing article of the month, garnering the most views and earning the most money (it’s still getting a steady stream of views, too.) It was also the only article I’ve written so far that received a somewhat negative comment, so that just proves that you should ignore your haters. More people liked this article than didn’t…

Topic(s): Self
Article Title: How to Be Happy Alone
Publication: The Shadow 
Read Time: 5 Minutes

How to Be Happy Alone

This is an article that I wrote for an open call with another publication, only to have them turn around and reject it (c’est la vie…d’un écrivain, I guess.) But I was very excited when it found its home in The Shadow. Self is a topic I am starting to be curated in more and more, so I’m curious to see how this topic goes in the future.

Topic(s): Self, Work, Makers
Article Title: What I Learned Picking an Old Hobby Back Up Again
Publication: The Ascent
Read Time: 6 Minutes

What I Learned Picking an Old Hobby Back Up Again

The Ascent was one of those publications that I had been trying and trying to get published in for months, to no avail. That is, until this article. It was a fun article to write as I reflected on a simpler time in my life when I first purchased my sewing machine, and what it’s been like getting back into sewing all over again.

Topic(s): Writing
Article Title: Should You Use a Pen Name?
Publication: Inspired Writer
Read Time: 4 Minutes

Should You Use a Pen Name?

This is a topic I’ve discussed frequently with writing friends (including on an episode of borrowed solace: the podcast.) I find the topic of a pen name so fascinating, and it’s something I contemplate the merits of on a regular basis. Inspired Writer was the perfect home for this article, too, and it got a fair share of reads and comments after being curated in a topic I seem to do well in (writing.)

So there you have it — all of the stories published during my 100% curation rate month. March was interesting on Medium for many reasons, including the elusive world of curation (at least for me.) I will continue to write more about my curation process as I go along on my Medium journey. I am planning to write even more articles this month, and increase my article output overall in the coming weeks, so we’ll see how that affects my curation rate. Thanks for coming along with me as we investigate the curation process for Medium’s online writing museum.

Previously published in Curation Matters

*Note that curation refers to a process exclusive to the writing platform Medium wherin certain articles are selected to be further distributed and marketed on the platform via curators who work for Medium itself.

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