Why Writing on Medium is Worth it Even if You Don’t Make Thousands of Dollars a Month
August 17, 2023
Or even a hundred dollars a month, like me
As a former English major who’s somehow ended up in the financial aid field (another story for another day, perhaps), I’m constantly trying to practice my writing skills and break into the writing industry in a meaningful way. You might be thinking “Oh, how nice. She wants her writing to have meaning.” While that is, indeed, true, meaningful in the way I’m talking about is financially. Career writing and editing jobs at publishing companies are extremely competitive and blogging is only lucrative for a select few (sorry to break it to you…) Because of this, leveraging your writing is important if you want to have any sort of successful career in the industry.
Now I’m no expert on this seeing as I haven’t made the transition to full-time writing just yet (one day — hopefully), but I have learned a few things along the way, and one of my biggest learning experiences has been writing on Medium.
Starting out includes a lot of big promises
When I started writing on Medium in spring 2020, there were a lot of big promises thrown my way. I was constantly seeing articles, YouTube videos, and comments about how much writers could make writing for Medium. It was an exciting prospect for someone who had largely only been published in small non-paying literary journals in the past. The idea of making even $20 from writing a single article was enticing, and the promises many writers spew of making hundreds per article was an incentive to keep at it, but it turns out many of those articles, videos, and promises were empty.
I believe writing on Medium is incredibly valuable and I credit my writing on this site with helping me start to make decent money as a content creator, but the money I make now isn’t from Medium itself. I’m not confident enough to say that the days of making hundreds of dollars a month on Medium are over, but I will say that from what I’ve heard and read from others, the hundreds-of-dollars-per-month crew is shrinking instead of growing.
Yet I’m still here, writing article after article and making less than $30 every month on Medium.
Why writing on Medium is worthwhile regardless of the amount of money you earn
As I mentioned previously, I work by day in the financial aid realm. This all started when I got a work-study job in my college’s financial aid office years ago. After graduation, with a decent amount of financial aid experience and very little in the way of publications related to my English degree (and a failed attempt at getting into several MFA programs — again, another story for another day, perhaps), I found myself working for a different college in the financial aid office yet again. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Now I work in the same field and while I like my job, it’s not what I originally signed up to do when I met with my academic advisor one fateful day in my sophomore year of college to choose English as my major.
I even recently was contacted by my former boss about coming back to one of my old financial aid offices, but after some lengthy deliberation, I opted to stay where I am, instead pursuing any opportunities that came my way in the writing world.
Needless to say, that paid off.
After a lot of time and some hiccups along the way, I now write for several freelance clients every month, and this is undoubtedly in part thanks to my writing on Medium.
You see, without Medium and a strong writing portfolio to show my potential clients, I wouldn’t have been able to start freelancing. My $15-$30 a month from Medium has increased fifty-fold now that I have outside freelancing clients.
Medium provides an opportunity to show off your writing capabilities
Writing on this platform is unique because it combines a lot of different types of writing. Medium features poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and, of course, your typical blogs about a variety of topics — pretty much any topic you can think of under the sun, as a matter of fact.
Writing on Medium gives you, the writer, creative liberty to write about whatever you want. You can write a blog about your favorite topics (so long as you don’t stray from within Medium’s general guidelines) and publish it yourself the minute you type the last word. Or you can wait and submit to publications, working with editors to screen and publish your stories to an audience of thousands all at the click of that “Publish” button.
That’s the beauty of Medium, in my opinion. It’s more than a personal blog — you can, after all, show that you published with some incredibly well-known publications within Medium, or simply publish to Medium directly — but it functions in many ways as if it was your personal blog. Medium gives you the platform you need to create a diverse, well-written, and thought-provoking writing portfolio that you are in charge of. The sky’s the limit — truly.
While I am not currently one of Medium’s top-earning writers (and I truthfully may never be), Medium has been invaluable to me on my writing journey. Without Medium, I wouldn’t have developed my writing and learned tricks of the trade needed for acceptance into big publications. Without Medium, I never would have realized the earning potential of my writing. And without Medium, I wouldn’t be typing this up for you right now.
So don’t give up
It might be tempting to give up on Medium with all the changes coming down the pike, but I’d encourage you to keep going. Rest easy in the knowledge that while your name may never show up in a top-earners list, your writing matters, and Medium will help others come to recognize that, too. Don’t give up on writing if it’s what you want to do. Keep publishing on this platform and you’ll reap the rewards, even if those rewards come from unconventional and outside sources.