What I Learned From Writing On Medium Every Day For 31 Days

Visual Freedom

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I published my first Medium article on the 20th of July 2018. It’s called How To Create Habits That Push You Towards Your Life-Goals, and I can proudly report it’s quite bad. Meaning that my writing skills improved in the last 18 months, which is fantastic.

I am proud because it didn’t happen by accident. Over the entire time, I gave my best to learn as much as I could.

However, I didn’t write continuously throughout these 18 months, at least not on Medium. I made a few breaks due to several reasons.

January 2020 was by far my most active month. I’ve written at least one article per day and spent most of my free time on the platform. My goal was to publish daily, but as I mainly publish through external publications, this was not possible. Once you submit to publications, they decide whether they accept your article or not, plus, they decide when they publish your piece, so you don’t have much control over the publication date. Yet, I kept writing every day, no matter when my stories got published.

I love sharing my journey. I am a 22-year-old entrepreneur trying to figure out life, business, and so much more, and I passionately share whatever I learn.

After my first 30 days on Medium in 2018, I published a story on what I experienced, and after my first six months of writing, I wrote one more.

At that time, these were some of my most successful stories, and even though I enjoy writing about topics like personal development, mindset, and productivity much more, I also want to share my Medium insights from time to time.

In December, I did a lot of self-reflection to figure out what I want to achieve in 2020. And by doing so, I decided I want to go back to writing on Medium. I realized this was one of the few things I truly enjoyed in the past two years.

Writing daily was one of my January-goals, but besides, I gave my best to learn from some of the most successful writers here by analyzing their work and reading their pieces on how to be a better writer every day.

After 31 days, here’s what I learned:

1. Listicles work well

Honestly, I wasn’t sure about this at the beginning of the month. I knew that most successful articles around self-improvement were listicles, yet, I couldn’t imagine they still work well.

However, I came across an article by

Danny Forest, where he openly shared his experience with the new Medium Partner Program. He analyzed his top 10 earning articles and found out that 6 out of 10 were listicles with at least three items even though they are getting the lowest read percentage.

I like learning from people who are better than myself, and I admire Danny Forest for his achievements on Medium, so I took his advice seriously, and I ended up writing 22 listicles.

Of course, not all of them worked well, yet, my best-performing articles of January 2020 were indeed listicles.

Honestly, I thought more personal stories might make it better on Medium, but for me, this turned out to be wrong.

What I learned is pretty apparent: Write more listicles and deliver value.

I give my best to incorporate personal stories and experiences into my listicles, I guess otherwise, they might not work. Yet, for me, they are much easier to write than the entirely personal stories, so I’ll definitely stick to them in the upcoming weeks.

2. Curation Tags that work well

This month, I fully understood the power of curation, but I’ll talk about that later.

In his article,

Danny Forest shared that productivity was his most powerful curation tag, followed by Self.

I didn’t write much about productivity, but almost all my curated pieces are curated in Self.

In January, I published 26 articles, 18 of them got curated, 11 were in Self.

My lesson: I’ll keep writing on the topic of self-improvement.

And maybe, I’ll deliver more on productivity too.

3. Headlines are still the key (to curation and anything else)

If people don’t click on your article, they surely won’t read it.

I’ve already read so much on how to write better headlines. I believe I am much better at it than 18 months ago, yet, I know, there’s still room for improvement.

I’ve read all of

Cynthia Marinakos articles about headlines, and I learned a lot.

Additionally, I analyzed hundreds of viral Medium articles. Here are a few things most of them have in common:

Numbers work well

Because listicles work well.

Show numbers as numerals

Write “3” instead of “three”.

Communicate the message of the article

The headline needs to make clear what your article is all about, why would someone otherwise click on it?

Use uplifting words

Here are some.

4. Lots of white space, subheads and one thought per paragraph

I didn’t note which article it precisely was, but one of

Shaunta Grimes’ stories about getting curated on Medium and formatting taught me the following:

Use lots of white space to make reading easier. Use subheads throughout your text and share one thought per paragraph.

I took this seriously, and I guess it worked out quite well. I write many “one-liners”, paragraphs which only consist of a single sentence, and as I am more than happy with my results of the month, I’d say it works well.

Especially “one thought per paragraph” made my life much easier.

5. Don’t just skim the surface, dig deep

In my experience, Medium readers are looking for a combination of inspiration and applicability. They like to read inspirational, personal stories, but they also ask themselves:

What’s in it for me?

Thus, while writing your stories, ask yourself: What’s in it for your readers?

Why is it better than other stories related to that topic? How does your article make your readers’ lives better?

Don’t just say “Build a morning routine”. Shot them how to do it. Provide additional resources, back it up with data, or even your own experiences, give them juice, not just fluff.

6. Do more of what works

In one of his articles,

Tom Kuegler mentioned how he is analyzing his articles and doing more of what works.

I assume that’s what most writers here are doing. I see how the majority of successful Medium writers keep publishing about the same topics.

If a topic or format works, they produce more of it. They provide more of what people like to see (and read), so it’s a win-win.

In January, I tried out a few different things, now that I have quite a lot of data (26 articles in January, 196 in total) I will analyze what worked well and what didn’t. Once I find the commonalities, I will focus on creating more of the pieces that worked well.

7. Clarity is King

For me, this is one of the essential lessons to improve my writing.

I am not an English native, and I often find myself writing endlessly long sentences that don’t make sense to anyone than me. That’s why I give my best to stick to short sentences, concise paragraphs, and clean formatting.

While proofreading, I keep asking myself: How can I make this story clearer to the reader?

What I surely learned in the past 18 months is that the most successful Medium writers are not necessarily the most talented authors per se.

However, they figured out what the Medium audience wants. They write fantastic stuff, provide value, are great with headlines, structuring their articles, and providing a solid reading experience.

Even though I know my English might not be as great as some others’, I believe my chances of growing my readership and improving my writing are the same.

8. English Has 171,476 words — Use Them

Recently,

Niklas Göke wrote an article about how to improve your writing, and even though all points were relevant for me, this one especially caught my attention.

I scrolled through some of my recent articles and realized how I repeatedly use the same words over and over again.

Now, Thesaurus.com is my best friend. I look for alternatives and synonyms wherever I can, as I believe that makes my writing much more enjoyable for my readers.

Once you pay attention to the right things, it’s not that hard to improve your writing, even if it’s through small steps.

I honestly love how you can literally stalk other writers’ success on Medium — sometimes, I find myself browsing through the articles of these people for hours.

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