Why you should write for yourself AND others

by Tara Fitness

I’ve been quite active on Medium for the last two months, both posting new articles and consuming the posts of many different authors. I’ve noticed a trend. The articles that stand out and get great interaction are often posts related to improving your writing skills, reach and following. They’re the posts with some variance of:

‘How to be successful on Medium’.

I want to be successful on Medium…

So initially, I consumed all these posts I could find. But now I’ve been here a while, I’m getting pretty sick of seeing another new ‘How to build your Medium following’ every day of the week. How many times do we need to rehash this crap?

For those of you who think you’re jumping on the bandwagon of what works — you’re not. You’re saturating the market, and you’re making me bored!

If someone wants a 5-step guide for Medium success…

There are already 10 different posts with this exact headline. There’s a search function here on Medium, I’m sure they’ll find what they want if they use it.

Plus, if you’re trying to use ‘Medium’ as a topic to grow your following; here’s a home truth:

The people who are getting great reach and feedback on these posts, are the people who have already done the work to build a following!

Tom Kuegler is a great example. He’s released some great Medium related posts, and now offers a course in writing for medium.

But even Tom Kuegler, the man with a tad under 20k followers, is sick of the ‘Medium’ hacking trend. Just yesterday he released a post called:

‘I’m tired of being a sellout blogger’

Now I don’t think Tom is a sellout. I think he saw an opportunity to make a living doing something he loves, and did what he needed to do to put food on the table.

However, it’s clear that Tom is now paying the price. Not financially of course, but emotionally. He’s sick and tired of writing about Medium.

So Tom, this next bit of advice is for you, and all the people who are trying to emulate you by writing their own Medium focused posts.

You should always write for yourself AND others!

So, what does this mean?

Remember the movie ‘A Beautiful Mind’. In the bar scene a blond woman walks in with her brunette friends…

Haven’t seen it? Watch it here.

In this scene, John Nash, played by Russel Crowe, explains:

“The best result would come from everyone in the group doing what’s best for himself AND the group.”

Writing for yourself…

We’re all writers because we like to write.

But we became writers because we’re passionate about the world inside our mind — so passionate, we want to share it with others.

However, sometimes we simply brain dump, and these brain dumps are best saved for private journals. These journals are the opposite end of the scale to ‘Medium how to guides’.

As writers, it’s important we find a balance.

In practice…

The best way I have found to balance the scale is by following this method:

Story + Lesson = Great Blog Post

Start with a story. It doesn’t have to be life-changing but tell it well, and you’ll hook your audience. Look around your life. Once you’re consciously taking notice, you’ll start to see there are post ideas everywhere. Recently, I’ve written posts about walking the dogs and cooking a bbq. Not the most interesting tasks if you talk about them alone.

But if, in telling your story, you also walk your readers through a lesson… you’ve turned a walk in the park into something so much more.

A story is just a story, and they’re often forgettable. But when you give your readers something to take away, you and your content become memorable.

And as writers on Medium, isn’t that what we all want?

Try it… let me know how it goes.

P.S. I hope you find your balance again soon Tom. You’re a great writer, I’m sure it won’t take much.

Want to build your own blog?

Read my step-by-step guide to building your own lifestyle blog here.

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