Protect Your Writing
I’ve been doing the Medium thing for almost a year now, and by this point, I know the drill.
We write stories, then submit them to publications for consideration. While they’re considering, we write other stories that can either be published immediately by friendly publications, published independently, or onto our own publications.
For the past few months, I’ve been publishing exclusively to my own beloved publications, because that’s what I felt like doing.
For the most part, everything I do on Medium I do because I feel like it, and no other reason.
I don’t consider this a job; I consider this a fun activity that’s a perfect wind-down after I’m released from my job each day.
Honestly, I don’t know why some people treat this platform as a job; I come here to relax.
Do you ever notice those publications with the decor that looks like every PPT you’ve ever seen presented at a business meeting? Nothing makes me unfollow faster than the feeling that I’m back at work.
Regardless of how high my earnings get, I’ll never treat money earned on the Medium platform as anything but a bonus. That’s why I plan on using a portion of my February Medium earnings to finance my stock buying experiment. If this platform were to become my job, where would I get the money for my ludicrous experiments? My job??
Also, where would I go to relax? The beach??
What a nightmare.
But I digress, I’ve been treating this platform very casually over the past nine months, and only yesterday did I pay the price.
A couple of weeks ago my stats started to go into decline after a stellar couple of months, so I took that as a sign to once again begin submitting to outside publications.
For the past few days, I’ve been putting together a guide for people who want to become self-employed. The story runs the reader through several considerations the average 21 year old may not take into account while preparing for the transition to self employment.
I’ve tried a lot of things in my life and wanted to pass down the wisdom of the elders.
After finally finishing the story and editing it, I submitted it to a relevant publication and went to sleep.
Once morning arrived, I woke up to a horrible message from a reader and friend of mine. The story had gone live on the publication, but everything after the introduction had been deleted.
I checked the story, and this was indeed the case, my immediate feeling was of nausea. I instinctively checked my Pages app, but it was a waste of time. I had written the story on the Medium platform, and there was no backup. The story was lost.
I emailed the editor of the publication, an email that was regrettably forward and somewhat rude. I asked the editor to explain himself and to tell me whether his careless mistake could be reversed.
All credit to this editor, he replied very calmly and respectfully. He explained that my story was the victim of a common glitch on the platform and that with only three clicks, the glitch could be reversed.
It turns out that if Medium ruins your article with one of its many exciting glitches, you can simply go to Edit story, then See revision history. Once inside your revision history, you only need to select a version of your story that doesn’t have the glitch.
Thanks to the quick thinking of this editor, my story was saved. But the glitch that caused my story to be temporarily deleted is one of many potential things that can go wrong.
The majority of the time when something is deleted, it’s gone forever. What I should have done is back the story up myself, and I should have started by writing the story on a third-party app, like Pages.
The Scary Cloud
These days, Pages is able to automatically save your work to the cloud. I know that sounds scary for us cronies, but it just means that the story is extra safe.
You can drop your laptop into the ocean, go buy a new one, and the story will be safe and sound on the new laptop. That’s all you need to know about the cloud.
Another thing I could have done was back it up on Grammarly. Except for when I write on my phone (rarely), I run all my stories through Grammarly before publishing. I don’t take a lot of Grammarly’s advice, but I still ask for its opinion anyway.
With Grammarly, you have the option of opening a new document to copy your story into, and the program will save it for you, providing yet another backup.
If you’re a lazy ass (like me), you’ll delete your previous story and copy the new story on top and save all of 10 seconds. Don’t be an ass, make a new document every time.
The Medium Failsafe
The last way you can protect yourself is by regularly backing up all the Mediums stories that are live on your profile. That way if the internet disappears tomorrow or Medium goes belly-up (like Vine), you’ll still have all your hard work safe on your computer.
Backing up everything you’ve ever written is easily done, and this is how.
On the Medium home page, click your little profile picture in the top right-hand corner of the screen. (Computer version of Medium only).
When the menu comes up, scroll down to Settings and click on it.
Scroll down the Settings page until you see Account. Under Account, you can see Your username, Allow private notes, Manage blocked users, Download your information.
To the right of Download your information you will see the button Download .zip click on that.
You’ll now see a new page titled Download your information. Under a wall of text, you’ll see the Export button. Click that.
Now wait a few minutes, then check your email.
You’ll have received an email with a download link, click the link, and it will download all your Medium stories onto your computer in a zip file.
Click the folder you’ve downloaded, inside will be another folder called posts, your stories are all in there.
By using a combination of writing on a third-party app, using new Grammarly files every time, and backing up your stories from the site; you can avoid losing all your hard work.
Never make the mistake of undervaluing what you’re putting out into the world every time you write a story for the platform. Your life experience and opinion is precious to someone, and you’re responsible for your message. It’s on you to ensure that your message arrives to your reader safe and sound. So back up your treasures and keep them safe, you never know what’s around the corner.