The Rising Levels of Medium
If there’s one complaint I hear most often on Medium, it’s that writers can feel as though they’re stuck in one place as a contributer.
For many, it can seem as though your value is set at a certain number. For example, if you’re attracting 3 fans a day — that’s your lot in life.
When people feel as though they’re confined to their Medium fate, they feel discouraged from continuing to write.
They imagine themselves in a year, still writing everyday and being rewarded with the same 3 fans every day. The same pennies paycheque every month.
This way of thinking isn’t just discouraging, it’s selling yourself short.
As time passes, your skills improve and your value on the platform increases.
People discover you, and others who discovered you a long time ago come to trust you.
Because of this, I believe there is a steady progression system happening naturally within Medium, on which we all place.
I believe we’re all somewhere on the scale, our placement determined by how long we’ve written, and what we choose to write.
So where do you place?
Page: Level 1
The Page has started on Medium very recently.
This person has under 15 stories on their profile, and is seeing very little or no audience engagement.
It can feel very lonely at this level. This is the level where you’re most likely to try anything.
You plaster your stories all over Facebook and Twitter feeds, then feel frustrated that nothing is sticking.
Don’t worry, your audience is coming. Try not to overthink, your job at this level is only to write and to engage.
Find other writers and engage in meaningful discussion. Join the Medium Facebook groups and chat with the rest of us.
You should also be a Medium subscriber, and should be contributing to the stories of those around you. (By clapping and commenting).
Your generosity of attention will build you good karma that will be repaid when others come and check out your work.
While your earliest work will be the least viewed, it will also be your worst. So take comfort in knowing that you’re getting the bad out of the way nice and early to make way for the great.
And don’t write stories such as ‘How I got accepted into 10 Publications in 10 Days’ or other such helpful articles.
You yourself are in the foetus stage, so if you’d like to talk about your journey, write about how and why you got started.
Tell us about your early stats and why you write what you write, this is something we genuinely want to know. As time goes by and you learn more from doing, you’ll find more ways to help the rest of us grow.
But most of all, write about your passions. This is the time to find your voice and grow the areas you thrive in most.
Apprentice: Level 2
This is an exciting level to reach, but can also feel like a level that drags on forever.
Your audience interaction has grown. Where you were once getting a fan every few days, you’re now getting them reliably every single day.
This is huge.
You always told your friends that if you could only get a single fan reliably every day, you’d be happy.
You’ve achieved your goal! But you’re not as happy as you thought you’d be.
Waiting for those fans every day is excruciating. You haven’t yet worked out how self-destructive it is to watch your stats, so you watch them all day long.
Whenever your phone dings you leap up to check whether someone has clapped for a story.
Being clapped for is everything to you, so if evening arrives and you’ve not yet had an interaction that day, depression can start to seep in.
It’s at this level that people feel the most frustrated, and it doesn’t help that it seems to last forever.
All I can say is that you’ve got to hold on, and stop checking your damn stats so damn much. Leave them alone, and turn off Medium notifications.
Allow yourself to be reminded of your stats only when you’re ready. Build up the mental fortitude before confronting yourself with the possibility of no engagement.
This will sound ridiculous to those who haven’t experienced the empty chasm of writing into the void, but it’s serious. We all want to be heard.
Journeyman: Level 3
The Journeyman is a level that’s as refreshing as a tall glass of ice cold water.
Finally, interaction is coming all day long. Maybe you have dead hours through the day, but you can often open your app and find claps or comments several times a day.
Stories you’ve written hold traction. People actually read them, and each article attracts several comments.
For the first time, you’re beginning to think that people aren’t charity clapping to be supportive. You’re finally being read by people that see you as a writer.
At this level you’ve gained a voice, and that voice carries weight.
This means you’re going to start getting the first of your criticism, and that moment isn’t fun.
When you say something and that something comes with an ass-load of claps, that means something. People are going to look into your research, and if there’s holes, they’ll find them.
Now that your articles make a slight impact on the world, it matters when what you say makes no sense. It’s now time to research thoroughly, and stop writing as if your opinion is the only one out there.
It’s time to take things seriously.
Things are much better now, but everyone has their problems.
Your new stress-point is money.
You wonder how so much story interaction converts into so few dollars. Where before making a dollar here or there was thrilling, it’s now infuriating.
You wonder why you bring all these people to the site, just for Medium to take all the meat off the bone.
It’s here that some people will quit the site and try their hand at blogging once again.
Almost all of them will fail, then they’ll return to Medium with their tale between their legs and a brand new level 1 card.
Instead of doing that, hang in there and keep pushing forward.
Level 4 and Beyond…
At none of these levels does it make sense to rage-quit and try your hand elsewhere.
Most of us are here because we blogged for years and it sucked. No one cared, and your voice was seldom heard.
Here on Medium, we share an enormous audience that doesn’t need to leave the site to find you. The opportunity is here, the only thing standing between you and success is time, patience and skill building.
So which level are you?
Are you a Level 4 or beyond? Or are you still in the early days? I’d love to know your thoughts.
Understanding your level gives you a feeling of comradely around your struggles. You’re not alone, we’re all here to support each other and grow together.
I’m shooting for Level 10! Will you be joining me there?