How Much Money I Made in My First 30 Days on Medium
Sorry about the title. Having looked around a bit, it seems those titles are the ones that get the clicks. If you feel like I’ve stolen something away from you, well I can cut this story short. It was $1.49.
But if you would like to stick around a bit I’d like to tell you what it’s taught me.
My writing journey started about a year ago. I found that writing helped me articulate and in most cases, find my thoughts. Sometimes you can have unresolved conversations in your head. Sticking in on paper, or rather typing it in Pages, helped me resolve some of those thoughts. Not all, don’t get me wrong. But it helped me form a narrative around the things I was thinking, to understand why I was thinking certain things and how to go about resolving them. I’m being cryptic. Let me be transparent. From finishing Uni up until a year ago I was very perplexed about the working world. I thought I would turn up day one and have it sussed. There was no thought in my mind that entertained the idea that I might not like my job. I never really thought about the notion of spending time trying to figure out what I liked to spend my time doing. To be honest, I never really thought past getting a graduate scheme. I treated it like a tick-box exercise. Something I achieved and to then be revisited on my first day. I didn’t think about work once between getting my graduate scheme and starting.
And what was I to think? How would I know anything before starting?
Well it turns out, as I’ve learnt, work is difficult. You will start work and it’s completely different than what we are used to. It’s hard to adjust in every way imaginable. So my outlet, eventually, was writing. I started writing a book to give graduates just starting out all the lessons I’d learnt. Like the passing of a torch in some ways. But in most ways I just wanted people to realise that, actually, this work thing is quite hard. I wanted people just starting out to know that you won’t get it right straight the way. You’ll say stupid stuff, you’ll get scared to send an email, you won’t get promoted within 5 minutes and that’s all fine. You’ve got a lifetime to perfect work. But after 50,000 words of that book I realised I didn’t have an audience. And that’s when writing articles came into my life.
And so, what have I learnt…with the cavat that I got paid $1.49 for about 70 hours work.
#1 It feels great
“People tend to find books when they are ready for them.” ― Neil Gaiman
There is probably no better feeling that making money out of something that you are passionate about. But on that note, I don’t think you find passions. They are not hidden down the side of the sofa like a £1 coin. I think you find something that takes your interest, you invest time, you create a relationship with that thing and it becomes a passion.
I am genuinely over the moon that I got $1.49 — that means I get to call myself a paid writer. I mean, I think I’m probably getting a little overexcited about this whole thing. One of my articles got over 200 views and I cried with happiness. See the highest line on that graph, that’s the day I cried with happiness. Maybe this whole lockdown situation is getting my emotions in a little bit of a knot but I am genuinely absolutely buzzing with making $1.49.
#2 It gives me confidence
My article reads in the last 30 days. It started well and then went down hill but that’s cool.
Look I know this writing thing is a long game. And I have no proof that I am in the long game — I’ve been doing it 30 days but it’s quite exciting to know that my stuff is being read and that people like the content. Sure it might only be 40–50 views here but that’s fantastic. 40–50 people that’s like two buses full of people listening to little me. I’m enjoying it, it’s fun and my stuff is being read. That is literally my definition of success for right now.
#3 It’s easier if you make it a habit
When I first started I was struggling to do 2 articles a week. I loved to write but I couldn’t quite figure out my rhythm. And like everything I’m learning these days, a lot of the art is in the detail. Figuring out what works for me to get to the sweet spot of producing an article a day was my mission for a while. So I experimented. I love experiments, they are not only what I do as a day job but it’s what drew me to studying science at University. Experimenting gives us raw data, truth, to then make decisions on. So I experimented with writing in the morning, in the evening and later on in the evening. I tried it on different days to make sure nothing was skewing the data. And I found for me, writing is clearer in the morning.
So I wrote in the morning for a little bit. And now? Well it feels weird if I don’t write in the morning. That’s the beauty or should I say, power, of habits.
#4 Formatting, formatting, formatting
Email from Medium after I took the whole formatting thing a little more seriously.
I used to write and not care for how it looked on the page. People are judging my words not how it looks aren’t they? Well, we are human aren’t we, we have mental shortcuts to help us get through a million decisions in a day. One of those shortcuts is ‘if it looks scruffy, it’s probably not worth reading’. It’s the same reason, for a long time, we were told to dress to impress. First glances count. Chances are, people read just like you do. Quick scan and then get into the meat of the article. Just like in a restaurant, if your food comes out and it’s thrown together, we assume it doesn’t taste good. If your writing lacks formatting the assumption is it doesn’t read well.
#5 Day by day, a system
Writing has taught me to slow down. It’s giving me the time to drink in what’s happening all around me, digest it and articulate my thoughts. I’ve seen an improvement in the way I articulate things in general too. My thoughts seem clearer and my arguments stronger.
It’s taught me to appreciate the little things, to be patient (this isn’t a gift I possess naturally) and to soak in what’s happening every day. Not wish for tomorrow or run to the weekend. Just day by day.
So in summary? Writing for the last 30 days has been wonderful. It’s taught me heaps, it’s given me a stiller outlook on life and I’ve got enough dollar to buy a 99p cheeseburger from McDonalds. Pretty great if you ask me.