Should I focus on quantity or quality when writing on Medium?

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How do you find writing so much content? I love Medium, and am working hard to increase my quality AND output, but I also fear I will just end up on a content hamster wheel. I just wondered what your thoughts were around that…

— Chelsey

When it comes to writing on Medium, there are three factors for success. First, you must write well. Secondly, you must write consistently. Third, you must be willing to play by Medium’s rules.

I’ve successfully leveraged these three abilities and routinely make over $1,000 per month writing on Medium.

But one of the questions I get a lot – and really well summarized by Chelsey above – is how to balance the first two. How do you write well and write a lot? How do you make sure you’re not just churning out content for the sake of it?

All blogs require quality and quantity – Medium especially

Of course, if you want to be a successful blogger, you need to write well – that’s why people like what you write – and frequently, so they keep coming back for more. But on Medium it’s more important to do both. Why?

On Medium, you don’t have to stick to a specific niche. You can write about whatever you want, whether it’s cryptocurrency one day and cats the next. People follow you for your voice, rather than expertise on any given topic. This is what makes quality super important.

Secondly, there’s the aspect of “curation.” Curation is where Medium curators look at your story and decide it’s good. They then distribute it not only to your followers, but also to people who don’t follow you but follow that topic. The more times you manage to get curated, the better your odds are of increasing your following and growing your blog.

Other platforms don’t do this, so both these features make it extra important that your work is both good and consistent.

But wait, how do I do that?

Now I’ve explained why it’s important to manage both, I want to show you how you can do that. There’s so much pressure to churn out good content that sometimes you either get burned out of writing altogether, or you start producing low-quality work.

Let me get one thing straight: if you REALLY don’t want to write, don’t. If you try to force something out when you’re not feeling it, it will reflect in the quality of your work. Readers can tell when your heart isn’t in something.

You definitely don’t want to produce content for its own sake, but equally, you do need to push yourself to write even when you don’t feel like. That’s how you get good at putting out well-written pieces with a good level of frequency.

I found the best way to achieve this was this four-step process.

  1. Put myself in the way of good ideas, for example, Twitter. This ensures a constant flow of inspiration. I am convinced that people have good ideas all the time – it’s just important to know where to look!
  2. Put note-taking tools at my fingertips. I have the Medium app everywhere I go, and even if it’s just a headline idea,  you can still come back to develop it later. I have over 100 drafts just waiting for me if I’m actually out of ideas! A lot of times I get fabulous ideas when I’m chopping vegetables or on a run, and the app means I don’t lose that thought.
  3. Be OK with putting out work that isn’t perfect! This one was the hardest for me. If you can only spend half an hour per day writing a story? That’s fine! It doesn’t have to be super long or flawless, it just has to be out there. 
  4. If I really, really, REALLY don’t feel like writing? I don’t write. But I do try for at least five minutes with NO distractions. I often find that those five minutes are either enough to convince me I do actually want to write, to sort of get the juices flowing. And if not? I can at least tell myself I tried. 

Writing on Medium is a long game

In fact, writing in general is a long game. At the end of the day, quality matters more than quantity in my opinion, because five years from now, it won’t matter if you didn’t manage to write a new story on this Monday.

That being said, there are two important caveats to this.

One, you only get good at writing through contant mindful repetition, that is, trying to write well often. You have to be OK with writing mediocre content if you want to become really exceptional.

And two, frequently, our pursuit of perfection stands in our way of hitting the publish button. Yes, quality matters, but if you’ve written a story you’re passionate about, it’s far more important to get it out there than proofread it “just one more time.” Press publish already and gift the rest of the world your lovely, powerful, inspiring, emotional writing.

The recap: does quantity or quality matter more on Medium?

There is no easy answer, because both do – though I would argue that quality matters more in the long run. However, you can’t have one without the other. I got good at writing well, and writing fast, by doing it day in and day out for over a year.

To make sure you’re doing both as best as possible, make sure you’re often inspired, with the tools to write your ideas down. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt – even if you’re struggling, try for at least five minutes. And finally, don’t be afraid to publish something that isn’t perfect. As long as it’s heartfelt and not just a piece of content, your readers both present and future will appreciate your work.

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