Out of all the years I decided to join Medium, I pick 20-effing-20. The year where nothing makes sense. Honestly, when I put it like that, it sums up my experience on Medium to a T.
If you clicked on this article thinking it was going to teach you how to become successful on Medium, hard left, my friend. You will be sadly disappointed. However, if you clicked on this out of frustration at the absolute garbage that seems to make it to the curator section, I welcome you to the snarkasm show.
Grab some popcorn and let’s begin!
Am I the only one looking around this place wondering what the hell happened to writing?
Don’t get me wrong. There are some amazing writers on Medium.
The problem is they are also the ones to get the “I’m sorry. Your piece isn’t a good fit for our publication but we wish you the best of luck trying it elsewhere,” line of BS from bigger publications.
Here’s the problem with that: Nobody would mind getting that response if what they saw on bigger publications was phenomenal writing. We would all look at the content and know that we needed to step up our game.
But that’s not what happens.
Instead we got Bobby from the Bronx writing his heart out about institutionalized racism losing the spot to Becky from Boise who wrote about how her friend watched her pee.
And not only that — Bobby ends up with 345 claps to Becky’s 1138.
But, C’mon! In all fairness, Becky peeing is top literary genius, is it not? Surely Poe and Wadsworth would pale in comparison to content so engaging? Better luck next time Bobby. Maybe a little less heart and a lot more superficiality and you might get added as a writer.
You did your best, good buddy! You thought that actual intelligence and wit weaved with impeccable prose would assure you a slot in the Big Five, but you forgot that bleeding out is only appealing when attached with a surface level story that doesn’t go above my fifth grader’s vocabulary level.
You tried a little too hard, my friend.
I probably am coming off as a bit bitter. I’m not. Okay…maybe just a little.
I had my spot in a big publication. You can read that piece here. I poured out my heart and soul on that one. Unfortunately, I didn’t stay within the 5–7 minute time frame. Note to self: Most people don’t want to read anything longer than 5–7 minutes.
I just heard myself ask myself a question.
Me: “Did you say writers, that is, people who write and read books for pleasure, only want to read something 5–7 minutes long?”
Also Me: “I said what I said.”
I know you might be scratching your head. I did, too, at first, but it’s true. We truly are a culture of Sweet Browns:
And speaking of culture —
Quick! Let’s all be like one another so that none of us are unique and all that matters is that we figured out how to monetize the shit out of our writing.
Sign me up!
Gone are the days where we come up with witty titles that add depth to the profoundness of our pieces. Why make people work for the meaning when we can just spoon feed them everything? And while we are at it, let’s pick the click-baitiest (totally not a word) title we can come up with because who reads poignant pieces of work anymore?
Say, while you’re at it, don’t forget to take a class on marketing because you are going to need it. Think you can just write a piece and have it strike writerly gold? Well — unless you just ran into some crazy good luck, the chances of your piece blowing up is slim to none.
Hate to be the one to break it to ya, but you are going to have to join groups, network the hell out of yourself, and basically turn yourself into a marketing machine if you want to achieve the type of success you see promoted on Medium.
Here, have some more popcorn. You look like you need it.
Don’t worry, I’m winding down.
My point is this. You, me, we are the rebellion. Do we dumb ourselves down to make a few bucks? I mean, no judgment here. You do what you gotta do for you. But me? I’m on a different journey.
If Orwell were to return today and magically sit in front of one of my pieces, I would want to know that I wrote to the best of my ability. Mind you, I’m far from his brilliance, but I’d hold my head high knowing that I was true to myself.
How about you? Are you being true to yourself?
Maybe that’s how we keep breaking through — little by little, our heart and soul pieces seep through the cracks until eventually the artificial imposters have no choice but to rise up. I’m not asking for every piece to be mind-altering, but for effs sake — have a little bit of substance.
Stop feeding into the bullshit.
Write with integrity.