4 Reasons I Write A Post A Day On Medium (Just For Fun)

Sometimes Non-Monetary Payoffs DO Matter For Creators

Since discovering Medium.com, I’ve become a big fan of the platform.

At the risk of repeating what I wrote here yesterday (or was that the day before, already?) Medium has been just about the first platform for which I have violated my hitherto commitment to attempt to only use my own tech whenever I create a significant data pool.

It’s a SaaS platform. I don’t control it. Medium could arbitrarily choose to take down my account here — even though I really hope that they don’t. My solution? Take rigorous backups of all my writing and try to stop worrying so damn much.

I don’t actually write a post here every single day but I have consistently published a few a week since joining. The content I share here isn’t paywalled and is (thus) non-monetized. But…. why? Well, here are a few reasons.

I Have To Write To Be Happy. Whether Somebody’s Paying Me To Do So Or Not Is — To An Extent — Immaterial*

Writing is a big part of what I do professionally. During my brief and illustrious* career to date — which has spanned in-house and self-employed roles — it always has been.

Although I hold a degree in journalism and worked briefly in the field (initially as a freelance; later as the copy editor at a newspaper), I never really ended up managing to make a career as a reporter.

Instead, like many, I went over to the “dark side” — of communications, public relations, and marketing. The reasons? By falafel and pita alone man doesn’t live (that’s the Israeli equivalent of the better known phrase regarding bread.)

In addition to pita and falafel my career in self-employed marketing has paid me enough to buy these ridiculous speakers and everything else in these photos (minus the roof and walls, sadly). Photo: author.

While I’ve (mostly) succeeded in making enough money to keep myself sated with falafel, pita, and ridiculously overpowered speakers for my modest video editing needs (see above), there’s a small part of me that has to find fulfillment through creative channels in order to be happy.

Something I read once by somebody wise on some website has stuck with me ever since (sadly, sources aren’t coming to me fluidly at this hours). Creatives don’t need to create. They have to create. In order to feel happy.

Another thought which I have always connected with: getting into the flow state. Nothing gets me there quicker or more reliably than sitting down at a page (or its digital equivalent).

If I go too long without getting my thoughts down in writing, or in video, or in audio, I get cranky — much as one does when not eating for that amount of time (you should see me after a triple whammy of insufficient sleep, insufficient food, and insufficient creative output; it’s not a pretty sight).

The format the output takes matters much less than the finished product. It would be nice to get paid even for writing I undertake for fun (beer money is always appreciated around these parts). But I’m not prepared to do so if that means greatly curtailing something about the experience — and in the case of Medium paywall-ing would mean greatly limiting the reach of my articles here.

Some see writing as a chore. For them, I can understand why wanting to write for fun would seem inexplicable. I find it a delight. Different folks and all that.

(*Please don’t show this article to my clients!)

(** Long time readers have probably already understood that a large chunk of what I write is intended sarcastically, at least in part.)

It Gives Me A Break From Writing About Things Others Want Me To Write About — But Which Don’t Always Fuel My Creative Fire

On any given day of the business week, my professional endeavors will typically see me writing at least something for somebody else for some chunk of cash.

The cash payment gets reinvested into activities such as paying rent, keeping fed, and purchasing the odd pair of speakers, as aforementioned. Creative reinvesting — of a kind.

Ask anybody who has turned a passion into a profession — recently, I learned that even includes filmmakers — and they will likely tell you that their relationship to their craft changed the moment folks started paying money for it.

So it is for me.

I choose my clients — or try to — on the basis of whether the work is congruous with my ethical standards (90% is, but there’s been a chunk of work I’ve turned down that isn’t). And, of course, whether the client is prepared to pay me enough for it to be worth my time (sadly, in today’s writing market, that cuts out another chunk).

Beyond that, I do the typical business-y things. Like determining whether I can actually bring sufficient value to this prospective client.

Thus — like most people who write professionally — I sometimes end up writing about things that I’m not ravenously passionate about. About topics that I didn’t and probably wouldn’t have chosen but they’re important to the client for strategic reasons. Until I can find a well-disposed patron, this is the way I know to pay my bills. And so it is for most writers.

Writing about things that are true passions of mine — even topics as obscure as Linux backups — gives me a break from all that. It may sound like a busman’s holiday, but I find it refreshing. It gives the creative fire I mentioned a top-off. So that when the next week rolls around I can give my paying clients my full enthusiasm.

I’m Slightly Morbid And Want My Ideas To Outsurvive Me

Recently, I’ve begun taking my content creation in the direction of video. Feel free to follow me on YouTube. Photo: author (shooting video at the Gazelle Valley in Jerusalem).

Now here’s one you may not have been expecting.

The first time I realized that keeping one eye on … you know …. wasn’t all that weird was when a friend kindly gifted me a book about Stoicism.

The Stoics were big into using periodic reflection upon … you know, I still can’t write the word … in a manner that you could regard as constructive.

Believe it or not, this is one of the reasons that — when a thought comes to mind, even one that’s unlikely to be popular — I try to get it out in some format. What if — G-d forbid — I get hit by a bus tomorrow? Before that thought could have reached somebody?

Writing — or any mechanism that shares ideas — is a powerful thing. It can influence. Inspire. Outrage. Solidify people around movements.

Here’s something to reflect upon.

Think about those who have made an impression on the world and changed the course of history. The inventors. The authors. The politicians.

Disproportionately, they were writers, prolific readers, or both. Dare we call some of them “content creators” by reference to today’s lexicon?

Our societies need brain surgeons, accountants, and airport baggage handlers in order to function. But some people — especially those of the curious bend — get their kicks out of asking questions, reporting on what’s going on in the world, and investigating things we believe are ‘up.’

We also draw our strength from being the voice for those who are unable to raise it; for serving as the vital conduit between those with information in the public interest and the mechanisms that get that information to the public; and for explaining the world as we encounter it, which is often different than the person reading our work (it has to be; we all see the world through our own unique lens).

Damn, I think I want to get back into journalism.

Writing— Or Any Kind Of Creative Enterprise — Is A Great Way To Kindle Relationships

Among the writers and content creators of this world I may currently be in the D League, but I do pick up a somewhat steady stream of comments, quotes, and other signs that indicate that people out there are actually reading what I write.

Sometimes, these make my day. At other times, they’re hurtful. Sometimes even downright insulting. But I’d still take even the latter than nobody reading my output.

Writing — or any form of “content” creation — is also a terrific way to kindle relationships.

This is (incidentally) another reason why the articles I publish here aren’t paywalled.

I have no idea what my payout from the Medium Partner Program would look like (this month, my stats dashboard tells me that I have about 16,000 views), but I tend to think that it would be less than the average monthly value of even one paying client.

As, for the most part, I don’t proposition for work here (exception: I publish a small volume of content marketing), I tend to see the most value in the relationships that my writing here kicks off.

Folks get in touch. Drop me an email. I pick up pen pals. I enjoy the uncertainty of what even this nebulous kind of “opportunity” could create. It all operates on the fundamental law of attraction: you get back from the world what you put into it. And if you put out nothing, it’s hard to kindle a community of any kind.

Daytime: tech-focused MarCom. Night-time: somewhat regular musings here. Or the other way round. Likes: Linux, tech, beer. https://www.danielrosehill.com