Writers, Stop Chasing the Next Big Thing
When I first joined Medium, it was on a whim. I’d already moved on from a full-time job and was trying to figure out how to make a little extra $$ while working on a novel.
I ran across a YouTube video touting the potential earnings. I don’t remember the influencer’s name, but she had a hefty YouTube following. She used her knowledge and niche interests to throw together a few posts, making a sizeable amount of money on her product reviews.
At first blush, the process seemed simple. Pick a niche — in her case, high-end gadgets and novelty items — and document your experience. Do it right and the rewards would manifest themselves.
I was intrigued. I’ve been writing since childhood and working in a professional capacity for 20+ years. Feeling hopeful I’d finally found something to supplement my creative efforts, I joined Medium’s Partner Program, spent an inordinate amount of time crafting my first post, and finally got up the nerve to share it with the world.
My life was in transition, and I was more than a little anxious about the future. I fretted over every word, which images to choose, and the text for my heading and subheading.
Posting on Medium and learning its mechanics wasn’t difficult. I quickly pinned down the basics —the proper way to credit photos, when to use the quotation feature, how to submit my work to publications. But I still tiptoed through my first round of posts, trying to be informative while shunning the business writing mechanics that once made up my very existence.
I searched for topics that seemed to be on everyone’s mind. And when I did branch out a bit — writing on things like fantasy hockey and parenting — I quickly returned to the basics because those topics did not generate any traction.
I was following the crowd, trying to emulate what was hot so I could avoid fully immersing myself in what I produced. I wanted a clear-cut, tried-and-true approach that only required me to show up at my computer, slap a few words on the page, and focus on my novel while the moolah poured in.