How to be Successful on Medium without Really Trying

This past week I experienced something I never experienced before on Medium. A  successful and popular article .

Cue the confetti.

In this article, I will detail every methodical step I took to achieve sheer popularity on Medium. How I received acceptance from my fellow writers. I will write how this validation finally made me no longer doubt myself as a writer. Now I write like never before. No writer’s block. No fear. Just pure energetic writing.

Of course, that is all a pile of stinking bullshit.


‘Adaptation’ (2002) © Columbia Pictures. All rights reserved.

I have been writing on Medium for a few years. More or less, off and on.  I treated writing as a hobby instead of a dream of one day fulfilling.

It wasn’t until 2018 I resolved to write more. Right now my goal is four blog posts a month, or if possible, one a week. So far, since February of this past year, I have been able to reach that goal.

Writing became a more significant goal for myself. For a long time, it has been in the back of my mind. Gnawing at my brain to stop thinking about being a writer. I needed to commit and execute. I have already written a novel which I like to remind others of this accomplishment if rarely to myself. But I have done very little since then. Was it a fluke? Was it all for naught?

A friend of mind pounded out over a dozen novels the same time I published my first. His example should have inspired me, but didn’t. I will always regret not taking the free time I once had to sit and write. Write to my heart’s content. To live and breathe the written word.

It is known.

Which lead me to the following conclusion.


One morning I woke up with a revelation about my writing. I realized I had stopped writing consistently. When at one point I had been productive enough to write an entire  novel Now, I was unable to complete even a  five hundred-worded blog post.  How did I ever sink so low?

Why not write about that, then? Write about the struggle of writer’s block and over coming it. Writer’s block is often addressed as an esoteric obstacle every creative individual experiences. There were many articles on how to write and how to get started. But few discussed what do to when you get stuck. Or when you’ve already written something and find yourself unable to go any further.

I wrote the first draft and then headed over  The Writing Cooperative to share. There I received some excellent feedback via one of there Slack channels. Feedback from some other writers of the same mindset as myself. The same kind of people burning to light up a screen with words. Words about something. Words about anything. But words, nonetheless.

And then I published it. I got a few glances. But nothing more. I knew I had written a great article. But it was getting no hardly anyone took any notice for almost two weeks.

The Experiment


‘Weird Science’ (1985) © Universal Pictures. All rights reserved.

I then decided to run a small experiment with my little post. In Medium one can now change who can view their article after they publish. There is ‘free to the public,’ which allows anyone to read your article. Then there is a view where Medium’s paying members are given preference. Non-paying members can still view these articles, but they are only allowed to view no more than three Members Only articles a month.

I switched the Audience view from ‘free to the public’ to ‘available to paying members only.’ Within a day’s time, my article took off like a bolt of lightning.

Picture of the rapper known as Pitbull dancing.

The rapper known as Pitbull dancing.

I was as happy as rapper Pitbull, in a music video. Dale!

Paying Members Preferred

Medium features articles focused on those willing to pay for the membership program. But that was only half of it. The other part was ensuring I had an excellent story to write. Ensuring I had something to honest say. Thoughts I wanted to share.

No Filter

When I write without a filter I have discovered I am a better writer because of it. When I try to hold back or try to change something that isn’t true it shows. For me, dishonesty parallels with poor writing. If I am not authentic to the person typing these words, then those words will reveal nothing but bullshit.

I do not want to keep my writing for only paying members. But it is undeniable Medium is prioritizing articles for their paying members.

Understandable since they have no other way of gaining income at present.

We writers are lucky Medium is a place where no advertisement exists. No pop-ups. Only the pure an unadulterated field of writing. How long can we writers keep this playground for ourselves? How long will it be before it’s too late?

In the meantime, keep writing.


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About robisonwriter