Are you new on Medium, and want to learn how to become a successful writer?
I’ve been a successful copywriter in the real world (commercials, ads, and those old relics known as brochures), and wanted to share some of that knowledge with you to make your journey easier.
This article is not a joke. It carries my sincerity certification seal. I designed one, just for cases like this, if people don’t take me seriously.
I did a Medium search for “Medium writing guide” and struck pay dirt. Then I mined the vein and came up with a fistful of golden nuggets to share with you.
Yes, I CURATED this list of resources. Take that, Medium.
As you will see, the following 11 resources were not written by me, although there are a couple of questions you might ask where I am qualified to answer.
Do you want a personal list of do’s and don’ts? Try this list from an old friend, Slk.🎈.
This is more of a bible of good writing behaviors, etiquette, and common sense. If you’re looking for ways to hack Medium, you won’t find it here.
My Personal Writing Guide For Medium
Not everyone will be interested in everything you have to say (or anything). Write it anyway.
My favorite piece of advice is #9: Always assume you could be a better writer. In other words, be open to constructive criticism, search out good writing coaches (there are a few on this site who have taught me a lot — see footnotes), and start using online editing tools like Grammarly or the Hemingway editor.
If you want an idealized style guide, check out this article by Quincy Larson.
The granddaddy of them all, this guide was written back in the days of the green hearts. Over five thousand people have either recommended or clapped for this article.
A style guide for writing on Medium
After spending more than 1,000 hours writing and editing stories for our Medium publication, I’ve decided to create…
I said idealized because what you might see today on Medium may not have much correlation to what was written back then, especially his quaint take on headlines: “Don’t use clickbait. Don’t use listicles. Do tell the truth.”
Do you want to learn how to use all the functions and features of Medium’s software?
I wrote three practical guides for writers on this website because nobody wants to wade through Medium’s help center. I recorded all the lessons I learned the hard way.
Part One is about the difference between stories and responses, private notes, hiding responses, and blocking people.
Part Two is about how to engage with other writers through responding, highlighting, following, and mentoring new writers. It also discusses problems with the algorithm and how they affect your feed.
Part Three is all about creating writing archives and publications. As you start to build up a writing portfolio on Medium, you will need ways to categorize and catalog your articles.
Are you inspired to start working at the craft of becoming a better writer?
Check out these excellent resources to improve your writing.
Do you want advice on how to format your article? (The answer is “Yes,” you want to learn how to format.)
This is an excellent guide to creating articles that look professional by the folks at The Startup.
16 tricks to turn your Medium drafts into beautiful looking stories
A mini-guide to formatting your writing on Medium.
Even though I already did most of the steps they recommend, I had never thought of a custom divider to brand your work. You’ll see mine at the bottom.
Do you want advice on how to make money on Medium? Here are two articles that are the least bad that I’ve found.
There will be some contradictions and hyperbole, but these lengthy guides contain a lot of helpful information. Just don’t believe everything as gospel, because it’s not. Especially this clickbait headline:
An Infallible Guide: How You Can Be a Top Medium Writer — Key Learnings From My Experience
During my first year writing on Medium, I was fortunate enough to be in the top 10% of readers and writers on the…
This one is more like a complete handbook, going through every step of the process.
Do you want to mock the Medium algorithm? If you are frustrated with your progress, it’s time to laugh with the great Henry Wismayer.
Henry is doing far more meaningful writing since he wrote his comedy manifestos for Medium in 2015–2016, but I will never forget his satire of the self-help gurus who dominate the platform.
If you are already sick of the self-help pablum that clogs your feed, this is cynic’s guide pokes holes in all that “intellectually lightweight condescension.”
If the promises of limitless self-improvement make you want to vomit, you will love his responses with gems like “You can be a genius, even if you’re catastrophically stupid,” and “Never sleep, ever.”
Do you want to see how well Medium’s lottery winners are doing? Here’s a summary of money earned by writers on Medium.
Here’s one that talks about how much money writers make. It has some interesting stats that give some insight into how much some articles and authors make. But the Medium algorithm has changed a lot since August, so I don’t know how if a lot of these numbers are still relevant.
Did that make you desperate for inspiration and the possibility of hacking Medium?
Some of the articles in these resources feature inspiring messages, some feature valuable writing tips, and some feature sales pitches. Caveat Emptor
The Writing Cooperative
A writing community and publication focused on helping each other write better.
Do you want to learn about the dark underbelly of Medium and all the ways the system promises you everything and delivers almost nothing?
And so, we’ve come full circle.
In the span of a single article, you’ve gone from shiny innocent newbie to dedicated apprentice, to confused and frustrated journeyman, to angry and disillusioned master.
Fear not, there is always humor, online camaraderie, and the pride of learning your craft.
You can console yourself here.
You will find the answer to the question, “To write or not to write.”
You will learn the truth about the algorithm, your terrible feed, powerful headline writing, how to write Featured Articles, “Today’s best stories, picked by our editors”, Medium’s most powerful money-making force, what the Russians are doing, how to become a better writer and the difference between good and hack writing, and how to write what people will love to read.
All that, and much, much more!
It may take you a few weeks to get through all the information shared today. Just make sure that writing remains a source of joy and creativity. Good luck on your journey and remember…
There’s nothing you can’t do with 30,000 social media followers behind you!
[And cue personal branding icon divider]