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Writing for Medium could make you rich


After joining Medium’s Preferred Writers’ Program, or whatever it’s called, I decided to write a serious article, because that’s what serious paid writers, do, write?*

After carefully researching and constructing a cautionary think piece analyzing economic and real estate business cycles with predictions aimed at helping young people avoid some of the biggest pitfalls that have ruined so many people in the past, I sat back and waited to see how my efforts to help the world would be received.

After three weeks, I received the text below informing me of the payday for those hours of effort!

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Quickly, I began to calculate the life changing effects of Medium’s program. Over the last two and a half years, I have published 1,759 public stories. With this kind of audience response, I could earn $536.61, a most handsome sum (in comparison to working for free).

Now, don’t get excited yet, because there are a number of questions to consider before embarking on your new career as a professional blogger.

#1: Do you have the time?

It would be impossible for me to write at this rate if my kids were not grown up. If you’ve read my past work, you would now that I spent most of my time designing X-Men cartoon birthday invitations using state-of-the-art video capture software from the mid-1990s, building indestructible piñatas in the form of BeBop (a villian from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon), practicing my preferred martial arts discipline of pool-jitsu on my sons, or getting drenched by a water roller coaster at Magic Mountain.

#2: Do you have something valuable to share?

Okay, maybe we should just skip that question, as I’m not qualified to answer it. As I’ve sung in the past about blogging,

That ain’t workin’ that’s the way you do it
Shekels for nothin’ and your dreck for free

#3: Can you type really, really fast?

On a computer, not a phone. You can’t expect to bang out as much stuff as me without having excellent typing skills (not to me ntion havig no shmae abuot typoz).

#4 Do you have the stamina?

It takes a lot of work to write every day until you have a finished story to publish. Einstein described time as follows:

“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.”

In the same vein, as I write my stuff, it feels like I’m sharing nuggets of wisdom, humor and sports acumen with my readers in a few well crafted words. You, faithful reader (and I’m referring to you, my only reader, who I’ll address later) probably feel like you are wading through a billion words. it doesn’t take an Einstein to realize how much I need to thank my faithful reader.

#5 Do you have the readership?

Medium’s preferred writer program is based on how much response you get from readers who pay for a Medium subscription. From a business perspective, you need to have a larger following of paid subscribers in order to turn a profit. I would need to “sell” over 16 articles per month in order to pay for my $5 monthly subscription, so you can understand why I have declined to subscribe as it would kill the net returns on my blogging business.

#6 Can you cultivate your readership into a large group of loyal followers?

Based on my market research, the 31¢ I earned last month is attributable to my most loyal (and only) reader, the inestimable Tribune of Medium, the great and mighty Gutbloom. For my income projections to work, he would have to applaud six times for each of those1,759 stories when I choose to lock them. I’m not sure I could make enough in writing fees to pay him to find and applaud 10,554 times. My advice is to get a lot more friends.


If I could get 1,000 friends to click six times for each locked story I write, that would net me $331. This is beginning to sound like a pretty good idea.

However, it does bring up one question about the sharing economy. Assuming we could build a group of 1,000 writer-subscribers who applaud six times for each writer’s story, each person would earn $331 for their story. That’s a total of $331,000 in income being generated by 1,000 writer-subscribers each paying $5 per month for a total contribution of $5000.

I’m not sure that would be a sustainable business model.

Call me crazy, but I’m guessing Ev Williams started the preferred writing program to make money. My advice is to get a lot of rich friends who are okay with you taking advantage of them.

Or, you could just write and share stuff for free on Medium with new online friends and learn about perspectives completely outside of your consciousness, because there are other ways to become rich.

*(Note: my normal persona is far more interested in bad puns, and making fun of content marketers who specialize in click bait titles like the one I wrote. Thanks for reading. You can save your six claps for my next locked article. For the promise of 50 claps, I will take requests and write personalized fiction and non-fiction articles. Here’s a sample:)

When all hope was lost, a figure strode through the smoke of the battle like a god-like apparition. The surviving troops cheered as the mighty (YOUR NAME HERE) floated toward the front lines. Sporting a highly fashionable cut away cuirass of questionable protection, (YOUR NAME HERE)’s shimmering abs rippled with each gliding step. And in the hope that spread through the hearts of the soldiers as they reformed their ranks to follow (YOUR NAME HERE), there also grew a mounting desire, not to avenge their fallen brothers, but that stiff, unbending passion that blood and death only engorges. Every soldier’s eye was on the lithe form of sinuous muscles leading the advance. They either wanted to be with (YOUR NAME HERE) or be (YOUR NAME HERE). And the chance to live that fantasy drove them forward against impossible odds…

(YOUR NAME HERE) saw the faint outlines of the enemy formation and turned to address the troops, holding up a holy parchment inscribed with ancient runes:

For he who sheds his blood with me

shall be my brother, and share with me

this buy one, get one free

at Applebee’s!”

(YOUR NAME HERE) lifted the great sword Ballbreaker and pointed it at the enemy. With a roar that shook the very earth, the soldiers charged and began a battle that would change the course of mankind (to be continued)

Written by

Ad agency creative director, writer & designer at Former pro tennis player and peak performance coach for professional athletes.

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