Medium, I’m Out.
The other day, a random thought came to my mind: “what would happen if I stopped writing on Medium?” I thought this would trigger some fear in me, but the truth is, it made me smile. It made me happy. That thought, it turns out, was quite liberating.
If you’ve read my articles in the past, this may come as a surprise to you. I’ve never complained about Medium and never will. My experience writing on Medium had lots of ups and downs, but the experience was always enriching. I can’t thank Medium enough for all the growth it allowed me to achieve.
When I started writing in January 2018, I had one goal: learn to write better in English. I never aimed to have any success on the platform. Heck, I didn’t even know I had something to say, let alone inspire others.
I was a nobody. Still am, really. No one’s a somebody. That’s what I learned. I made friends with a bunch of top writers on the platform. We’re all the same. No one’s really bigger than the other. I love this, personally. For you aspiring writer, this is good news. If someone like me or like my friends can make it to the top, so can you. You don’t need to be special.
Near the end of 2018, Medium added a lot of focus on their Medium Partner Program, and basically, if you didn’t write for it, your stories would be lost in the void. So I was pretty much forced to start making money if I wanted people to read my stories. I didn’t want to take it seriously with money, but I had to.
I grew a lot on the platform in 2019 and made very good money, even if that was never the aim. What was the most important thing for me (and it still is), was to help others through good content. Something I’ve managed to do most of my three years on the platform.
In October of this year (2020), I decided to step things up a notch and write full-time on the platform. I started analyzing how things work underneath the surface. At first, it was a fun challenge. Then, when I knew how things worked behind everything, I lost interest. That’s when things started to go south.
I started taking it all too seriously. I played the game to win, not for the sake of the reader. Or, really, I was trying to do both, which is nearly impossible.
I also have commitment issues, so sticking to a platform for three years in a row is almost a miracle for me. And it goes to show that Medium is something worth investing time in. As with anyone who has commitment issues, when things get too serious, you run. That’s kind of what I’m doing now.
In 2021, I will not write stories for Medium anymore. Maybe with the exception of a few articles in Better Humans, if that works out. I own four publications, three of which have never been that active, so I’ll shut them down. The fate of SkillUp Ed is still undecided.
It’s time for me to turn the page and concentrate on my own platform. I’ve been holding back on my own stuff since Medium was low effort for high yield for me. This was a mistake on my part, not on Medium’s. To truly be able to focus on my things, I can’t allow myself to still dabble in other things like Medium, which is why the sudden and hard stop.
In life, you gotta choose your battles. If you fight too many of them at the same time, you’re really losing at all of them at the same time. I’m tired of losing. I’m a new father and I must choose the right battle for my family. In 2021, that battle doesn’t involve Medium.
This isn’t a rage quit nor is it an overreaction to current happenings on Medium. The platform will continue to evolve the way it has to evolve, not unlike other companies or anything in life, really. It’s in that same spirit that I’m choosing to evolve too.
On another note, I was chatting about my stats drop (about 90% drop for those wondering) with a friend who also writes on Medium and his suggestion was to complain to Medium. Truth is, I have nothing to complain about. Why would my stats dropping necessarily be a bad thing? Am I so entitled to think that I deserve better stats anyway? Or that I deserved them, to begin with?
Stats are but a number. I never cared for them and never want to. What I cared about were the connections I’ve made with readers and writers on the platform. And even then, it was never about quantity. It was about the quality of these connections.
I’ve interacted with hundreds of readers and writers in the past three years. Some only through comments and private notes, but others by email or through Slack or Facebook groups. I’ve collaborated with others on different levels and even met up with incredible writers like Michael Thompson, Niklas Göke, Brian Pennie, Maarten van Doorn, Adrian Drew, Matt Sandrini, Nico Ryan, Jordan Gross, and Zita Fontaine, to name a few.
Medium, this is the best part about your platform. You want to make it more relational between your readers and your writers? Then do it. Don’t hold back. Give it your best shot. It is a remarkable idea.
2021 is the time to reinvent myself. I will miss my readers — my friends. And for those who want to follow me on my new journey, my new home is dannyforest.com.
Farewell, my Medium friends! (I will answer comments up to December 31, 2020)
ps. I didn’t feel like editing this piece. It’s raw. It’s me.