The 5 Kinds of Writers You'll Find on Medium

And, what happens when you don't post for 10 days...

Happy Friday,

The last time I posted on Medium was January 1. Know what happens when you don’t post for 10 days? I’m sure you can guess… Hello, nose dive.

A lot of people think Medium is a nice little side hustle. Whether that’s true or not depends on how you define side hustle. If you think of a side hustle as something you can do part time, casually, and make consistent income — that’s not Medium.

Unless you’re the right kind of writer.

There’s a lot of people writing every day or twice a day and making under $1000.
Or under $100, for that matter. If you do the math, it’s not great.

But it’s not all hard work for little pay.
There’s people who post once a week and make top payout.

Watching my stats nosedive while I took a much needed break made me think about the types of writers you’ll find on Medium.

5 Types of Writers You’ll Find on Medium.

1) The Hobbyist
The hobbyist is not writing for pay. Either they don’t care about it at all, or it’s just a nice perk. Some even don’t even write behind the pay wall. By hobbyist, I don’t mean their writing isn’t good. I just mean they don’t care much about the payout.

2) The Wader
The wader would like to earn decent income on Medium. Some day. But for now, they’re learning. Dipping a toe in. Or maybe they’re scared and just say they’re learning. Either way, they haven’t really dug in and thrown serious effort at it yet.

3) The Hungry Worker Bee
This is the writer that’s working their buns off. Writing daily or almost or more. But they’re not making the kind of money they’d like to. Not yet. They often bounce between hope, confidence and frustration. So close, but not quite there.

4) The Happy Worker Bee
The serious earner puts in about the same effort as the worker bee, but earns far more. They’re more strategic. They write for publications that get them most exposure. They get curated often. So the amount of work is the same—but the pay is way better.

5) The Elite Earner
The elite earner puts in least effort and earns most pay. They don’t write daily, and they don’t have to. They can post once or twice a week and earn ten times more than most writers who post twice a day. They are usually “known” outside of Medium, and usually have a list or a following that is not dependent on Medium.

Did you recognize yourself?

If you’ve ever burned out and taken a week or two off, you’re probably one of the worker bees. Whether your earnings are weak or strong, you’re working hard. It’s probably not effort you’re lacking, but strategy.

This made me think… a lot. You?

Did you miss any of these?

These are unlocked, so you can read whether you’re a paid member or not. :)

10 reasons people won’t buy your book

5 places to build a mailing list, free

The first sentence in Pulitzer Prize Winning Books of the Last 10 Years

Have a great weekend.


The $1000 challenge and the best gift I can give you...

In 3 steps. Plus, writing and hate reads.

Happy Friday,

First, if you’re reading this, thank you. No one wants to write to crickets, me included

1) The $1000 challenge…

I got an email this morning with a clever offer. He called it the $1000 challenge. If you buy his course, actually complete the course, and share your “success” story, he’ll pay you $1000. That’s the price of his course. Which means if you complete it and succeed (whatever that means) you get the cost refunded. Yay, free.

What a clever manipulation of human nature.

A lot of people will lean on that offer to convince themselves they’ll be the one to get their money back. That’s how they’ll justify the purchase.

Most of them won’t even finish, of course, nevermind succeed. The number of people who complete any “course” is astonishingly low. A single digit number.

Most of us don’t even know why we don’t complete things. We intend to. It just never works out that way. Courses are a lot like New Year resolutions. They don’t stick.

2) And the flogging begins…

We blame ourselves. Beat ourselves up for just not having what it takes or being good enough. Because it’s not “somebody else” doing this to us. It’s us. Right?

Except it’s not. The self growth industry working a lot like the diet industry in that if you succeed, you won’t need to buy their stuff anymore.

Better to create a cycle of failure. You see a little success, so you buy more. And then you relapse, blame yourself, and buy more. And the cycle continues. Self growth works that way, too.

3) Why we fail…

Know what the top resolutions are this time every year?

  • Lose weight. Eat healthier. Exercise more.

  • Quit smoking. Or drinking.

  • Get out of debt. Save more money. Earn more money.

  • Spend more time with family.

  • Grow that side hustle.

  • Be less stressed.

  • Make plans to travel.

Don’t you feel unique now? lol. Me, too. You know why we fail so badly? Because we look at the behavior that needs changing instead of the underlying issue.

It’s like the people who vow to write daily on Medium, but don’t. If you quizzed them, they’d tell you no one is going to like their work. They are never going to succeed. Never be a “top” writer. They are not good enough. Etc.

Most of us don’t just have carry on baggage, if you know what I mean. We have an entire steamer trunk.

Thoughts are like relatives. They all show up eventually and some of them are unkind.

You can’t change a behavior or a habit if you don’t know the names of the monsters driving the bus. Once you see them, they begin to lose their power.

“What’s really going on here?” is the best question we can ask ourselves.

That’s about the best gift I can give you. If you make any resolutions at all, resolve to name one of your monsters. And then watch what changes.

“Problems that remain persistently insoluble
should always be suspected as questions
asked in the wrong way.”
—Alan Watts

As always, if there’s a particular topic you’d like to read about, let me know.

Thanks to Adrienne and Suzanne for the ideas you sent. My email has been an abomination through the holidays —you have NO idea! Now it’s catch up time. I’ll be writing about them soon. Until then, just wanted you to know I appreciate you!

My top 5 posts of 2019

Interesting that 4 are about writing and 1 is a hate-read. None of them beat my top read of all time— and interesting that my top read of all time wasn’t even curated.

My top 4 stories on writing, and one hate-read that made top 5

Happy New Year.


The 5 People You Need on Your Mailing List

How do you not envy someone who’s lollygagging around eating bonbons when you’re working your butt off?

Hi again!

You can read the pretty version with pictures here if you prefer. It’s unlocked. :)
Otherwise, keep scrolling for the plain text version.

There’s a newsletter I read all year, except December. She doesn’t email in December. If she was taking December off, I’d understand. Honestly, I’d be a little jealous.

I work in ecommerce and December is brutal. How do you not envy someone who’s lollygagging around eating bonbons when you’re working your butt off?

But she’s not. She’s working her butt off, just like me.
She’s just not sending email.

At the beginning of December, she sends an email to say “you get enough commercial email in December, you won’t get more of it from me…”

That stupid email always ticks me off. You know why?
Because it tells me how she sees her subscribers.

I want to hit the reply key and ask if she stops emailing her friends in December, too. That’s rhetorical. I already know the answer. Of course she doesn’t.

But we’re not her friends, right?
No. We’re just her subscribers.

The Real Problem with Marketing

At the root of it, the problem with marketing is how it makes you look at people. So easy to look at them as clicks, conversions, buyers or prospects.


And then people say dumb things like every subscriber is worth XX dollars.
Or the tell you how much you “should be” making based on your list size.

It makes me shake my head.

Most marketing is myopic and short sighted.

Most of the email marketing I see smells of direct marketing. You know what I mean… last chance to sign up, very very last chance, doors are closing, you snooze, you lose.

On a video course that’s already recorded? Or a pdf?
Because fake scarcity, right?

And the worst of the fakery. Omg, the server crashed. Here’s one last chance... but hurry, it’s only gonna be up for 48 hours and then you lose.

I get it. Doing something beats doing nothing. But this isn’t long term thinking. Long term thinking means asking yourself what kind of emails will keep people reading in the long run.

The 5 people you need on your list.

Mitch Albom wrote a book called The 5 People You Meet in Heaven. It talks about how you meet 5 people that touched your life in ways you didn’t see back when you were alive. And how they affected your life.

Likewise, there are 5 people we could all stand to have on our list.

  1. Your Mother or your child.

  2. Your spouse or your best friend.

  3. The teacher who had the greatest impact on you

  4. Your boss, or the person who most affects your financial state.

  5. Your role model — someone you admire and look up to.

It would change how you talk to people. Most of those would prevent us from talking like a pompous jerk. We’d think about what we send a little more.

Maybe even wish your subscribers a Merry Christmas. (snark)

The end result would be that we’d build something worth having.

If you missed my book question last week, it’s here. Thank you to everyone who clicked a box. I so needed that clarity. Much good coming in 2020 because of your input! I appreciate you — thank you!

Did you miss these?

On Writing: Are Men Just Better Writers?

Holiday Thoughts: The Day the Sun Stood Still

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and wishing you all the best in the New Year. By the time I write again, it will be 2020. Can you even believe it?


Stupid problem #7. Which book?

This one is a horse of a different color.

Hi again,

Happy Friday. I love Fridays. No client work on the weekends, so lots of time to write. Yay, drafts. Also clean, which I don’t love quite so much. Just the end result, which is kind of a parable on life, if you think about it. :)

Can you believe Christmas is next Wednesday? 5 sleeps as the moppets say. In 12 days, the New Year Bells will ring and it will be 2020 and I still don’t know where 2019 went.

That’s how life goes by, right? And suddenly there we are—an old.

In 2020, I am going to publish 6 books. Which isn’t as lofty as it seems, because most of them are half done, and some more than that. I’ve been pecking away for while.

I’m doing something strange and different this week, because I really need your help.

This will make much more sense very shortly. In 3 minutes, if Medium’s read time is to be believed. You probably read faster than that, so maybe 2 minutes.

Can you give me 2-3 minutes?

I’m finishing this letter on Medium — you’ll understand why once you click.
This is a friend link so everyone can read, even if you’re not a paid member…

Click here to keep reading

See you over there… It’s unlisted, by the way. Private, just for my readers.
And thank you!


Attention isn't trust

A race to the top, or a race to the bottom?

Happy Friday…

First, just want to say if you’ve emailed me and I haven’t replied yet — I am so sorry. I work in digital marketing, and marketing + holiday shopping = crazy town.

I love getting email from you and I’ll catch up soon. Once we hit the deadline for shipping in time for Christmas, it gets saner. Much. When the clients can stop and breathe, so can I. Thanks for your understanding, I really do appreciate it.

Attention isn’t trust…

When everyone is a marketer and anyone can build a platform, it’s really easy to see attention as success. Attention is the beast that click bait and the first person industrial complex were born of.

If the story is raw enough, it’s going to get clicks. Which explains why people write in lurid detail about sex and scandal and hate and horror. Because in the short term, clicks and eyeballs feel a lot like success.

In Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl tells the story of how in Auchwitz, the first few times he saw men beaten to death or shot for stumbling, he was in shock. It made him sick. Made him vomit. After a while, he just kept eating his soup. Or working. Didn’t even look. It was commonplace.

The truth is that attention seems like a success metric, but over time, most people choose trust over drama. We all rubber-neck when there’s a train wreck, but when train wrecks happens every day, or every block, you just stop looking after a while. You get numb to it. And then what?

You know?

This is why the trend of shocking headlines concerns me. It’s fascinating, but also a little repulsive. I’m not sure it serves anyone well in a world where we get more of what we click on. I’m not sure if it’s a race to the top—or a race to the bottom. Just thinking out loud. What do you think?

This weeks’s writing

I hope you’ll find something that interests you. Your clicks and reads keep me writing. If there’s something you’d like to see more of, or something specific you’d like more information on, please hit reply and tell me.

On writing…

On marketing & business…

On Medium…

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend.


Loading more posts…