Medium is Changing

We got excited about the bonuses, but now they have an end date. Should writers be changing their approach to the platform?


For those of you who are kicking around on Medium or even still thinking of starting there, I’ll give you a heads up. It’s pretty hard to keep up with the constant changes on the platform.

I’ve been writing on there consistently for ten months, and I’ve already experienced change after change.

But do you know what? That’s one of the reasons why I love the platform.

It’s constantly surprising us and trying to make itself a better place for writers. Sometimes they get it right and granted, a lot of the time, they get it wrong.

But hey, at least they are trying.

In a recent email, Medium said they would extend their writer bonuses into June and July, and then that would be it. No more surprise, $50, $100 or $500 payments. The generosity ends.

But, mysteriously, they also mentioned there would be some changes to the Medium Partner Program.

A few years back, Medium used to pay writers based on the number of claps they earned on each story.

Nowadays, it’s for reading time, which makes more sense. The longer a paid subscriber spends reading your work, the more engagement you generate as a writer, and hence, the more you get paid.

It’s a logical framework, but it’s not going to stay that way.

I’ve scratched my head thinking about what they might be doing but haven’t come up with much. The most plausible thing to me maybe an increase in the subscriber fee, considering they paid out so much money to writers in bonuses.

This would mean more money for smaller writers (possibly) and hone in on that ‘relational’ Medium they seem to be creating. I could continue to speculate, but the truth is, it would probably be a waste of time.

Medium is going to change. Like any social media platform, it will have ups and downs. It will go through the motions, and we have to ride with it. The most important thing for writers is that we keep showing up and doing our best.

I’ve seen a lot of articles floating around titled something like ‘here’s what you can do to increase your chances of winning the Medium bonus’, but the thing is – it’s so short-lived. This promotes a type of short-termism and get rich quick scheme.

If you love to write and want to be read, your approach has to be long term. If it’s not, you’ll soon find out if you’re writing for the wrong reasons.

So, there are some changes on Medium’s horizon, which will undoubtedly unravel with drama and intrigue over the next few months.

But the message I want to stress is this: keep writing no matter what. Platforms change, but the importance of showing up as much as you can and getting the words out there.


Current reads (that you may like)

Summer water, Sarah Moss (Fiction)

I saw this on our proof table at work and thought I’d take a chance with it.

Set in Scotland, it follows the rainy summer holidays of multiple families and intertwines their different lives. It’s heavy on description, political messaging and family life.

The former I love, but the latter, not so sure. It’s a cool book with a lot of promise, but I can’t help feeling a bit jumbled along the way. Think Ali Smith in style and approach, but not quite hitting the mark.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, JK Rowling (Fiction)

At the beginning of lockdown three, I started re-reading the Harry Potter series for fun and because I needed a comfort blanket. Reading it as an adult hits different, but it’s so nostalgic. I like to read it before bed to stop my mind from wandering.

I keep hearing people say the Half-Blood Prince is just ‘filler’, and I want to smack some sense into them. It’s so much more than that and sets the scene for the penultimate book.

Books on my radar

Bring up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel (historical fiction)

I mentioned Mantel in one of my recent book posts, and it reminded me how I never read the rest of the Wolf Hall series.

I read the first book in March 2020, and I can remember it clearly because the first lockdown had just been announced. Mantel had just released The Mirror and the Light during the Christmas before, and the shop floor had a whole stand of the heavy hardbacks that went untouched as we had to close.

I decided to give it a go finally and loved it, so I am looking forward to carrying on the series.

The Dig, John Preston (fiction)

I recently watched the film version of this staring Carey Mulligan and Ralph Fiennes (dream team) and loved it.

Based on true events, it follows the story of how Sutton Hoo, the place of two early medieval cemeteries, was discovered in an area very close to home, in Suffolk. I can’t wait to read the written version of this interesting and emotional story.


Article recs

I’m going to list these because I realise this is getting a little long. Trust me on this one. All of these are 10/10. No justification needed.


What you might have missed from me

Now this is a hefty length; it feels like an appropriate time to wrap up. I hope you’ve enjoyed this newsletter. Let me know if you like the new book format!

As always, if you do like my content and want to support me, you can donate to my ko-fi page.

Note : the links in this are affiliate links. This means if you choose to purchase, it will help me earn a little bit of money at no extra cost to you; thank you!

Header image by Julia M Cameron from Pexels / Edited by the author using Canva


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Slipping Back into Normality

And as a result, I’m feeling exhausted. Anyone else?


On Monday, just after 7:30 am, I boarded a train for the first time since March 2020. The chilly air wrapped around my face but gave me some welcome relief from the claggyness of wearing a mask. It was a bit of a surreal moment, but an important one for stepping back into normality — whatever that’s supposed to now mean.

Apart from a brief three-week stint in the run-up to Christmas, Monday was my first day back at work in fourteen months. If you had told me at the beginning of March this was what my life would be like for over a year; I would have laughed. It’s funny how small things — like getting a train — have become so abnormal in the last year. Amidst the excitement of something that seemed so ‘new,’ it was nice to be able to sit on a creaky train and rumble into the town where I work.

Despite customers not fully returning until next week, I found the day to be exhausting, to say the least, but it was nice to see colleagues I haven’t seen for the best part of a year. As I ease my way back into what my life used to be like in March 2020, I want to continue the writing habit I formulated during those empty months. It’s given me a great form of release, creativity and an integral coping mechanism to this uncertain year. It might be harder to fit around work and everything else, but I will try.

I hope this week’s newsletter finds you all well and gradually slotting back into ‘normal’ life. Remember, it’s perfectly acceptable to go at your own pace. Only do things you are comfortable with.


Article recommendations 

  • For those of us who tend to have an addictive, obsessive personality, it can be easy to slip into unhealthy patterns of exercise, eating, and restriction. When I used to run regularly, I would beat myself up every time I hadn’t improved my distance or pace. I’ve since been able to have a better relationship with running (on the rarity that I do go!), and Sophie F. writes about this so well — My Experience with Disordered Eating and a Fitness Obsession.
  • A refreshing and uplifting take on why age is predominately a societal construction. For those of us who fear edging slowly but surely towards our 30s, this is a brilliant read by Dan Cadmus — Why I Don’t Fear Turning 30
  • Sometimes I think even I am too old to want to be a writer/journalist and I should have started years ago (I’m 23 for reference), but I know this is silly, as some people start way later in life. This is an inspiring and uplifting article (Are You Waiting To Be Too Old To Start Writing?) about always being prepared to pursue your dreams, even when you think it’s too late. By Vishnu*s Virtues.
  • Everyone has had a different experience of the pandemic. This group article by all the Backbench editor’s (including me!) really shines a light on this difficult year — The Pandemic: Our Personal Perspectives.

Book recommendations 

Image created by the author using Canva

Merging the Drift, Tom Bray

Although this took me a long time to read, this is no reflection on what I thought of the book. I’m reading everything at a snail pace at the moment because that’s all I can do. Also, I read about 3–4 books at once so it’s bound to take me that bit longer with every read. I thought this was a highly original and uplifting book. It’s an intriguing story with lots of twists and turns that all comes together with a satisfying ending. I may be a little biased, as I interviewed Tom for a feature in A Thousand Lives, but I highly enjoyed his first novel. I will be writing a full review soon.

Stoner, John Williams

It’s been a while since I read this (2016, in fact) but I can remember absolutely loving it. It’s a strange, untypical novel that follows the life of William Stoner, born at the end of the nineteenth century. He studies English literature, becomes a professor and falls in love with a student, which is a million words away from his upbringing in a farming family. As a result, he’s estranged from his parents and lives a life of perpetual loneliness. It’s a novel about circumstance, regret, love and the shortness of life.


What I wrote this week



This hefty chunk of reading material should be enough for one week! In all seriousness, I need to up my reading game. Not because I feel pressured to read loads of books this year (quite the opposite) but just because I miss having that quiet time curled up with a book. I hope you all have a great weekend, Violet x

If you enjoyed this newsletter, please consider giving me a tip at paypal.me/Violet977I don’t feel comfortable charging anyone for this newsletter, but I am a graduate who is just starting and trying to make a living. Whether you can donate 5p or £5, I’d be forever grateful. Thank you.



Progress Isn’t Linear

Feeling the pressure? Don’t — you’re doing great.


In our day to day lives, we can all get bogged down with what we’re not doing rather than what we are. This can give us a false impression of the progress we’ve made and can obscure how far we have come.

The pandemic and the new working from home culture that has evolved from it has disrupted the balance between work and downtime, and for many of us, on furlough or spending more time at home, the pressure to fit something in at every hour of the day can be a lot.

When you’re not doing anything particularly ‘productive’, it can be easy to beat yourself up about it. But I’m here to remind you that progress isn’t linear. If it were, we’d all be where we want to be, instantaneously. Primarily, this is because life is inherently unpredictable. There will be days that are written off for a myriad of reasons, or even years, depending on everyone’s personal situation.

So don’t get down in the dumps if you are not where you want to be yet — and instead — focus on where you are right now and what you have done.

Often, I can get down in the dumps about being behind in my career and the fact I’ve spent nearly every day at home since March 2020. On bad days, I can take to social media and compare myself to people (especially those younger than me) and marvel and their positions. But then I remember how important this abundance of free time has been for me.

If it weren’t for the pandemic, I probably would have launched into some graduate job I wasn’t that keen on, never discovered my love for writing, and my anxiety would have spiralled. Although I may not be where I thought I would be by this age, there are other things I have achieved that I am proud of, especially when I make an effort to reflect on how far I’ve come.

Take my writing as one example. On the left is my total reach from just two months of writing on Medium. On the right, after eight months, is what it looks like today.

Image created by the author using Canva

I’m having a bit of a rough time with my writing now, especially on Medium. But when I look at that side by side, I realise just how much progress I have made. It puts everything into perspective. I can guarantee you’re making progress in whatever you are doing, but perhaps, you don’t realise it yet.


Articles


Books

Image created by the author using Canva

Jo Cox: More in Common, by Brendan Cox (biography)

As local elections are on the horizon here in the UK, I’m reminded of how much was lost when Thomas Mair murdered Jo Cox during the Brexit referendum campaign. Jo’s life and her approach to politics should be a reminder to us all that regardless of where you sit on the political spectrum, we do have more in common than what sets us apart.

Politics should be less divisive and binary, and it is a shame in recent years that it has become this way.

‘Jo Cox’s selfless service to others made the world a better place’ — Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States


Articles I wrote this week

  1. What are Local Elections and Why Do They Matter? Backbench UK
  2. Working as a Bookseller Convinced me to Always Prioritize BooksA Thousand Lives
  3. Should Writing be Approached as a Marathon or a Sprint? Writer’s Blokke

As always, I hope this newsletter finds everybody well! Remember, you make a little bit of progress every day, even if you don’t think you are. Until next week! Violet x


This is a weekly newsletter from Violet Recommends. Every week I give you some writing advice, reading recommendations and all my latest articles in one place. Sign up (it’s free!)

Originally published at https://violetdaniels.substack.com.