A personal reminder for why I’m here.

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Photo by Jan Kahánek on Unsplash

Jess, let me remind you how you ended up here on Medium.

You were doing your hourly refresh of Archive Of Our Own for the latest fanfic about one of your favorite ships, WestAllen. We need to talk about that, by the way. Hourly though?

Regardless, you came across what you thought was finally the latest update to a fic that you’ve been enjoying. To your surprise, it was a note from the author. Those are never good as you’ve learned from your addiction to fanfiction. A note from the author usually means you’re not getting a nice, neat ending or an update for an extended amount of time. It’s a bummer.

This note was exactly what you expected. The story was ending. From what you’ve seen, many fanfic writers that are kind enough to give a notice, abruptly end a multichaptered piece because of time constraints due to personal life developments requiring their attention. Understandably so.

This author’s note hit a little differently. The author chose to entirely end their fanfiction career because they no longer believed in their writing. From what you gathered, they had embarked on a spiritual journey in which they could no longer sail on the WestAllen ship.

Bold. Inspiring, actually.

Or maybe it was just God telling you you need to cut back on your fanfic intake.

Within that note, the author included a link to their Medium page where they’d be continuing the fiction with original characters instead. Your curiosity kicks in.

You stalked said writer to their Medium page and that was your first introduction to Medium. Now that we’re here, let’s reflect on a few things. First, remind yourself why you got hooked on this platform.

Before you came across the anonymous fanfic author’s fateful note, you had an itch to share these random and crazy thoughts floating through your head with the public. A Ted Talk is a bit presumptuous. A YouTube channel? You did buy that fancy mic for it but that didn’t go anywhere. How about an e-book? Maybe. Or a blog? Too much work.

Then Medium comes a long, perhaps a gift from God. It’s literally for anyone willing to make two clicks and create an account. No degrees or certification needed. No money needed either. Free (though you opted for the worthwhile $50 annual membership) with minimal startup work is your cup of tea.

Props to the Medium team because the site is all around user friendly.

I think that sealed the deal for you.

This is where you really begin to appreciate the art of writing. You began to understand the power writing has in shifting your perspective and teaching you how to be human. You’ve learned so much here so far.

But there’s one topic that has made you squirm a bit: writing on Medium. Like most likely many other newbies to this platform, you’ve come across your fair share of Medium-hack articles, the “How To Be Successful on Medium" types. The more and more you read them, the more you question why you’re here.

Let’s start by saying you don’t consider yourself a legit writer. It isn’t something you studied in school except in the usual writing courses you were forced to take. You’ve never done it professionally like most writers on this platform. You’re probably not even that good at it.

So why are you even here? Are you trying to make loads of money? Are you trying to go viral? Let’s figure it out.

It doesn’t need to be. You’ve been blessed with the opportunity to play around with things you’re actually interested in doing because your loving husband bears the financial responsibility now. A side hustle is always nice for added financial flexibility. You do eat a lot.

So does it matter how much you make? So far you have $0.48 to your name. That’s something. Would you continue this if you never made a penny?

You’re not sure and that’s okay. You did give yourself until your membership is up to decide.

You do get a release of dopamine every time someone likes your Facebook status or claps at a piece you wrote. Attention and appreciation are nice and there’s legitimate psychological and spiritual reasons we desire it.

The question now becomes, does the attention validate you? If you were to never receive a single clap, would you continue?

Something else to ponder once your membership is up.

Okay, so we’re left with some unanswered questions. However, you should remember the reasons for writing on Medium that you are certain of.

Think of Medium as your glorified diary. Writing is a tool gifted to you to help you dig deep and understand your humanity. That’s part of the reason why you avoid writing “How-Tos.” The only thing you know for certain is that you don’t know.

After joining Medium, every time life comes along and throws some kind of hoopla your way, you’ve written about it as you’ve processed the situation. From that has come healing.

If one person can read about your experience and feel like they can relate and they’re not alone, I think you’ve won.

Once you hone in on a topic that interests you like shipping, it becomes a fun project that makes you smile.

Maybe if you stick to the reasons you are sure of, you don’t need to feel like your missing out by not hacking the Medium system — formatting may be my biggest weakness from what I gather. Maybe if you stick to the reasons you’re sure of, you’ll continue to be genuinely you in your writing. Maybe if you stick to those reasons your sure of, clout or money won’t even matter.

At least try it out for a year until your membership is up.

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Learning to be human. Learning to love bigger.

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