The time has come. The results are in. And you might think the truth would hurt.
I made less money on Medium last week than I made the week before. I made less money, when for the last three weeks I had been increasing my income every week by $30 or more.
For the first week, I made $68. For the second week, I made $102 (so $68 plus another $34). For the third week, I made $136 (so $102 plus another $34).
So for the fourth week, I guess I should have made around $170 ($136 plus another $34).
That would have been fantastic, of course! That would have meant, again, more growth.
I would have kept up the tradition of making a little bit more on Medium every week. The goal, naturally. What everyone should strive for.
What did I make in my fourth week? $129.
That’s $7 less than I made in the third week. Instead of growing, instead of an additional $34 to what I had earned the previous week, I went down, not up.
Many in my position might be upset about this.
I worked really, really hard last week. I wrote lots of great posts that received responses, claps, and the like. I received plenty of new followers and new fans. How did I go down in income? It’s not fair, I tell you, it’s not fair!!!!
I could think this way. But you know what?
I’m not upset about this. At all.
All I can be is grateful. All I can be is happy, ecstatic, for the great success I’ve had on Medium since the beginning of March and especially the month of April.
How can I be disappointed by only making $129 last week, when in the entire year of 2018 I made a total of $231. When I made only $29 the entire month of January, and $84 in February, and $178 in March.
Sure, $129 isn’t the $170 or more I might have been hoping for, but it’s still a lot of money, and still significantly higher than anything I was earning on Medium just a few short weeks ago.
I’m still stoked I’m able to earn more than $100 a week on Medium in the first place. That’s so entirely awesome!
So why do I think I earned less last week than I earned the week before?
I don’t know for sure, but here are three obvious reasons…
1. I published 38 articles last week, nowhere close to the 50 articles I published the previous week.
I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t maintain publishing seven articles every day. Five I can definitely do. And maybe six. But seven articles, possibly eight, day after day just got to be too much. So I slowed down a little. Took some more time for me.
I tend to think if I had published an extra article about writing each day of last week, maybe I would have made it to $170 instead of $129. But who knows?
And who cares? I took better care of myself last week than I did the week before. I think that’s worth losing out on $41.
2. Many of my articles underperformed last week compared to the week before.
Many of my articles about writing received 50 claps or less last week. I even posted one last Friday that received zero claps.
I wrote three pieces about the use of photos on Medium that received little interest.
My essays on film all died quick deaths, including this one about Planet of the Apes I thought was rather good.
And my series looking at writing tips from famous writers didn’t get much love either.
Sure, I had some pieces that did really, really well, particularly this one I expected little of and was happy to see overperform the way it did.
But for the most part, it’s hard to stand out from the crowd when 80% to 90% of your published articles don’t receive a lot of views, reads, and claps. It’s hard to increase your income if the stories just aren’t delivering the goods.
3. I didn’t get as many articles curated last week as I did the week before.
Curation is the big, fat mystery of Medium. Some articles you love aren’t curated. Some articles you don’t think too much of are curated within minutes. Pieces you work really, really hard on receive two views and one read at the end of the day. Pieces you took from the archive and spent just ten minutes working on before hitting the PUBLISH button gets suddenly curated.
Two weeks ago I had eight stories curated during the course of the week. About one a day.
Last week I only had five stories curated. And only three of them seemed to make much of a difference in terms of more reads and claps.
It’s sad but true: the more stories you get curated, the more success you will have on Medium.
There’s certainly the possibility of an article doing super well without curation. That’s happened to me exactly once with my personal essay about the moment I knew I was gay.
But curation is definitely something you should cheer about each time it happens. Because it will bring more eye-balls to your story.
Again, I’m not upset about this. And I’m not at all disappointed.
Because now is not the time to be greedy.
Now is the time to focus on doing great work, writing a variety of excellent posts, continuing to experiment in different topics, noting what works for readers on Medium and what doesn’t.
You can’t fixate on the income you bring in on Medium. You can’t whine if you’re down a little bit this week or this month.
Certainly celebrate if you overperform, if you do significantly well this week or this month, but do not feel sorry for yourself if the money is a little down, or even a lot down.
You might not produce as much this week as you produced last week. Something might come up in your life, and you aren’t able to write as much for Medium.
This happens. It’s OK.
Don’t panic, and don’t ever think you’re anything less than the amazing writer you are. Just keep going.
Hell, you might have written more than ever for Medium in the last week and still earned less than you did the previous week. That happens, too. Sometimes much of what you write just isn’t landing for readers, for a number of reasons.
What you should do, always, is learn from your mistakes, and then move on.
There’s so much possibility every single day on Medium. Write your heart out, will you?
And most of all, have fun.
Brian Rowe is an author, teacher, book devotee, and film fanatic. He received his MFA in Creative Writing and MA in English from the University of Nevada, Reno, and his BA in Film Production from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He writes young adult and middle grade suspense novels, and is represented by Kortney Price of the Corvisiero Agency.