What I Learned From Writing on Medium for Six Months
My goal was to keep up a weekly practice without churning out “content”
Last November, I committed to publishing on Medium on a weekly basis for six months. Usually after completing a project, I charge onto the next thing, without pausing or looking back — a stupid, unproductive habit, because it means I rarely learn from my mistakes nor relish what I’ve accomplished. So, in an effort to break from my personal norm, I’ve evaluated what I learned from writing here every week. Well, nearly every week.
It turns out that my brain likes routine…but only up to a point.
From November up until today, I managed to keep up a weekly cadence of posts, except for three: One week in March, I simply couldn’t get my shit together. Between my job, another job, two kids, a new puppy, and Covid, my brain went on strike. Then, in April, the editor advising me, Stephanie Georgopulos, took the buyout, so I indulged my sadness and skipped two posts, back-to-back. Or, so I told myself at the time.
In retrospect, my fortnight hiatus also coincided with viral conversations about languishing and journalists burning out. Clearly, I hit a wall too. For a couple weeks there, I just had nothing much to say. And, while I appreciate the belief in writing as a daily practice, I’m old enough to know that I need to respect my brain when it prefers to go silent otherwise, I’ll end up churning out “content” (my most-hated word for 2021 so far) that I feel meh about. And that is the antithesis of why I wanted to write here in the first place.
I learned that putting myself out there could be oddly easy. I published 12 personal essays, four reported pieces, three listicles, two career advice columns, and two announcements, plus this one for a total of 24 posts. I found the personal essays the least painful to write because, at least at first, they were about topics that I’d been mulling over for months, including how not dying my hair was changing my life, the difference between self-discipline and denial, and the part of me that doesn’t want the pandemic to end. Those three pieces got the most reads, claps, and shares, by far. I was so pleased one Sunday morning when I was standing in line at the farmer’s market and saw one…