Do what you love to be twice as successful

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

I have always been creative — spent my summers painting in the mountains, played the clarinet, wrote the most dramatic short stories about anything and everything. When I was in high school, I turned to creative writing to air out my feelings and put my thoughts into words. Yet, when it was time to choose a career path, it didn’t take long to realize that being a writer didn’t pay well.

As a second-generation American, I’ve been focused on doing well in school and reaching financial stability. So now, I am a college student studying computer science. All my life, I have been pursuing a career in STEM and a corporate job. Don’t get me wrong, I do love computer science and have a lot of hope in the technology industry. But part of me has always wondered what could have been if I had majored in creative writing instead.

Writing on Medium

I made my Medium account in May 2020. After hearing all about this mysterious platform hailed as the “YouTube” of writing and starting my own blog last year, I wanted to see what the hype was all about. That same month, I posted my first couple of posts on Medium and the rest is history!

I wasn’t writing on Medium for the money (or else I wouldn’t keep writing here given how much I’m making here haha). And for the first time in a long time, I had a hobby that wasn’t just for my resume but rather something that I genuinely loved to do. I have posted consistently on Medium through all four seasons, and needless to say, I really just wrote on Medium because I loved it.

A couple of weeks into writing on Medium, I started learning a lot about how the platform works. I delved deep into writing for large publications, getting curated, monetizing, and more. From this point, I started to set small goals for myself on Medium: get published in certain publications, make some money, and get curated.

I was so confused.

This platform was a lot to take in and I had no idea how to become successful on Medium. I read article after article about how monetization works, how editors choose who gets curated, and how to write pieces people will want to read. I learned about everything from clickbait to backlinks.

From my initial research, I realized that there wasn’t a formula for success on Medium other than to write quality pieces. Though I started implementing the tips I noted from my research, I didn’t see any massive growth in my numbers, nor did I get published or curated.

After a month or so, I began to understand that things don’t go viral easily or often. And though I wasn’t tangibly being rewarded monetarily or with recognition from Medium, I focused on writing what I wanted to write and posting it to any publications that would accept me. Throughout the process, I truly just found my love for casual creative writing and really enjoyed interacting with other Medium writers.

Getting Curated on Medium

Well, almost a year after my first Medium article, I finally got curated! One day, I was checking my Medium stats when I saw that one of the articles I had recently published on Bumble’s IPO had a little “chosen for further distribution” subtitle under it.

Ecstatic, I went online to Google what this meant. A couple of months ago, Medium changed its curation rules, and “chosen for further distribution” meant that it was curated! Sure enough, I saw my article under the business topic category on Medium shortly after.

Then, I went through all of my other articles to check to see if I had missed that any of my other articles got curated. I saw that two of my other articles had also been “chosen for further distribution”!

Takeaways

Now, here I am as a 3x curated Medium writer. As a full-time computer science college student with minors in math and economics, being surrounded by corporate ambition and STEM-focused mindsets, I am proud to also be a writer.

I have always heard that if you do what you love, success will follow. Now, I’m in no way claiming to be a successful writer (I’m far from that). But even as a tech nerd following her side passion for writing, I’m celebrating small successes on Medium. At the end of the day, Medium has helped me to expand my passion for creative writing, to speak my mind, and to share my thoughts with the world. Now, I understand that when we follow our passions, success will come twice. First, we will be rewarded with our dream jobs doing things that we love. Second, tangible success will follow when people start to feel the passion behind your work.

iced coffee all year round kinda gal. workout challenge enthusiast. vscode girl who writes sometimes.

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