July 23, 2018.
That was the first article I published here on Medium. It was the first time I stepped out of my comfort zone and wrote something for the internet to see. I have a hard time believing it has been that long since I set out on this journey.
Today, I want to share with you the story that lead me to first publish on Medium and why I come back every so often to write more.
Trying to Make A Little Money
Like many things, my discovery of writing was first motivated by the chance to make a little extra cash. It was the summer of 2018. I had just graduated from high school. I was soon to be off for my first semester of college. I remember looking through lists of ways to make money online. In my head, I had visions of a successful side hustle and the chance to make something notable without an hourly requirement that might hinder my school work the following semester. I remember going through all those surveys offering a few cents for responses and browsing a bunch of websites offering to pay for submissions. I spent days in search of something that seemed like the right opportunity. Finally, I settled upon Medium. I liked that there was no schedule to be followed and there was a chance to make a fair amount of money if I got good at it. I also appreciated that there was no competition to be accepted by editors and I could write about whatever I liked.
Looking back I realize how naive I was. Making an honest earning from Medium is quite difficult work for most people, but it was enough to get me started.
Beginning to Write
The first ten articles I wrote on the site were mainly for me. I didn’t submit them to any publications or spread them on social media. I don’t think I would even categorize my writing in those stories as the best I could do at that time. More than anything, I just wanted to have something published. Something to point at and say “see, that wasn’t so bad”. These articles were my way of dipping my toe in the pool and testing the temperature.
Within a week or two, I had grown fairly comfortable with publishing stories that might be seen by my parents and one or two others. As little as it was, I was proud that I had taken the step out of my comfort zone and put effort toward something that might benefit me in the future. Within a few months, I had begun to submit articles to a few different publications. I tried to read more and learn more about writing. I learned new things about Medium and the systems that had in place. It was a good start to what has been a very fulfilling journey.
Why I Have Continued
Today, I considered myself a far better writer than I was back then. I have about 100 articles of practice under my belt. Each one forces me to reflect a little harder and come up with a topic that doesn’t feel like a complete repeat of a past post. Sometimes, writing can be so challenging, but I do feel rewarded.
My reward, however, is much different than I expected it to be when I first started. It’s not the money that is the reward (after all, I barely make any) and I can tell you chasing money as a writer is rarely quick or easy. Instead, the reward is more intrinsic. In some ways, writing has allowed me to take what I figured to be my weaknesses and use them for good.
I have always been an anxious person. I often hop from one worry to the next and look back on past events and how I could have handled them better. Over the years, I have developed a few methods to cope with this issue and help myself not get overwhelmed by worry or the need to escape my worries. Writing is one of these methods that I have learned to enjoy.
Writing is one of the most effective methods for organizing my thoughts that I have ever found. After writing, I find my thoughts are more clear and deliberate. I spend less time meandering through unimportant ideas. My day is more intentional as a result.
Writing also allows me to supplement my quiet demeanor. I have never been good at speaking in front of people and I often feel my words fall flat when I deliver them, but I don’t have to worry about any of that when I write. I get to organize my thoughts and let them speak for themselves.
Writing has served as an important part of my life over the past few years. Both the writing I post here and the journaling I do on my own. I feel fortunate to have found writing this early in my life. I have little clue what the future holds, but I do believe writing will be a part of it. Writing has always been a cushion I could fall back on during difficult times and enjoy during the good times.