How I conned 1k normal and decent readers into following me on Medium
And one or two psychos.
Gather around, friends. Let me tell you the tale of how I, a distractible writer with an addiction to books, cheese and fart jokes suckered 1k people into following me on Medium.
Are you comfortable? Here, drape this blanket around your shoulders. Drink deeply from this box of wine. Stare into the fire as I share my wisdom. It isn’t every day I pass down my hard-won knowledge. (It’s more like 1–2 times a week.) So listen well.
When I posted my first post on Medium I was younger than I am today. I was still in possession of all my hopes and dreams. Okay, not all my hopes and dreams. Some I’d already traded on craigslist for half dead succulents and knock-off shoes. But, there were still some hopes and dreams in the canister.
I expected it would be only a month until my writing changed the world. I thought I could craft amazing, mind-bending articles that would inspire the shit out of everyone who read them. Maybe writing tips or marketing how-tos. Helpful hints for self care? Definitely otter-related content. (That part came true.)
But I was forgetting one very important thing.
It was 2018 and nothing mattered.
Turns out, I couldn’t play it straight. The world was twisty and weird and everything I typed got all twisty and weird, which meant my path to success would be twisty and weird and maybe not lead to success at all, but rather to a Dairy Queen alongside the highway to success. Where they refused to take my coupons.
What does it mean to succeed?
Hell if I know.
I don’t even know why I’m writing this article. 1k articles are compulsory, right?
“Thanks, Sarah,” you might be thinking. “This isn’t going to help me at all. I opened this post thinking you’d lead me to the pastures of endless adulation. Instead I’m still sitting in the cardboard box of soul-crushing emptiness, more confused than ever.”
That, my friend, is the point.
If I can get to 1k, then even an above average ham sandwich should be able to do it. Just follow these guaranteed steps to success. (Please note: not an actual guarantee.)
Step One — Post things
Yes, the first thing you’ll want to do is generate actual content. Much as I wish it would, eating cheese sandwiches and refusing to write doesn’t lead to a lot of followers.
Some writers create posts that will be helpful to readers.
I have taken a different route.
I’ve found it far easier to just write whatever nonsense pops into my head. When you’re trying to be a resource, people expect you to be helpful. Who needs that kind of responsibility? Not me! (I might have gotten to 1k a lot faster if I wrote about cryptocurrency and self actualization, but I also would have been sued by all the people who followed my advice on cryptocurrency and self actualization.)
There are people who tell you to write with curation in mind, because curation leads to good things, such as novelty trophies and hugs from strangers (ew).
That’s all well and good, but it overlooks the fact that Medium curators are whimsical gods none of us can hope to understand. And when I say gods, I mean less the current western situation and more the classic, inexplicable Greek deities with a penchant for transforming themselves into swans. Curators have been known to overlook a brilliant post about ambition and instead promote a weird poem about socks written by someone who doesn’t know the first thing about poetry. This is their realm and that is their right.
I mean, don’t write excremental thought nuggets that would be better tossed out the window, but also don’t write for them. And try not to get too discouraged when they don’t love you. It happens to everyone. (I assume. Please don’t tell me if I’m wrong.) They have many children.
Step Two— Don’t give up. Unless you want to.
I mean, this is really what it comes down to. If you want your own collection of 1k followers, then just keep going. Interact with other writers and try to write things that aren’t boring.
(You also might meet other writers along the way. A few very nice ones and a few who are in desperate need of leukotomy.)
Maybe Medium isn’t the platform for you. Maybe you’re bored or itchy or would rather spend your time doing literally anything else. Whatever, that’s totally legit. But, if you stick around here, eventually you’ll hit that 1k. If I can do it, anyone can.
Step Three — Don’t forget, nothing matters.
It doesn’t really matter how many followers you have. Yeah, on a macro scale, because glaciers are melting and people are starving and there are a lot of corgis out in the world who aren’t being photographed right now.
But also on a micro scale, because Medium doesn’t give much of an advantage based on follower count. 1k people might be following me, but some of my writing only gets 30 views. So write for the people who read. 3 people who are invested in your journey and who enjoy your writing are worth more than 1k people who just happened to hit “follow” because maybe they liked your profile photo or were feeling sassy on that day.
And yeah, that can be discouraging.
But it can also be motivating. It can push you to make every piece interesting and to write for the people who frequently interact with your posts. It can help you define what you’re trying to do and find joy in it.
Which leads us to step 4.
Step 4 — Have fun!
Yeah, the moment money gets involved things can get intense. But don’t forget to have fun. A little silliness won’t kill you. It might even keep you sane! So don’t forget to write things you find interesting and explore the ideas that make you smile. Otherwise what are we all doing here?