I Never Asked to be a Better Writer

Why does Medium keep trying to make me one?

I came to this platform to read and write.

Does the prospect of making money while doing it sound nice? Of course, but that’s not what initially drew me to Medium. My friends suggested it to me since I wanted to get back into blogging. The last time I put effort into blogging, it was just ripping pieces straight from my journal onto a Ruby on Rails tutorial blog I built in a day.

I didn’t do it for the clout. I did it because it was fun and felt good to write.

Thus far, writing on Medium has scratched that itch and more. I’m a fan of how simple everything is. Not long ago I built a WordPress blog for a friend, and I made a duplicate to test out the blogging capabilities. WordPress is a flexible platform, so it came as no surprise that there were endless themes, customization, and plugins available to “enhance” the blogging experience. That was cool, but what I found is that it was overkill. It ended up just being a distraction for what I wanted to do: write. I’m still new here, but I haven’t had the same experience with Medium. The editor is straightforward, clean, and intuitive. Publishing posts and tracking your stats is easy, and it doesn’t feel like plugins or advanced features are pushed down your throat, nor needed.

It’s as accessible (or damn near close to) as sitting down in your office, picking up a pencil, and scribbling in your journal. Except it’s a journal that other people look at. And I’m guessing that’s played a role in Medium’s success as a platform.

But what I have had shoved down my throat is every flavor of article and opinion the internet can muster about how to write on Medium.

I’m sure I must have clicked on one article about the experience of writing on Medium when I first made an account (who doesn’t?), and through the magic of automatic suggestions I now see tons of articles around how to “make it” on Medium. It seems like there’s an entire genre devoted to it.

At this point, I’ve read a couple of them, and they were interesting reads, but I didn’t come here to become a better writer. My focus is never going to be “making it”. Hopefully once I’ve read enough of a different kind of article, I’ll see fewer of these.

But even the top articles seem to be, more or less, centered or tangential to becoming a better writer/making it as a writer. I can’t complain, since this is a site for writing, but writing about the experience of writing must get cliche at some point, right?

The irony is that this article is guilty of doing that, but my intent is to not write about writing. So I guess eat your heart out, Medium.

Let me be clear: I do want to write better. I just don’t want that to be the only thing that drives me to write, in the same way that I don’t want to do my 9–5 just to get better at doing my 9–5.

Image for post
CC credit to Alan Levine

They/Them | Software Dev | Chronically seeking orange juice | devon.wellsa@gmail.com

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