It’s Easier to Consume Than to Create
And other lessons from 2+ months on Medium
About two months ago, I published my first post on Medium. Here are some things I’ve learned since then.
- It’s harder than it looks.
I’ve been reading blogs and internet articles for a long time, and I am guilty of being quite judgmental. Many times I’ve read something and criticized it for being ‘simple,’ or I’ve thought I could write better than that. Turns out, it’s much easier to criticize than to do it yourself.
- Simplicity in writing, especially in internet writing, is key. This takes practice.
- Hold your judgment — of other people’s work, and of your own.
2. It’s easier to consume than to create.
Whether it is consuming media (falling into the internet rabbit hole), or consuming food (hello procrastin-eating), it’s tempting to do just about anything except sit down and write something.
- Set a limit on how much you consume (ie 2 articles a day, no food after 9pm). This will help you against spending hours clicking through posts, or binging before bed.
- Notice when you are resisting your work. Resistance is often connected to fear, which also comes up with perfectionism and high expectations.
Ask yourself: What am I afraid of? What would I do if it didn’t have to be perfect?
- Create habits and systems that help you. Do you work best alone at home or at a cafe? Morning or evening, before or after lunch? Create a framework that support your work. And turn off all notifications on your phone.
3. It doesn’t need to be original. This post isn’t original, nor are these last two sentences.
- Stop trying to be original
- It’s okay not to be original
- Don’t let your desire to be original stop you from making something.
^ All of this has been said before. This doesn’t mean I can’t, or shouldn’t, say it as well. Maybe it’s been said by others, but it’s never been said before by me. Whatever you write is only something you can write. So if you want to write, do it. Start now.
4. Write for yourself. There are many great reasons to write, but ultimately it comes down to doing it for you. Some of my reasons are:
- I have a compulsive need to write, and writing is a way I relate to the world and to self expression. It helps me think.
- I want to be a better writer. I want to develop a career as a writer.
- I want to develop better writing and work habits.
- To prove that I can make a commitment and keep to it.
Since finishing my MSc. two years ago, I have been taking time to adapt and learn to live with different chronic health conditions. I am grateful for government disability and other support that has allowed me to focus on my health. Writing on Medium has been a low-pressure and consistent way to do something outside of myself, and connect to others along the way.
5. Set your goal. My goal was to write for 25 minutes a day, every day, and post it.
- Decide what your purpose is in writing and what kind of post you want to create.
Are you offering advice? Information? Or is it non-fiction, or poetry? If you aren’t sure, start with by freewriting.
- Utilize resources and tools that will support your goal.
I use the Pomodoro timer to set the clock for 25 minutes, and often I will use writing prompts to get started. I’ll also read articles on Medium about writing, and I’ll try using different templates tips
6. Show up, and follow through. Whatever your goal is, keep to it. You can be tired, hungry, bloated, distracted — it doesn’t matter. Show up. Follow through.
7. It’s all practice.
For me, this is what it all comes down to. It’s practice, everything is practice. It’s a way to train a muscle or skill, a chance to learn something new, a step toward the ever-elusive ultimate Goal.
So here I am, ever-stepping onward.