57 Stories and 3 Months of Consistent Writing in the Medium Partner Program

A deep dive into my Medium stats and earnings.

Photo of old school khaki-colored typewriter surrounded by small plants.
Photo of old school khaki-colored typewriter surrounded by small plants.
Planting a seed and watching it grow. — Photo by Shelby Miller on Unsplash

I opened a Medium account in December 2017 with the sole purpose of writing and sharing one article. I didn’t think much else of it.

The year thereafter I published an impressive total of five pieces. Yes, you heard it correctly! One in January, February and April. In October that year I really outdid myself and wrote… two pieces. Yes, I know, I can hardly believe it myself. *shocked Pikachu*

Again, very sporadically. I wrote whenever I felt “inspired”. As a result, I barely wrote at all.

In 2019 my writing frequency continued to improve. I produced a total of eleven pieces. Still nothing to celebrate. My writing “streaks” came in bursts. One short streak in February, then again in April, and once more in July. One lonely post was published in October which also marks the end of my writing on Medium for that year.

What followed, was a long period of silence. At the end of last year I started a new job that demanded most of my time and energy. Writing took a backseat.

This year, the pandemic hit. During the months-long lockdown I spent a lot of time thinking about what I actually want to do with my life.

I still have my goals and dreams and I have started taking steps towards reaching them. One of them being: a writer. I just hadn’t been consistent in this area yet, at all.

I felt quite afraid of being mocked by people on the internet. A vague acquaintance or complete stranger finding my writing, thinking “Aha!” and leaving harsh comments on my works, or even worse: harassing me in the… private notes.

Regular people are “making it” online. I see you, and I applaud you! I have no idea what other people leave in your DMs, but friendly comments and constructive feedback outnumber any negative messages in their comment sections I’ve come across.

Even though I hadn’t been writing this year at all until July, I came back to Medium regularly to read other people’s content. Google searches led me to a Medium articles which contained the solution to my problems more than once.

Every now and then I checked the stats of the pieces I already published. Those initial pieces are now indexed by Google and bring in consistent traffic. That was a signal to me that some of these pieces were actually proving to be valuable to other people. And it got me thinking.

What if I could explore the stories inside of me that are waiting to be shared? What if I could be useful to others through writing?

And again: “If others did it, why can’t I?” The least I can do, is give it a try.

This year I picked up my writing pen in May. On August 11 I committed to writing 30 pieces. Preferably in 30 days straight. If not, I wasn’t allowing myself to stop writing until I had written those 30 pieces.

  • Start date 30 day writing “sprint”: 11th August 2020
  • Finish date 30th article written: 23rd September 2020
  • May 2020: 3
  • July 2020: 4
  • August 2020: 12
  • September 2020: 17
  • October 2020: 20

Total so far: 57 (this one included)

13 Drafts and 130 Published stories and comments.
13 Drafts and 130 Published stories and comments.
That’s all stories, comments on other peoples’ works and replies to my own. I would prefer comments and stories not to be merged under “published stories” though.

Between 28–7–2020 and 25–10–2020 I wrote 52 stories spanning across 90 days. On average, I published one story every two days.

  • July 2020: 82
  • October 2020 (per time of writing): 256 (thank you for joining me here!)

9th of August 2020

My Medium earnings: Oct 1 to Oct 31: $25.58. Sep 1 to Sep 30: $18.95. Aug 1 to Aug 31: $5.27
My Medium earnings: Oct 1 to Oct 31: $25.58. Sep 1 to Sep 30: $18.95. Aug 1 to Aug 31: $5.27
My earnings so far.

These are all from my publication Google Sheets Geeks.

Top 5 stories by highest total reads. All of these stories are in the Google Sheets Geeks publication.
Top 5 stories by highest total reads. All of these stories are in the Google Sheets Geeks publication.
These all include free Google Sheets templates.

This volume in traffic is thanks to indexing in Google Search over time.

However, if we compare the above screenshot with highest average read time, the results look a little different.

Stories with highest average read times.
Stories with highest average read times.
I collected all stats on a spreadsheet. These stories have the highest average read time. The top one is published in The Startup.

What stands out is that these are more personal stories that apparently drive higher engagement.

I also had a look at the next four runners up. Two of these stories again have a more personal angle. The other two are tips related to freelancing and setting up side projects.

Second runners up for stories with highest average read times (2:02 to 2:28 mins)
Second runners up for stories with highest average read times (2:02 to 2:28 mins)
Second batch of runners up for highest average read time.

The Partner Program earnings section only shows your earnings for a story this month. I went into each of my stories and collected the total earnings on my spreadsheet. The stories with the free Google Sheets templates are still performing best.

Top 5 stories highest earning stories. All are from the Google Sheets Geeks publication. Most made from one piece: $25.05
Top 5 stories highest earning stories. All are from the Google Sheets Geeks publication. Most made from one piece: $25.05
Templates, efficiency, convenience.

Seven of my pieces got published in big publications.

Curious:

The Innovation:

The Startup:

The piece that seems to be performing best is the one about using your iPad as a second screen. I love it each time a piece gets published because it feels like the ultimate validation that it is worthy “enough” of reading to someone other than myself or my close friends.

Medium statistics September and October 2020. Views have sudden increase since one writing got published in The Startup.
Medium statistics September and October 2020. Views have sudden increase since one writing got published in The Startup.
A broad overview of the last months. Slight and sudden increase in views since one piece got published in The Startup.

What stands out to me here, is that there seems to be a sudden increase in views since October third. I have been sharing my Medium stories on Twitter, but I would attribute the view increase to this one piece getting published in The Startup.

  • Waiting for bolts of inspiration to strike is like waiting to feel motivated to do something you don’t feel like doing. That could take forever. I now strive to at write and publish daily.
  • It can take time for stories to get traction and pick up more traffic. To take as an example a time tracking template. It was published on February 18th, but it only started getting a bit of traction in July.
Screenshot showing no views nor traction during the first five months after publishing a piece on Medium.
Screenshot showing no views nor traction during the first five months after publishing a piece on Medium.
Example of an article barely getting any views in the beginning and more later down the line.
  • Getting published in a bigger publication puts your work in front of a large audience. There is however no guarantee that things will suddenly kick off. I haven’t been consistently pitching my work into publications, so that will be another test to conduct. And you still have to promote your own work.
  • If a story is not generating any reads, the title may be off. Have a closer look at it to determine whether it needs adjusting.
  • The best (of my) performing articles in terms of views and reads are those with free templates attached to them. These attracted the highest number of views and clicks. The more personal stories, or stories with tips however have higher average read times.

It feels very satisfying to earn a mere $5, because that is already enough to cover my Medium member subscription. Double this figure, and you have another SaaS subscription covered. And so on, and so on.

These numbers are now very small, but they offer perspective. And I’m curious as to what else is possible.

Written by

Writing my way to progress. Topics: personal growth, life lessons, tooling & (failed) ventures.

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