A few weeks ago my shit blew up on Medium. I wrote a post that resonated with a lot of people, and it got picked up by a publication. It’s been read over 2,700 times as of writing this, and it made me one of the top writers in both categories for Creativity and Writing. (For those readers who are unfamiliar with Medium, check it out here.)
When I wrote the post I didn’t put much thought into it. I wish I could tell you that I put blood, sweat, and tears into it, used all kinds of SEO, and applied some life hack that writers have yet to uncover.
I didn’t. I maybe spent an hour total on writing and editing the piece and slapped it on my website and Medium profile. Other than using a searchable title, I didn’t use any SEO at all. I took a topic that was important to me and spoke honestly from the heart.
For the first week or so, I watched as my stats spiked. It became like a drug, a little shot of dopamine every time I opened the app and saw that my claps, highlights, and followers had risen.
But I knew it wouldn’t last and that it was only temporary. At some point those stats would start to go down. While it would continue to attract readers, I wouldn’t see the numbers I saw on that first week. I tried to recreate what I had done, writing posts that emulated the Big One, but they didn’t attract nearly the same amount of attention, and I can’t say it was my best work.
So I stopped looking at the stats. Once I hit 2,000 reads, I decided I was ready to move on. The numbers kept trickling in, but I moved on to the next thing. And the next. I had taken the time to appreciate what I created and the accomplishment I’d had and keep working. I learned I could not put all my validation and happiness into this one thing but rather in an entire body of work that I was creating.
Social media rewards that kind of validation. There is a dopamine kick that you get each time the notification tab lights up. I’ve been there and have felt it’s affects.
But in those moments between dopamine kicks, I have the clarity of mind to remember what I’m in it for.
I’m not in it for the kicks of dopamine. That’s not what gets me out of bed in the morning or connects me to a higher purpose. When I am gone and turning into compost, people won’t eulogize my high stats and Medium followers. That’s not what people will remember. They will remember that I created a body of work that had the power to connect with them.
When your shit blows up on Medium, that’s the time when you need to hunker down and create. Make the thing. Not for the dopamine kick but because people are listening, and they want to hear what you have to say.
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