What I Learned From Getting 50% Of My Stories Curated Last Month
Last month was a big month for me. I got a new and incredible client, a mentor guiding me and giving me pointers on writing, and today I might be placed into a writing program for freelancers to grow further.
There’s a lot of great things coming my way, but I’d like to focus on one particular highlight: my curation rate on Medium.
Getting curated has been a point of conversation for many people in Facebook groups and it’s not something that I’ve talked about much either. The extent of my discussion of curation has been that the implementation of this system pushes us as writers to write stronger pieces of content.
It’s a great incentive for the writers and for Medium. Medium shows quality pieces to readers and also positions themselves as a site that has people sharing unique thoughts to old/recent topics. On the other side, writers grow their audience by getting actual readers and make some extra cash from the exposure.
But as always, there is more to it than that and there are many things we can learn from experiences and I’d like to share my own thoughts on this. Especially since last month, I was paying more attention to curation and my writing now more than ever before.
Curation Doesn’t Always Matter
This is a huge point for me, especially since a lot of the Medium writing groups I’m in occasionally talk about curation. What surprised me the most though is when I read a post where a writer spoke to Medium staff about why they weren’t getting curated.
The answer for why some writers weren’t getting curated was because the staff was so busy, any new writers to this platform will have little to no chance of getting curated.
This is a point of controversy around this system as it suggests that no new writers will ever make it big on Medium. But I don’t think that thought process is correct. I’m of the mind that curation isn’t as big of a deal as others think.
Yes, it’s a great system and it helps on multiple levels. But as many others have expressed in the past, it’s not always that big of a deal. In fact, getting curated doesn’t always mean your article is going to get thousands of views.
Last month I have a few curated posts that didn’t even break 100 views.
My point in all of this is that we shouldn’t be writing on this platform for the sole purpose of getting curated. Because while this system is great and helps writers, it’s not so vital that if you don’t get curated it’s the end of the world.
The article is still on Medium and people can still read it.
Curation Isn’t A Reason To Write Good Stories
To add to my previous point only half the stories I wrote last month got curated. The other half, while not curated, isn’t a sign that they were poor stories. They were still stories that I wanted to write about, that I was passionate about, and that I spent some time researching and editing.
In other words, I wasn’t in the mindset of writing to get my posts curated. Instead, I focused on writing what I felt were decent stories. Furthermore, I still gave them the same care and consideration as I would with every story that I now publish here.
And if there is anything you take away from this piece, I hope that it is this:
Curation isn’t a great reason to write on Medium because you’re hinging your goals and motivation on something completely out of your control.
And it’s not just you. We do this all the time to the point that we need some reminders.
I’ve even experienced this recently with my health goals. For the longest of times, my motivation for weight loss was the satisfaction of losing weight. But since taking this superhero workout challenge, not much weight loss has been happening. And yet I’m still going strong at it with no less motivation than I had at the start.
The reason this is happening is that I changed my goal and my motivation. I started to look at other benefits of doing this challenge as opposed to my weight loss.
I no longer have to worry about doing these exercises. I do them semi-automatically at this point in my training.
I can also do considerably more than what I started. At this point, I’m able to do 50 push-ups, sit-ups, and squats with no issue.
This is the same with writing. My motivation for writing isn’t hinging on getting curated. I see it as an added bonus. This allows me to focus my efforts on what really matters: writing content that I feel is worth writing about and writing it to the best of my ability.
I think that having this principle in mind is powerful, even for writers who are joining this platform. Yes, it sucks that less established writers might not get curated, but that’s not a reason to give up.
Again, curation doesn’t mean that your stories will never see the light of day. They simply won’t make as big of a splash compared to posts that do get curated.
So you owe it to yourself to find other sources of motivation and to keep writing. After all, there are other ways to grow outside of hinging your performance on your curation rate.
The Curation Guidelines Are Still Great Guidelines For Posts In General
Just because you’re not getting curated or some of your curation rate is low doesn’t mean that the system is flawed. Again, we know kind of the reason why curation is being passed out more to the more established writers over others.
When looking at some of the things that lead to curation, it’s clear that the guidelines are good. After all, I developed a sort of checklist for ensuring my posts get curated and it sorta works. This checklist is the guidelines more or less:
- I make an effort to at least include a link or two from stories outside of my own articles.
- I ensure that my readers are able to walk away with some kind of knowledge or a new perspective to something.
- I check my whole attitude with the article before I publish it. I can tell based on my mood how I think my readers would feel when they are reading the article.
- I make a habit of reading parts of the text out loud and often and assessing if it’s good enough and makes sense.
- I make sure that my ideas are explained properly. The same applies to my arguments and reasonings.
- I make sure that the article is formatted the way I like it. From sections to headings and whether something is bold or italicized.
Regardless of whether I’m hoping my story gets curated or not, I make sure that these points are addressed in some way. And if they’re not, there’s normally a reason behind it. For example, some of my posts don’t have links in them and that’s because they’re more personal pieces.
Coincidentally, those articles don’t often get curated. And I’m okay with that.
Either way, this checklist is still a good base for making great content.
We should be including links when appropriate.
We should be formatting, reading our own article, and checking how we feel before we press the publish button.
We ensure that everything flows together and it’s not incredibly tangled.
Obviously, there is more to great content than that, but this is a good start for growing as a writer and improving our craft.
Curation Is Still Challenging Me
I wouldn’t say I’m addicted to posting content on Medium. Last month, I only published 18 stories. But when writing those 18 stories, I was still thinking to myself what can I do better.
And now that I’m looking back at my posts that were curated and those that weren’t, I find myself challenging myself in certain areas. I’m starting to ask myself “why not?”
This is a personal piece, but why not include links and research here and there?
You’ve read certain sections, but why not re-read that section?
My goal here isn’t to get 100% curation, I know that striving for that is foolish. But at the same time, it’s not a reason to not try and get close to that. As I’ve expressed in this post already, curation is a challenge to me and is more of a bonus rather than a measure of my success. If I think this way, I’m only going to grow more as a writer as I spend more time editing my stories.
And in the end, that’s what Medium wants. Even if the post doesn't get curated, putting the extra care and effort into your stories on here will only help your writing in other places.
And that’s really the important thing to keep in mind.