Every time I log on to Medium, I see another article insisting that we look at another writer’s remarkable success as a source of motivation.
“Someone earned $19,000 in one month?! Don’t let this discourage you — let it motivate you!”
How about neither?
I’ve grown tired of comparing myself to other people. In the past year, I’ve learned that it held me back in more ways than one.
I’m a dancer and aerial artist. I used to spend hours perusing other artists’ Instagram accounts, replaying their videos twenty times to understand how they achieved a trick, obsessively tracking their moves and saving their choreography as inspiration. Along the way, I found myself unhealthily concerned with how many followers these artists had and how many likes their posts had. I excused it as “study,” but when I attempted those tricks in my studio and failed, I felt bad. And when I posted my own art and got only a few likes, I felt worse.
I felt like I needed to do it all to be worthy of being an aerial artist, but I was forgetting one important thing: it’s already incredible to be an aerial artist.
The same is true for writing. Sure, it’s slightly more accessible and costs nothing to start, but writing is still hard. How strange is it to translate your random thoughts into something coherent for people to read? And if you get any sort of audience in a sea of digital content, that’s a huge accomplishment!
So why do you care if someone is “doing better” than you?
Recently, I’ve seen a lot of complaints that the small potatoes are “just as good” as the big earners.
Yes. Yes, they are.
So why aren’t they earning $19,000 a month on Medium?
Because you need to market, kid. And even then, luck is a big part of it. Maybe you’ll get lucky too. But you shouldn’t need someone else’s success to motivate you.
Your motivation should come from within.
Take it from me, a marketing expert: people respond to authentic material. Don’t try to hack the topics. Don’t try to write “what people want to read.” Write. Your. Stories. Speak from the heart. That’s something unique in a world full of content spinning and insincere mega corporations trying to connect with millennials.
As the adage goes, “write what you know.”
That doesn’t mean write only what you’ve experienced. What do you know to be true? What inspires you? That’s what you know.
Write about that, and let the rest flow.