2020 was the first year I spent quality time on Medium. Writing has been not only a record of my thoughts and ideas but also an exploration to complete them.
When an idea is born, it is natural and spontaneous and fades away easily. So I take note of every possible writing idea immediately when they appear. The process of fleshing out an idea is probably the most laborious part. But when I hit the Publish button, the joy with that click pays off the effort.
I would like to take a moment to summarize the performance of my Medium stories in 2020, and hope to apply learnings to writing in 2021.
What I did
How many Medium stories did I write in 2020?
I published 17 Medium stories in total in 2020.
As the chart shows, I did not write anything from March through May. It is very likely that I was too busy adjusting to the new lifestyle in pandemic lockdown. It was during the 3-month hiatus that I spent more time than ever writing due to the remote work condition. That built up the confidence I needed for writing publicly.
What topics did I write about?
My past experiences inspired my Medium stories in startups.
How many of my Medium stories were chosen for curation?
Before Medium updated the Curation and Distribution System on Oct 2, 2020, I had 5 stories curated by Medium.
- A Practical Guide to Writing a Software Technical Design Document
- How These Code Review Etiquettes Can Shape Your Team Culture
- Why Joining a Startup May Not Be a Good Idea Financially
- How a Used Car Dealer Taught Daughter About Entrepreneurship
- How an 8-Year-Old Kid Became an Investor of a SaaS Company
It was truly an honor to be selected for curation.
Which of my Medium stories had the most views?
The total views are a combination of internal and external views. The story Why Joining a Startup May Not Be a Good Idea Financially was shared outside Medium by readers (such as Facebook and Twitter), which created a big influx of external traffic. This explains why this story is in the first place for views. Viewing does not guarantee reading. I believe quite a big portion of viewers were stopped at Medium’s paywall.
Which of my Medium stories was most read?
The story Why Joining a Startup May Not Be a Good Idea Financially was my first blockbuster story. Equity in startups had always been a complex black box to outsiders. I took what I knew to explain the financial impact to the engineers. This story has been robustly been delivering to the audience since it was published.
By publishing that story, I learned that my readers tend to love reading topics in finance than engineering. Consistently, my 2nd winning story How I Became Financially Independent Through These Lifestyle Changes was also about finance.
Which of the topics had the most views?
Because Why Joining a Startup May Not Be a Good Idea Financially was particularly popular, it made the topic about Startup the most viewed topic.
Which month did my Medium stories earn the most?
I started to write Medium stories seriously in January 2020. It took a while for me to know how to write a good story that readers would love. For the first 5 months, I was almost making nothing.
The story A Practical Guide to Writing a Software Technical Design Document in June 2020 was my first Medium story that got curated by Medium and also selected to be published in the publication The Startup. To me, this became the example of a good article, and subsequently, I wrote a story How My Medium Story Got Curated to extract the learnings from writing that story and aimed to apply them to future stories. This was a critical moment for me as a writer on Medium.
Which of my Medium stories earned the most?
The story How I Became Financially Independent Through These Lifestyle Changes was quite a hit: it was published in December, but it earned more than any of the stories published in 2020 made aggregately.
The story Why Joining a Startup May Not Be a Good Idea Financially was a consistent winner. Since it was published in July 2020, it has been yielding profits constantly every month.
Which topic that I wrote for earned the most?
The outperformance of the story How I Became Financially Independent Through These Lifestyle Changes made the topic of Money stand out in regard to earnings.
In which publication that I published the story earned the most?
The publication Making of a Millionaire helped my Medium stories make the most earnings. The publication The Startup was the 2nd. My stories that were not in any 3rd party publication made the least.
A popular publication definitely helped me distribute the stories to a broad and right audience.
Also, I have an unproven hypothesis: the publication Making of a Millionaire has more paid Medium users than the publication The Startup. This could explain why my stories on The Startup have more reads, but the ones on Making of a Millionaire have made more profit.
Writing on Medium has never been about making money. I am always curious to understand the performance of the stories and use it to improve my writing. It is all about learning.
Learning is the product of a continuous real-time feedback loop in which we make decisions, see their outcomes, and improve our understanding of reality as a result.
— Ray Dalio, Pricinples