Confessions of a Medium Writer
I can’t speak for all writers on Medium, but I do recognize a trend, when I scroll through stories, reading about the lives of others.
From what I read, and understand, it appears as though Medium is like an emotional dumping ground for many of us. The more we write, the braver we become. The braver we are, the more we share, and the more we share, the deeper, and sometimes darker, our stories become.
When I first started to write, I was terrified of who may read my words. I feel like most writers have this worry. We are scared no one will read, but at the same time, we want to shine and stand out as bold writers. It is a double edged sword to write true stories about our worlds. We want to purge the emotions and get the corresponding words out, yet we fear that we will become vulnerable, criticized, or even mocked for our story writing.
At this point, I have published over 1100 stories and during that time have had one or two Judge Judy’s who either called me out, or sent me scathing messages about the content in my work. Other than those tiny incidents, I have gained nothing but positive support, encouragement, and a few dollars to put in the bank. I can now sit down to write, as a “writer” and not someone who is too afraid to share my stories.
Learning to Navigate as a Writer
When I made the decision to share stories of abuse, parenting, relationships and other topics, I was terrified to “start”. I had so many secrets to talk about, and so many unpleasant topics to discuss. The words for my stories cycled around in my brain, over and over, robbing me of sleep and focus. I knew people in my family, close friends, and possibly my significant other, would be interested to know what I was writing about. And, I was correct.
I also knew that if I wrote my own truths, that people in my world would have objections, hurt feelings, and possibly anger, as I began sharing my side of the stories. Again, I was correct.
Very early on, in my life on Medium, I chose to write a story about my parents. The first one was aimed directly at my Mother, and of course, she read it. It caused a huge dramatic flare up in her world, and mine, and I ended up removing her from my followers. This was a hard lesson, but again, it was my truth, and I felt justified in writing it. I would rather block people from reading my work, than not write. This is my reality and my space to share my stories, whether others agree with them or not. In my mind, in people want fluffy, pretty stories of how they have impacted me, they should have done better to earn that right. I write about my demons and my abusers as a selfish form of meditative cleansing.
Learning to navigate the lessons, and the way to write about my life, on Medium, is a work in progress and from the beginning has been questionable for me. Do I write details? Or leave my story vague? Do I attach people or leave them out? Do I click on Submit, or let it stew in my Draft pile for awhile? These have been my own questions about what I share in my writing.
It has been beyond helpful, and encouraging, to see others write about their life challenges in a frank, clear, detailed and emotional manner. Medium, in and of itself, has become like group therapy for me, as I learn more about other peoples’ struggles with abuse, PTSD, toxic relationships, struggles in parenting, and beyond. Through reading other writers’ work, and seeing the bravery that they display, time and time again, I feel “allowed” to write about my own life. It may be of no interest to some, and that’s okay. I don’t write for everyone, and that has been another lesson along my Medium journey. Some people will skip past my stories of abuse, or the relationships I have endured. Others will skip past my posts about childhood trauma, and how I am passionate about child development. I am not here to please or entertain everyone.
The first time I chose to write and publish a brazen article felt so liberating and empowering- for a few moments. Then, once I realized that it was “out there” a sense of panic set in. “What if they don’t like it?” “What if it falls under the wrong eyes?” “What if they do like it, and ask more questions I am not ready to answer?” “What if I get in trouble for sharing such hot topic articles about my life?” “What if…?”
I never once asked, “What if I become successful?” or “What if I can help someone?” Until after I became a brave, regular writer, and found my groove.
Why I Have No Fear
Here’s the thing. My stories are that of a survivor. I am a goddamn warrior and for that I am proud. I have not always made the best choices in life, nor do I claim to be a professional “Life Lesson Coach”, but I have been around a block or two in my life. I have beaten cancer 3 times, have survived multiple forms of abuse, have raised an amazing daughter, in spite of everything, and am a professional in Early Child Development.
Everything I put into words is genuine. I don’t fear the struggles and challenges I have, as long as I can write through them and talk about them. I share my words to help others who struggle, and I don’t hide behind what others expect of me. Medium has made this possible.
I have been told to “shut up” about my past, and have been threatened with lawyers, and further abuse, if I don’t take down some of my stories. I ensure that there is nothing written that isn’t the truth, and I never mention names, to protect myself from what others object to.
I am far from perfect. I have flaws like every other human being on the planet, and have no problem sharing what they are. However, when I wake in the morning and face the demons and lessons from my past, writing helps me to purge the toxins out of my gut and from my soul.
I have no fear in sharing my words because other writers are as brave, or braver, than I am. They still show up to Medium to share their worlds and their work. I am so proud of everyone who spills their heart and guts into the work we all share. I know how hard it is to push that damn Publish button and walk away with bated breath.
In this world, we have every right to talk about what we have learned in our individual journeys. It is not our aim to discriminate, report, attack, or enrage those who read our work.
As we write, we learn. As we learn, we write. With each lesson, comes knowledge, and with each piece of knowledge comes strength. Strength creates bravery, and if we are lucky, we can share each and every victory, challenge, struggle, and lesson, to help others, or, for our own therapy.
It’s what writers do.
Since I have been on Medium, for close to two solid years now, I have had zero regrets about the style or reality of my articles. It has been a forum of self development, support, and strength in numbers. It is a place where I finally feel I belong, and whether or not it helps me on my future writing journey, matters not.
I will continue to show up. I will keep writing. And, I will not “shut up”.
I will be as me as possible, and my work will always come from my heart. Whether you read my articles for curiosity, comparison, or compassion, just know I am always genuine. I stand behind my work, and will not stop writing because to save another’s face.
I write for me.