For the past week or so I've been getting to know medium.com, a new blogging platform designed for writers. When I first dove in, I had some pretty mixed feelings about the whole thing. However, as I have explored the site more and more, I've discovered what a useful and, honestly, entertaining tool it can be for a young writer.
If you don't already know, Medium allows users to share "stories". They can be about anything, any topic, in any style, in any form. There is no word or character limit like there is on Twitter, so you can write your heart out f you so choose. You write your "story", publish it, and it becomes visible to the other users who can choose to follow you, recommend you, and respond to your work.
My initial hesitation about using a site like this was that I immediately felt as though it was a place where writers were encouraged to just give their work away for free. And, in truth, when you publish a story on Medium you are giving it to the community for no monetary reward. Seems kind of disheartening, doesn't it? It may take hours, days, weeks, months, and so on to write a great short story or a great article. Shouldn't we writers get paid for our hard work? Of course my first instinct is to say "yes".
Then, I started reading the stories. Most are well-written, well-researched, and thought-provoking. They are written by writers who, you can tell, care very deeply about their craft. Sure, there are a few stories in the mix that aren't as strong, but, on the whole, the home page is a delicious buffet of intelligent content. Scrolling through and reading the stories on Medium doesn't feel as silly as browsing Buzzfeed, as intrusive as scrolling through the news feed on Facebook, or as random as checking Twitter. In fact, for a person with a true love of reading, it can be quite addicting!
All of a sudden, using Medium didn't seem to be about giving away my hard work for free. It was more about being a part of a community and contributing to something meaningful. For that reason, I've decided to continue to use it. As of now, I've only published one of my short stories on it, but I hope to post more soon. In the meantime, I will savor the words of of other writers, like myself, who have families and day jobs and other responsibilities, but still make the time to write.
Rachel Boury Baxter
Writer: web content by day, fiction by night.