Writing: You’re Doing It Wrong

Sean Knight
4 min readAug 17, 2021

3 things to remember to get more personal value out of your writing

Photo by Kyle Hanson on Unsplash

We’ve all seen those headlines:

“How I make $5,000 per month on Medium.”

“How I turned writing into a full-time job.”

“How to get rich on YouTube.”

I once even saw someone trying to get me to buy their ebook on how to make money online by selling ebooks.

So you’re telling me you want to sell me an ebook about how to make money selling ebooks? (created by author using Imgflip.com)

These snake-oil salesmen are doing all of us a disservice. Yes, they are taking our attention and in some cases even our money — but that’s not the worst of it. The greatest harm they are causing here is priming us for an unhealthy relationship with content creation. Content, created purely for monetary gain, won’t satisfy you or help you grow. And it won’t make you much money either.

With a few extraordinary exceptions, writing (including on Medium) isn’t going to be your OnlyFans but where you show off what’s in your head instead of your pants. It’s not going to replace your income.

You can certainly earn some cash writing on Medium. I’ve made just under $1000 on my best month even though most months it hovers around a couple hunderd dollars. That’s not nothing. But in doing so I’ve realized a few hard truths about content creation.

#1: Your writing that you love most won’t be your most loved — and that’s okay

I’ve written some pieces of content on here that I really loved and where the process of writing them helped me grow as a person. Often times I started with a vague idea and had a fully formed mental model by the time I hit publish. But those ones by-and-large are not the ones that won me the most dollars. Often times, how much an article earns has a lot more to do with the headline and which publication you put it in than the actual depth of the content.

For example, here’s a philosophical article I wrote (and love) that only got a couple hundred claps and made me essentially nothing. But cementing this concept into my head was a huge benefit for me personally and the…