After all the hype, I decided to apply to be a newsbreak creator. It has nothing to do with Medium. I wanted to diversify my writing, be exposed to a slightly different audience, and see if I could make supplemental income. I have no intentions of leaving Medium. I’ve enjoyed this platform for over a year now and have read some great stories. Disclaimer done, let’s talk about Newsbreak.
I dedicated myself to writing in December. After my application was accepted, which took around 3 days. I waited another 2 to receive a contract. After signing it, I immediately started writing. I had a couple pieces I was working on that I thought I could refine and publish.
Over the month of December, I wrote 12 pieces. Full disclaimer — I do not know my income for the month nor will I disclose it. However, I do know my stats. With the writing challenges offered by Newsbreak, you can gain visibility by having articles written for that challenge displayed on their featured page. One article I wrote has been shared over a hundred times. I have never had success like that on Medium. I’m not sure if you can correlate a Newsbreak share to a Medium fan, but if so, the highest number of fans I’ve had on Medium for a given article is 31. Let’s take another look at this successful piece that was shared over 100 times.
You can see that I had over 5,000 views on this piece. My most successful story on Medium can be seen below. It has 386 views.
Does this mean that suddenly I became a better writer? I wish. The truth is that newsbreak works differently than Medium.
Lesson #1: Everyone is a beginner.
On Medium, anyone can create. There are many writers who have been here for years. They have a devout following and a big share in Medium’s success.
Newsbreak, on the other hand, hasn’t been around so long. You must apply to be accepted. Once accepted, you must do what you do on Medium — write, write, and write some more. The difference is there aren’t writers with devout followers just yet. I’ve seen many of the same names as I have on Medium only I see them with a lot less followers on Newsbreak. It gives me hope. Featured stores aren’t skewed to favor the most popular writers. Everyone is a beginner, and everyone has a chance at success.
Lesson #2: You’re forced to spend more time writing.
Medium doesn’t have a character length. Sure, lengthy posts increase read time which increases payout but you don’t have to write a certain number of words in order to make money. Most of my articles on Medium are far shorter than what I’ve written on Newsbreak. This has forced me to spend more time on my stories. I’ve thought more, written more, and refined more. These are lessons that I will use for my writing on Medium as well.
Lesson #3: The Editor isn’t great so you’re better off writing in Word.
I should have done this while creating here as well. It’s just so easy to click Write, write your piece and click Publish. With ease, comes mistakes. Writing in Word first allows me to easily fix grammatical errors prior to copying and pasting into the Newsbreak editor. It also allows me to see how many words I have written.
Lesson #4: You can’t game the system.
Everyone knows the games we play on Medium. You start by following others, so you get more followers yourself. Over time, this changes and you have enough of a following to gain true followers. We all play the game. On Newsbreak, your creator profile is separate than your reading profile so there’s no gaming the system. While I’m not sure if there is a way for a creator to also be a reader, I like to keep the two separate.
Lesson #5: Newsbreak isn’t enough.
If you’ve worked hard and gained a following here, don’t stop writing on Medium. You’ll hae to spend additional time providing content for both platforms but it’s worth it. For the month of December, I focused on Newsbreak. I’m still writing on Medium but I’m now going to write my stories in Word first. I’ll then decide where and when I want to publish.
Newsbreak has showed me the value of diversifying my writing. It’s showed me the importance of sitting down to write first.
My number one takeaway is to focus on your writing. It’s funny that I didn’t learn that in my year on Medium. It took stepping away for me to realize the lessons above stem from taking the time to focus on your writing. By focusing on your craft, you’ll be successful anywhere.
If you’re interested in writing on Newsbreak, here’s a link to apply. In full transparency, using the link I provided will benefit me as well. If you’re interested in writing, try it out and see if it works for you. If you’ve been writing on Newsbreak, comment on how long you’ve been on the platform and how it’s going.