You Can Succeed Even if You Break Every Medium Rule — Proof Inside

No formatting, no main image, under 100 followers — success

Photo by Markus Winkler

It’s been drummed into all of us that to be successful on Medium we need to follow certain rules. We tend to follow these rules like they are the difference between (Medium) life and death. But are they? I will show you how none of it matters.

The Rules

Rule #1

One of the unwritten rules here is that you need to get your story into a publication if you want it to be successful. That means following the rules of that publication. All publications have different rules.

So, self-publish. But most writers don’t want to do that. It goes against the above unwritten rule.

I just read this article by Dennis De Silva. In it, he explains how three editors commented on various aspects of his story. In the end, he self-published it. He says the following:

Focusing too much on the rules in writing — impacts the soul and purpose of writing. If you keep getting stuck or addicted to this, it is time to unlearn and pick up a new way of doing it.

Rule #2

The story headline should be in title case. We all know this right? and don’t add a full stop to the end of the title

Rule #3

Another unwritten rule — you won’t get any views unless you have a large number of followers. If you have under 100, forget it.

Rule #4

Always include a main image under your headline and subtitle.

Rule #5

Make sure the correct citation is given for all images.

Rule #6

Make sure you check your grammar. You do know that the first letter of a sentence should be capitalized, right? You did use Grammarly, didn’t you?

Rule #7

Keep your article short. You do know that people have short attention spans these days, don’t you?

Follow the rules. Follow the rules. Follow the rules.

You’ll never succeed otherwise.

You don’t need any of the above

But why does all the above matter? Surely, the point of a story is to get your message across. If you can do that, all the above doesn’t matter, although it is still nice to have.

You what? Of course you need them!!! No, you don’t.

So, let’s play a little game

Let’s suppose you wrote your first story on Medium in November 2021. You wrote your second in December 2021. You wrote your third in February this year.

It’s now July and you have your fourth story planned.

You decide to ignore rule #1. You’ll self-publish the article.

You also ignore rule #2. You can’t be bothered with that title-case nonsense. You even add a full stop at the end just for fun.

You’ve only got 77 followers. Who cares? You don’t follow silly rules like #3.

Rule #4 — no thanks. Can’t be bothered to look for an image.

You have other images in the story, but don’t bother with the citation. Rule #5 means nothing to you.

Check your grammar? Don’t make me laugh. Rule #6 is out.

Keep it short? Certainly not. You’re planning an epic 26-minute read. Who cares about rule #7? Not you.

Did the story succeed?

Well, what do you think? One clap maybe? One comment?

In fact, this story made it to the home page of Medium under the heading “What We’re Reading Today”. It was chosen as one of the top 3 stories of the day by Medium staff.

What are you trying to tell me, that Medium staff don’t care about any of the rules? Correct.

Well, they probably do care, but some stories are obviously worth breaking the rules for.

The story was published on 11 July, so it’s just over a week old. So far, it’s got 1.7K claps and 24 comments.

You may not think that’s amazing. But it’s for a 26-minute story that breaks all the rules. Think about that.

The story is called “the monkeypox chronicles.

It’s a first-hand account of the author, Kyle Planck contracting monkeypox. If you think you or someone you know could be affected by this disease, this story is well worth 26 minutes of your time.

Don’t try this at home folks

I didn’t write this to give you permission to break all the rules. I wrote it to show you that the story is more important the rules. Ideally, you should write a great story while still following the rules.

What you shouldn’t do is put the rules before the story. If you perfectly follow the rules but write a boring story, you won’t get anywhere.