Summer writing, summer learning

Medium Writers Newsletter: Writing tips, updates, and spotlights

Medium Creators
The Medium Blog
8 min readJul 10, 2020


Illustration: Kawandeep Virdee

Summer is here. While there are familiar elements of summer, it’s different this year. We have the challenges of the coronavirus, and important racial justice work to do. It’s helpful to note that your writing practice can be a place of support, learning, and processing. It can be a place of growth. And it can be a place of creativity and expression.

How we write is changing too. In response to news outlets announcing that they are capitalizing “Black,” Eve L. Ewing shares why she capitalizes “White:” “When we ignore the specificity and significance of Whiteness — the things that it is, the things that it does — we contribute to its seeming neutrality and thereby grant it power to maintain its invisibility.” Read more in “I’m a Black Scholar Who Studies Race. Here’s Why I Capitalize ‘White.’

It’s crucial to note the importance of rest. “Over the past few months, the pandemic has caused millions of people to rethink their relationship to work and striving,” writes Lincoln Hill in “The More Important the Work, the More Important the Rest.” Hill emphasizes this importance especially for Black Americans: “We have rarely been afforded the grace of caring for ourselves despite the trauma and racism this country has inflicted. As such, rest and self-care are profound notions. The ability to pause reaffirms our dignity.”

“The Way We Work Now” call for submissions

The Way We Work Now is an ongoing series in GEN that we will update throughout the pandemic. We shared a call for submissions from GEN earlier this year, and from those stories featured “Instead of Teaching Summer School, I’ll Be Working at an Amazon Warehouse” by Ryan Fan and “I’m Training as a New Doctor in the Shadow of a Pandemic” by Gabriel Redel-Traub, MD.

GEN is accepting first-person essays from people whose day jobs or careers have fundamentally changed because of the current economic downturn. How are you rethinking what it takes to earn a living? Reopening your business? Entering the service industry for the first time? We want to hear from people who are reevaluating career paths, putting passion projects on hold, or pivoting to jobs they would have never before considered.

Please keep submissions under 800 words. Email full drafts and published stories to

Medium writer earnings survey

We’re collecting feedback on earning in the Partner Program. Your responses will help us better understand your experience earning on Medium, and help inform improvements. This is anonymous. If you’d like to share more about your experience, please fill out the survey here.

How to write anything, from Forge

In “How to Write an Article Millions of People Will Read,” Darius Foroux shares advice from his experience writing on Medium. “I can share one thing about writing,” Foroux writes. “To really connect with people, you need to go deeper, not wider. Here are some ways to do that.” Think of a single person in your audience, and imagine the journey your story will take them on. Pick a few authors you love, and practice writing like them. Develop a “trademark,” a unique quality across your stories that sets them apart. Check out the article to go deep into each of these methods.

This is one of several stories in the Forge series “How to Write Anything.” If you haven’t already seen it, the articles cover a range of writing topics. From Forge Executive Editor Ross McCammon, “Here at Forge, we think there’s no activity more connected to the self — and no skill more improvable — than what we type into those screens.”

Finding the time to write

Making time to write can be challenging. This was the topic of conversation in a recent Editors Explain by The Writing Cooperative. For Ron Dawson, it’s a deep passion that he must do. “I make time just like I make time to eat. If I go too long, the ‘hunger’ hits me, and like a physical body feeling the effects of low blood sugar, my spirit and soul feel depleted if I haven’t written.” Jessica Jungton, editor at The Writing Cooperative, plans ahead, blocking out a specific time to write: “If I don’t plan ahead, it’s hard to motivate myself to start and I’ll often end up mindlessly scrolling through social media or watching a movie instead. For me, planning, commitment, and specific timelines are key.” Read more of the responses in “Editors Explain: How Do You Make Time for Writing?” and check out the full Ask the Editors series.

Black Twitter’s 50 Under 50k List from LEVEL

LEVEL recently released an extensive resource to find inspiring and influential creators to follow. “Twitter can sometimes feel like a massive hellscape with no joy in sight,” writes David Dennis, Jr.. “But the truth is, there’s too much good lurking in there — too much joy in an otherwise hopeless place. You just need to dig past the blockbusters to find the hidden gems.” LEVEL compiled a list of Black creators, spanning comedians, actors, journalists, activists, policymakers, rappers, and more. Check out the list on Twitter, and here on Medium.

Updates from Medium

Colin Kaepernick has joined the Medium Board of Directors. In addition to being a civil rights activist and athlete, he founded Kaepernick Publishing, which believes that “reading is a liberator of the mind and will give us the thoughts and ideas to free our bodies.” Through this partnership, Kaepernick will collaborate with Medium’s editorial team at LEVEL and Momentum, and also Medium and Kaepernick Publishing will co-publish feature stories. “I couldn’t be more happy to welcome Colin to Medium,” Medium CEO Ev Williams shared in the announcement, “He’s an incisive, independent thinker, whose integrity has inspired so many. The world needs more of that.” Read more in “Colin Kaepernick to Join Medium Board of Directors.”

Last month Medium launched Momentum, a blog about the fight against anti-Black racism. In the launch announcement from the editors: “When the streets clear and the cameras shutter, Momentum will not fade away. We’re committed to a long-term conversation about awareness and change so that anti-Blackness is confronted and, with time, wiped away.” See the latest stories from Momentum.

As the coronavirus continues to spread around the world, you can stay up to date on the latest from the Medium Coronavirus blog, a real-time resource for Covid-19 news, advice, and commentary.

Story spotlights on the platform

Medium editors are on the lookout for great stories published on the platform and work with the authors to edit and produce the stories. Just like last month, we’ll spotlight a few stories that Medium editors found and brought into their publications. What makes a story resonate? There’s a variety of reasons — read more to learn what the platform editors found compelling about these stories in particular.

Why I Defend Guilty Clients” by Michele Sharpe

If we’ve learned anything from the last month, it’s that the words “guilty” and “innocent” don’t mean much when they’re used to prop up a corrupt criminal justice system. Writer and former public defender Michele Sharpe shares a story from inside that system: After a 13-year-old girl accidentally kills a seven-year-old boy, Sharpe comes to her defense. The case, and its fallout, remind us that labels like “guilt” and “innocence” tend to obscure more complicated truths. — Harris Sockel, deputy editor at Human Parts

Stop Weaponizing Dr. King Against Black Lives Matter Protestors” by Omid Safi

Safi, a professor of Islamic studies who had the honor of speaking at the 50-year commemoration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, writes eloquently about how modern critiques of the Black Lives Matter protests often misrepresent the civil rights icon’s teachings. King’s message was hardly one of gradual moderation, Safi explains. Americans must resist the temptation to whitewash his legacy. — Amanda Sakuma, platform editor at GEN

Facebook Is a Better Platform Than Twitter for Discussing Racial Injustice” by Joshua Adams

Last month the world erupted in protest against anti-Black racism. As many took to the streets, still more expressed their outrage on social media. The internet rang with heated conversations ranging from defunding the police, to the scourge of Confederate monuments, to blackface in modern television programs. But where is the best social network to be having these conversations, especially when the networks themselves are still reckoning with their own systemic racism? In “Facebook Is a Better Platform Than Twitter for Discussing Racial Injustice,” Chicago writer, teacher, and journalist Joshua Adams argues that Facebook is the lesser of two evils right now. Megan Morrone, platform editor at OneZero

Medium Rare: Highlights across the platform:

GEN’s Medium Rare is a weekly digest of stories from across the Medium Universe from Platform Editor Amanda Sakuma. This past month features a collection exploring how systemic racism enters our lives and also learning from past mistakes. If you know a piece that should be featured in these digests, drop it in the Medium Rare responses.

June earnings payouts

By the 8th of each month (so in this case July 8), we initiate the payments for the prior month’s earnings. Please allow 3–7 business days to receive the June earnings payouts in your Stripe account. Based on member engagement from this period:

  • 63.1% of writers or publications who wrote at least one story for members earned money.
  • 5.7% of active writers earned over $100.
  • $33,617.89 was the most earned by a writer, and $6,386.48 was the most earned for a single story.

Learn more about earning money for your best writing with the Medium Partner Program.

Words to write by

This month’s writing inspiration comes from Steven Johnson, in “The Spark File,” an essay he wrote back in 2012. He shares advice to keep a list of ideas and hunches you have. That’s a familiar idea. The novel aspect here is to revisit and reread the entire list every few months.

In a funny way, it feels a bit like you are brainstorming with past versions of yourself. You see your past self groping for an idea that now seems completely obvious five years later. Or, even better, you’re reminded of an idea that seems suddenly relevant to a new project you’ve just started thinking about.

Check out the stories in the Writing topic, and follow Medium Writers for more inspiration and advice on writing. Follow Medium Writers on Twitter, where we’ve been sharing tips, advice, and stories from across the platform — as we do here, just on a more regular basis. Feel free to share this newsletter with friends who might be interested in writing.

Keep at it,

Kawandeep, Creator Success

This monthly newsletter for writers is from Medium Writers. Learn more about how Medium supports great writers through the Medium Partner Program. If you’re in the Partner Program, see your dashboard here.