I’ve been writing on Medium since January of 2017. When I first got on the platform, the style and content of the types of posts that did well were quite a bit different than today.
Back in early 2017, the undisputed King of Medium was Benjamin Hardy, who wrote (and writes) stuff like this:
- Why Most People Never Get What They Want
- Unsuccessful People Focus On “The Gap.” Here’s What Successful People Focus On
- Wake Up 1 Hour Earlier And You’ll Be 100X More Productive (Over Time)
And so forth. Now, Mr. Hardy is still doing quite well, all things considered. He still has over 200K followers, and his stories (when he publishes, which is seldom, these days) still generate thousands of claps. However, it seems like he’s focused on other things these days, and that it’ll be awhile before he returns to the top of the pile of Medium writers.
Part of that is probably due to the other work he’s doing (writing a book, etc) but I contend that a much bigger reason for the shift away from the type of self-help listicles that Benjamin was writing two years ago, and towards a more relational, storytelling model is due in no small part to the efforts of women writers on the platform. In this post, I want to share, and congratulate, five female writers in particular who I think have drastically altered the landscape of Medium for the better!
If, in 2017, Benjamin Hardy was the King, then in mid-2017, Tiffany Sun became the Queen of Medium. I’d argue that Tiffany represents one of the first writers on the platform who really, truly embraced the vulnerable storytelling model and did it so well that it started to attract attention. Tiffany’s stories of her life, her struggles against self-doubt, loneliness, and what it has meant for her to find happiness not only built a substantial following for her on the platform, but they became ingrained in the fabric of Medium in a way that began to set the tone for writers to follow her.
Here’s one of her stories that I picked because I think it really showcases Tiffany’s unique style of fearless self-exploration:
“If Wednesday Addams started writing self-help…”
What a great bio! And Jessica absolutely has lived up to that implied promise. Jessica’s style of writing is much less emotional and self-confrontational than Tiffany Sun’s, but her quirky perspectives, and dose of self-deprecating humor blend well with her mission to empower others to make changes for the better, in their personal and professional lives. The one thing both of these women have in common is their stories are rooted in personal experience, which has given them the fire they need to do what they can to help others along the path.
Jessica’s example story:
Shaunta took Medium by storm during 2017 and into early 2018 and she is still one of the most prolific writers on the platform, in any genre, period. Shaunta creates and creates and creates. She’s written about process, her personal life, her past, her future, her books, and everything in between. I’d be hard-pressed to find a single person on Medium who hasn’t had a Shaunta Grimes post come up in their Daily Read, because no matter what you come to Medium to read, Shaunta has probably written something that ties into it!
In a larger sense, though, Shaunta really started the ball rolling on developing a more vulnerable, story style. Her posts, particularly her earliest ones, read more like journal entries than self-help posts, but they are also some of the most empathetic posts you’ll find on the platform. While her style of writing very rarely wraps everything up into a tidy little package and presents it to you in ten easy steps, when you read one of her posts, you feel like, even though she may not have the perfect answer for your troubles, she understands you, and has been there.
Shaunta’s example story:
Some of my favorite posts over the past year have been from Shannon Ashley. If Tiffany, Jessica and Shaunta paved the way for the more honest, vulnerable style of storytelling, Shannon kicked in the proverbial door and yelled “it’s time to get real in here, muthafu**as!”
Like Shaunta, Shannon has an insane work ethic, is the publisher of a billion different publications, and has really taken the Partner Program specifically to new heights in the past year. If you have thought it, read it, or hated yourself for it, Shannon has written about it. And, she always delivers her work in a clear, honest, applicable way that has resonated with so many of us on the platform over the past year.
Shannon’s example story:
traceybyfire is a passionate writer about sexuality, personal development, and the inner workings of Medium itself. She’s a keen observer of human nature, and her insights are always delivered in a fresh and honest way.
Tracey’s work tends to be a little bit less based on storytelling than some of the other writers featured in this article, but that’s because her stories tend to build on each other. You really have to start at the beginning with Tracey, as her writing flows between articles and across topics much more freely than some of the other authors on the platform. But, if you do go back and start at the beginning, reading her work is like opening up a huge multiverse of interconnected thoughts and ideas, all driving toward a central conclusion: Be honest with yourself and others, take less crap, give more love. Or as she puts it herself:
Live like you’re running out of time, because you are.
Traceybyfire’s sample story:
All of us on the platform owe a great debt to these, and other women, who are revolutionizing what Medium is, and can be. While the list I’ve just presented is BY NO MEANS even scratching the surface of the phenomenal non-male writers on the platform, I think that it’s fair to say that these five fantastic writers have radically changed the direction of Medium in the past two years, and have made this an even better place to work, to write, and to read!
I know I’m in their debt as a writer who has learned much from reading them, and I wish each of them even more success in the future!