Do you know what we writers lack?
Do you know what we writers lack?
A proper curriculum to do develop writing skills.
Most of us have embarked on writing without any proper training. Some like me got into it because our writing sucked, and we wanted to get better at it.
No wonder writing is such a hard skill to master.
Every other artistic field has a way of teaching the basics. Two years ago, I learned how to draw cartoons. I followed a curriculum for six months that taught me all the basics. Once I learned that all I needed to do was practice every day. Today I am a confident cartoonist.
Every professional invest in the continuation and enhancing of their skills. Doctors, Accountants, Teachers, Insurance, attorneys, and every other professional — all spend a ridiculous amount of time and money training each year to stay on top of their professions.
There is no such requirement when you are a writer and working for yourself.
Shouldn’t writers be staying on top of their profession?
Some of us do online courses and seminars in a haphazard way which, rather than enhancing our skills, leaves us baffled and frustrated.
Since we are left to our own resources, wouldn’t it be better to make our own learning plans?
A learning plan is a secret weapon that you can apply to anything you want to learn by yourself, whether it is writing, sketching, painting, or playing a musical instrument.
When I joined Medium, I got terrified by the number of things I needed to learn and the sheer size of the platform.
After weeks of frustration, I made a list of everything I thought I needed to know to come across as an informed writer. I called it my Medium Learning Plan. I broke each item on the list into bite-size pieces to make it easier for me to learn.
Then every day, I picked something from the list and learned it either by reading about it or watching videos, or practicing on my own. I didn’t stop until I felt confident enough to cross it off my list.
Some topics were simple, and I only needed a basic understanding of them. Others like ‘Categories,’ ‘Setting,’ and ‘Publications’ were complex, and I had to go back to them repeatedly. But the key was I invested in my continuing education.
What surprised me was that once I had a written plan, I was not intimidated by the size of the list. In fact, it was really easy to learn them in bite-size pieces, one tiny skill at a time.
After just a few weeks of my learning plan, my knowledge took off. Within a year, I have a knowledge base to write several articles based on what I learned.
That should be your goal too. Anytime you find yourself thinking, there is so much I need to know but don’t know where to start, make yourself a learning plan.
If you don’t take the time to make the plan, your learning will be haphazard, and you won’t grow.
My original Medium Learning Plan has grown over the months, and it will keep growing, but here it is to get you started with yours:
My Medium Learning Plan
My learning plan had four sections. I keep on adding to it as I realize there are more things I need to learn and cross off the ones I become competent in.
1. Medium Platform
a. What are the different features of the platform?
b. How to set up my profile page?
c. How to write and publish an article?
d. All the features of Medium Editor.
e. What information does Medium stats provide, and how can I use it (topics, categories, views, reads, fans, engagement, earnings, backlist)?
f. Various settings and how to use them effectively.
g. What is Control Your Recommendations and how to use them effectively?
h. What is Partner Program and how it works?
i. What are fans and followers? What is the difference?
j. How to get more followers and fans?
k. How do comments work? When and how to provide and respond to comments?
a. What are Medium publications?
b. Which are the prestigious Medium publications?
c. How to write for publications?
d. Which publications should I be targeting? What are their publishing guidelines? What kind of content that those publications are seeking?
d. How to start my own publication (technical know-how).
e. What are the benefits of starting a publication?
f. What niche will my publication serve?
g. How to grow my publication (subscribers and writers)?
h. How to provide value with my publication? And everything else.
a. How to write my background story?
b. How to write an article?
c. Anatomy of good Medium articles?
d. How to write articles that are useful even for years to come?
e. How to write them in a reasonable amount of time (1–2 hours)?
f. Article templates.
g. How to build an acceptable frequency for publishing?
h. What will be my system of writing regularly (time of the day, place, location)?
i. How to generate ideas for articles?
j. How to do research?
k. What will be my editing strategy. Will I do it myself, or can someone help me—my self-editing checklist.
l. How to write great headlines?
m. How to get interesting images?
a. Write every day.
b. Write using a stopwatch.
c. Master Pomodoro Technique.
c. Write ten ideas a day.
d. Walk/Gym every day.
e. Four-hour writing day.
Hope this is helpful.
Make your own learning plans.
Read articles where people share their experiences. Makes notes from them and keeps them handy.
Do not cross off an item until you are fully competent in that skill.