Medium Turned Me Into an Article Hoarder
I noticed something when I logged into Medium tonight: I have a few articles saved to read “later.”
How’d I Get Here?
I first stumbled upon Medium last spring when I was contemplating leaving my grant writing gig for a freelancing career. I don’t remember what drew me to the platform, but as soon as I began reading the articles I fell in love.
I’d never before found one place that offered such a wide array of information — everything from well researched, thought-provoking articles on hard-hitting subjects to jokey listicles and comics.
Only on Medium do fiction and poetry rub elbows with instructional blogs, while lowly indie publications wrestle the majors (Rolling Stone, The Atlantic) for screen time.
It is, in a nutshell, a place for everybody. Got an opinion? A rant? Something to teach? Come on in! Share it. You’re guaranteed to find readers.
Once I was on the site, I was hooked. I spent hours reading articles on freelancing, social media promotion, and how to avoid creative burnout. I perused posts about parenting, relationships, and office politics. There was so much to read! So much to learn!
It was a black hole of information — finish one post, find an array of suggestions for more. It got to the point where I couldn't keep up.
“Ooh, that one looks great!” I’d think. “I really want to read it, but I have to [insert actual work or life event here].”
Luckily, Medium has a handy save option. Want to check out an article but don’t have time? Add it to your Reading List! Love it and want to keep it for posterity? Archive it!
And that’s how I ended up with more than 1,100 items I planned to read down the line.
Noticing a Theme
Scrolling through my list now, I see a theme emerging. Apparently, I’ve been on a mission to Make My Life Better. Most of the articles I saved fall somewhere on the “How to…” and “What I Learned…” spectrum.
Laid out, one on top of the other, the titles are repetitive. Most say something like:
How I Made $15,000 in 2 Days as Blogger
10 Lessons Learned in 10 Seconds on Medium
What I Learned from Writing 80 Bajillion Words in 8 Days
How to Gain 6 Million Social Media Followers in 3 Weeks
You’re Doing Things Wrong if You Do Them This Way
(*Not actual titles, as far as I know.)
Apparently, I figured by reading and highlighting the words of those who had come before me, I too could make tons of money, change my life, and attract loads of fans.
It’s not a bad idea — gaining insight from others is what the self-help industry is built upon — but what I failed to realize is that to learn anything, I’d have to actually read the articles.
Instead, they’ve sat in my Reading List, untouched, like dusty books sitting on a shelf. And now I’m at the point where there’s too much. There’s no way I can — or want — to read 1,100 articles, no matter how good they might be.
I’ve also been publishing on this site long enough to no longer need the “How I Gained 50,000 Medium Followers in 10 Days” type of article. I know that what worked for the authors of those posts will probably not work for me. We’re each on our own path on this little writing adventure, and there are many ways to find, and define, success.
The articles that a year ago were so important that I had to save them to read later are now just simply taking up space.
It’s Time to Clean House
I appreciate the Reading List feature, but it’s become a virtual room that I’ve stocked with stuff I don’t need. So tonight, I’m going to clean it out. Hopefully, by deleting the thousand-plus articles I never had time to read, I’ll let go of my hoarding tendencies.
If that doesn’t work — if I find myself hitting the save icon over and over again — I’ll do a search for “how to stop hoarding.” There has to be a few Medium articles on the topic I can read…eventually.