I’ve Decided to Take My Stories Off Medium’s Paywall

No, I haven’t received the letter.

Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

This was not an easy decision to make. My heart tugged harder each time I uncheck the box of my old posts for metering my stories.

When I first joined Medium’s Partner Program (MPP) in 2020, the requirement to stay in the program was to publish at least one to two articles a month (I can’t remember the exact quantity).

In 2021, MPP added another requirement — You need to have at least 100 followers to be eligible for the program. I only found out about this recently from writers who are asking people to follow them to help keep them in the program. Initially, I thought this only applied to new writers who came in at the time this condition was implemented.

Lately, I’ve been reading about people who were forced to leave MPP for not reaching 100 followers. That includes people who joined MPP before the new rule was put in place. It struck my heart. Some of these people write because they want to share, but at the same time, make a little side money out of it. That’s what we got to do to survive these days, isn’t it? Capitalize on everything, including things we enjoy doing. For a little comfort and security.

If you look at my following at this current moment, I haven’t reached 100 followers. However, the growth has been big this year. I’ve been gaining a somewhat steady stream of followers. Every time someone new follows me, my heart grows. It motivates me to write more. So does my hunger for the dollars.

For the first time in February, I’ve gotten more than cents in my account. A number other than 0 has finally filled in before the decimal. A beautiful $2.57.

Screenshot from author

Money became more important than my heart for writing which was to share my thoughts and experiences. The initial intention of writing has shifted.

Many companies or things invented always starts from the heart. These corporations started out with wanting to help people. But as their popularity grows, so does greed. More and more limitations are put in place, especially for consumers who still want to enjoy these products for free. It gradually squeezes some of us into a corner to subscribe to their premium membership just to have some peace from saturated ads.

Spotify used to allow non-subscribers to listen to music without time limitations. All they had to do was deal with ads. Today, non-subscribers are limited to 15 hours a month of free listening. Most subscribers of Spotify aren’t aware of this. When they found out, many were surprised but not that shocked anyway. We’ve seen how these companies start small and grow into these mega corporations — Netflix, Spotify, Youtube, etc. And that includes Medium as well.

I’ve been lucky. I haven’t received a warning letter from Medium about not meeting the 100 followers requirement. I could continue to grow my following and eventually earn money off my writing. It would be a great source of income when I have kids and have to work from home. But for now, I’ve decided I no longer want your penny for my thoughts. Heck, I get less than a penny per view anyway.

Photo by Etienne Boulanger on Unsplash

I’ve realized I’ve lost the joy of doing anything I used to love in life. Everything feels like work because I need to make money to survive our capitalistic world. I need to find that joy again. But to do that, I have to sever the ties of responsibility to it. I have to find my heart again.

So now, I want to write not to make money but to share. Not to share with a price but to share freely. These days, most help is no longer free.

Now, this is my decision and my decision only. Many people still need to make a living. I’m not trying to ruin the market. It’s a personal choice for my heart, mind, and soul. A conscious step I’ve chosen to take in this stage of my life. I think the world could use a little help without asking for anything in return.

How can I make a living then?

I’ll find another way. There’s always another way. Some people might think me silly to not pounce on this opportunity but the beauty of the net is it opens many other opportunities. Is the road going to be easy? Of course not. But not everything has to be about money, right? My mind has been so bogged down by the responsibility of making money that I’ve lost passion for doing the things I used to love to do in life. So this is the step I’m taking for myself to find that passion and joy in life again.

Don’t be mistaken. I’m not noble. Am not trying to be either. It’s because I can afford it. Most writers can’t especially if it’s their bread and butter. It’s simply what they do. It’s their profession.

I teach conversational English on CaféTalk while I’m living in Japan. Do I earn a lot from it? No, actually. I don’t. Those who are aware of CaféTalk would know what I’m talking about. They take 40% of your pay when you first start. They take a lesser percentage the more students take your class each month. Nevertheless, it still fluctuates according to the month. But that’s another topic for another day.

I’ve been blessed with a husband with a good income. I feel guilty for contributing little financially. In fact, I still feel some resistance in making this decision, especially when I’m just starting to see growth. But my hubs understands my heart. We don’t have kids yet so that makes it easier. And he knows it will be my turn to contribute once we move to Canada.

Am I completely off earning money from Medium?

No, I haven’t left the partnership program entirely. I could. But I don’t know what the future holds for Medium, what kind of new rules would be in place.

It might be a hassle to rejoin the program since I’d have to reapply, which means there’s a chance I might not meet the new requirements. I still haven’t. So just in case, I decided not to leave the program. Who knows…maybe I’ll get the letter after publishing this post. Maybe Medium missed me out when sending those warning letters. I don’t know how this works.

I am still getting a little from Medium’s Membership Referrals. I’ve only had one who used my referral link so far. Thank you Tyre for your support!

Nevertheless, I’ll be removing my written call-to-action and subscription link at the end of my posts too, starting from this one. The membership referral link can still be found on my profile and Medium’s CTA.

Will I meter my stories again in the future?

I don’t know. Maybe yes, maybe no. I can’t say for sure. If I decide to make writing my main source of income, unfortunately, I’ll have to meter my stories again. Perhaps that time might be when I have kids.

Ideally, I would like to stay off it forever if I can and share content with the public freely. Perhaps, I might switch to donations instead, like how some Medium writers use Ko-Fi, Patreon, or PayPal. Who knows?

But for now, I’ve decided to take a break from thinking about earning money from my writing. Promoting myself is pretty tiring. It takes a lot out of me. More importantly, my soul.

So here’s to a new beginning on Medium. 😊

Instagram: @justwildcass @casswildcat

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