How to Succeed in Your Craft in the Age of Technology

Be it Writing, Starting a Business, Trading Stocks, or Anything Else

Back in the day, the only way to get feedback for your writing was to show it to your friends and family, send it to a journal, or try to get it published as a book. All of which took an awful lot of time to receive feedback.

If your friends and family were your only sources of feedback, you could have thought that you were the next Hemingway or Woolf. You could get discouraged after a few rejection letters from publishers, which you were guaranteed to receive. In other words, the feedback loop was awfully long and skewed.

Only a few people could pierce their way through the wall of rejection letters. Stephen King was one of them, as he explains in his book On Writing, a Memoir of the Craft. He hung his rejection letters on a nail on his wall. I wonder how many people could motivate themselves with such a stimulant.

Course Correction

Back in the day, course correction was painfully slow. What is course correction anyway?

  • Make a move towards the target
  • Evaluate the results
  • Calibrate
  • Repeat

In order to evaluate the results, you need to have some results. In other words, you need to receive some feedback. The shorter the feedback loop, the more calibrations you can make, the more you can improve yourself, the faster you can move towards the target.

The feedback loop in traditional publishing was awfully long and ineffective for the writer. If you were lucky, the editors gave you a few reasons why they rejected your work. If you weren’t, you just wondered what you did wrong.

Then came the Internet. Slowly, but surely, writers could reach more people. The feedback loop shortened. In the old days, getting published and receiving letters from readers was the rewards. With the Internet, first receiving comments, then likes and shares became the rewards.

Writers could see what was received well and what wasn’t. They could receive feedback quickly and adjust their writing quickly. A new style evolved, which was optimized for the web.

Not Only for Writers

Technology not only benefited writers. It benefited everybody. If your craft is starting a business or trading stocks, the feedback loop is shortened for you as well.

You can easily and quickly test your ideas with little to no investment of money and time, making several course corrections before rolling it out in its entirety.

There are many options for almost any craft to showcase your work. Even stock traders can showcase their trading strategies on online platforms and receive feedback. The craft that has the most options is probably writing.

Nowadays, my favorite platform to publish my writing is Medium. Sure, I have a blog and newsletter as well, but by far the most distribution and feedback I get comes from Medium.

Gamification of the Creative Process

Medium is doing a great job of gamifying the creative process of writing. They have broken down the process of receiving feedback into atomic milestones. That way everybody receives some rewards and gets engaged on their platform.

Medium is basically a casino for writers.

Let’s dive deeper into how Medium engages the writers. Medium is basically a casino for writers. Instead of tokens, you throw in your post to the one armed bandit. Instead of receiving more tokens, you receive a variety of rewards.

After a while, writers have a sense of what type of content gets the most rewards from Medium, but the process is always a little random. You know exactly how to increase your chances, but just like in a casino, there is always a factor of chance, which makes things exciting and addictive.

What Are the Rewards in Medium?

  • Views
  • Reads
  • Claps, something similar to likes on other social platforms
  • Number of fans, number of people who clapped for a post
  • People highlighting your posts
  • Responses
  • Followers
  • Your posts getting accepted by Medium publications
  • Medium publications reaching out to you to publish your posts
  • Becoming a top writer in the tags you use
  • People signing up to your newsletter if you have one
  • People clicking through to your website if you have one

The Only Tip to Succeed on Medium

I don’t want to make this post about maximizing your rewards on Medium, but if you’re interested I will give you the only tip you need.

Get published regularly by serious publications on Medium.

You can find a list of top 100 publications on Smedian.com. Serious Medium publications have their submission guidelines. If you can satisfy their submission guidelines and get published by them on a regular basis, you have a serious chance of succeeding as a writer online.

If you paid attention, I used the word “regular.” That means daily. At least, Monday to Friday. Yes, that is hard, if you want to do it properly.

How to publish a post every day, but do it properly, yet maximize the rewards?

That is a question that I ask myself at this moment, after more than three months of publishing on a daily basis, including weekends. That question requires a post on its own. So, I’m going to write one tomorrow. Until then here is conclusion of this post.

Conclusion

Technology made it easy and fast to get feedback for your craft, whether it is writing, starting a business, or trading stocks. Use the technology to test your ideas quickly and cheaply and to improve your craft as fast as possible.

The shorter the feedback loop, the more effective the course correction, the better the results.

Burak Bilgin
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly overview of my latest content on personal development and life lessons.