While in high school and college, we are trained to write papers that emphasize all of the good writing guidelines and formatting, proper use of citations, and good grammar, however, there's always a fixation on the length of the paper. “Minimum of 6 pages, and no more than 10 pages” taught us to s-t-re-t-c-h out the little that we had to say, or learn how to acceptably self-edit while getting the major points across.
Blogging has freed us from the parameters of length, giving lean to casual grammar and preferring the use of imagery to help tell as story as much as the words, which comes to most of us as quite a relief from the restrictions surrounding formal writing.
Although I by NO MEANS miss term papers, starting off as a print journalist and eventually writing for online audiences in 2006, I sometimes miss penning lengthier pieces that readers can expect and enjoy, instead of trying to keep it to around 500 words per blog post. My friend Dina recently introduced me to Medium.com, an alternative blogging platform created by one of the founders of Blogger that focuses on a clean, no-frills format that is easily navigable and focuses on words, rather than imagery.
You can of course upload a header/background image and some additional ones throughout the post, but the main call to action is the writing. It's non committal, though, and emphasizes the fact that it's more of a community than an individual's blog, so that you can pop in and out as you please, opposed to a blog page looking sad and stationary when you just haven't been able to find the time to add fresh content.
Stripped bare of the usual blogging bells and whistles such as color, font, ads, plugins, and the like, I was at first a little intimidated of Medium.
Not to say that I've been hiding behind these add-ons, but I admit that I can become a bit reliant on some of these items to carry some of the weight of doing the talking, so that my writing isn't always pushed to be the best it can be. The best way to experience Medium is by setting up an account (you can do it quickly via your Twitter or Facebook account), perusing through the top posts, looking at “collections” of posts gathered together by a particular theme or topic (found one on fashion blogging), write a post (save as a draft or publish it), post comments on others' posts, and generally write to your heart's desire.
Encouraging its users to write but still being cognizant of time, each post has an estimate on how much time it may take one to read it, which I've found to be quite a delight and helpful in spending some time on the site and not falling into the deep vortex of “where did the past hour go?”
I'm planning to use Medium.com as a place to dribble out chapters and flush out concepts of the book that I'm working on to a community willing to read and give me candid feedback and comments. Also, the comments posted are kept private; it is up to the author's discretion if they'd like to make them public or not, which I certainly appreciate and think may derive more thoughtful and constructive feedback.
I'd also like to use the site to generally write things that don't necessarily belong on my blog, but I'd still like to find a published home for them, somewhere. Several authors are using Medium in a promotional way for their individual blogs, publishing some of their post on the site, and providing a link to read the rest on their respective sites. I'm certainly intrigued and enticed to use Medium.com, as it can only make my writing, and hence my posts and blog, that much more inviting to my readers.
Will you explore Medium.com?