3 Arbitrary Content Writing Rules That Make No Sense

by | May 5, 2021 | Uncategorized

When it comes to writing, there’s a right way of doing things and a wrong way of doing things.

Really? I’d like to challenge that notion.

Because I’m starting to see more and more thinly veiled resentment disguised as constructive criticism on Medium, some of which seems to be aimed directly at me. And I’m about up to here with it.

Have fun with your resentment. Go ahead, be right about everything. You are god incarnate and you must be infallible because you have trillions of disciples who say so.

I beg to differ. And here are just some of the many nonsense tips I’ve recently come across that frankly make we want to gouge my kneecaps out with a dull pickle. Let’s get into it.

Articles Must be a Certain Length to be Valuable

It seems many publications only accept stories that are at least four to five minutes long. And I get it. I’ve run Music Entrepreneur HQ for many years now, and we’ve set certain guidelines in place for our contributors because of the many trolls and opportunity seekers who sometimes don’t even have a firm grasp of the topics we cover let alone the domain where our site is located.

Which leaves us feeling like this:

Confused meme

Now, you can set your own rules and guidelines as you see fit. I see no problem with that.

But I can also tell you that some of my most valuable posts have only been two to three minutes long (which isn’t to say I don’t have some awesome longer pieces).

For instance, Transforming Your Ask is something I couldn’t have even written without completing recent coursework, and it says what needs to be said on the topic without mincing words. All filtered down to the three minutes that matter.

The legendary Derek Sivers would surely echo the sentiment that it’s much harder to whittle down an article to just the words that matter than to keep all the filler in.

Let’s be real – the only reason we need longer articles is because they help us earn more money on Medium. Stop tip toeing around the issue. Fluff is fluff.

If you can write 1,000-, 2,000-, and even 3,000-word articles that are valuable, more power to you. But unless it’s insanely valuable, my response will probably be “cool story, bro” or tl;dr. Which is okay, because I’m probably not your target audience and never will be.

You Shouldn’t Include so Many Links in Your Stories

Look, I wouldn’t advise anyone create a link farm out of their Medium stories. But that doesn’t mean there’s no value in interlinking stories, and even from Medium’s perspective, their goal is to keep their readers on the platform. As a writer, you can support that goal by directing readers to other useful content you’ve written.


I get that some people might not like my weekly digests. No problem.

But first, I never meter these stories, so anyone can access them. By doing so, I’m acknowledging that they are blatant self-promotion. Second, if these turn you off, they aren’t for you.

I don’t watch CNN because I don’t like it. What I don’t like, I don’t watch. I don’t have endless time and energy to dedicate to tearing them down let alone the patience to watch long enough to offer something more constructive than “this sux0rs.” Which is why I don’t.

Would you care to know why I create weekly digests? Did you even ask? Huh?

For years, I’ve had people tell me that they can’t keep up with everything I create. So, I started making weekly digests as a service to them.

People interested in seeing what I’m up to can quickly see, from a bird’s eye view, whether there’s something they’d like to dive deeper into, get in and get out. It’s valuable to them, as they can pick and choose what matters to them.

If I walked into the service department of a car dealership and had to sit through 20 sales presentations before I could talk to someone who could help me with my maintenance and repairs, I would not go back to that dealership. And yet, that’s exactly how your damn sales funnel treats me.

No, we shouldn’t adopt certain habits just because they are SEO best practice. But we also shouldn’t harbor resentment towards other writers just because we don’t like them or are jelly as the Green Giant (a little controversy, healthy antagonism, or friendly competition never hurt a writer’s stature though).

Never Express Your Challenges or Concerns

Why? Because you’re worried about reputation management?

That must be a limiting life, one based almost exclusively on trying to look good or avoid looking bad. If you can’t say “amen,” say “ouch.”

I wouldn’t want that life.

Challenges, difficulties, obstacles, and frustrations are all part of the human condition and experience. We can all relate to them. They make stories truthful, human, and remove the added barrier of an instant “pretty” Snapchat filter.

I’m about tired of all the microwave success stories, which paint the unrealistic picture that you can get the same results if you just buy the course and do the work. And I see them on Twitter as much as I see them on Medium.

I’m glad for you that you’ve been able to make a bajillion dollars as a writer, become an influencer on every social media platform, invent a time machine, harmonize the universe and save the planet all before breakfast. Congrats!

Again, you’re not facing an ugly truth here, which is that stories related to your Medium earnings are just clickbait you can still get away with.

Try writing on a topic that isn’t just more writing tips or making money online. I dare you. I double dare you.

I haven’t been curated since 2018. I haven’t ever made more than $15 in a month on Medium. After publishing over 470 stories.

So what? It doesn’t mean I haven’t put in the work or that I’m doing everything wrong. It doesn’t mean I’m not worth following or listening to. It doesn’t even mean I’m not following the best strategies and tactics available to me.

I have done quite well for myself as a writer, and if you somehow think my advice is any less valuable than the $6,000 per month guy, you’ve got me all wrong. It’s just that I don’t constantly feel the need to brag about my five books (three best-sellers), lucrative ghostwriting contracts, or regular staff writing duties that more than pay my bills.

Medium, to me, is an experiment to see if more is possible, and if this is the right opportunity.

We need to learn to place the value with the content rather than the personality with a perfectly curated social media presence. Because we can easily make wrong assumptions about who is successful and living the dream life and who isn’t.

I know you like getting photographed every other day, but I don’t feel the need to impress those who can’t see the value in what I’m creating for them.

You can argue that it’s all about presentation, and sure, I know what you mean. I just don’t relate.

Final Thoughts

I’m just playin’. You know I love you.

But seriously. Let’s put the diarrhea fishbowl behind us and focus on the one thing we’re here to do – writing.

Anyone can be a critic. After all, there’s no school for critics.

But it takes a bronzed hulk to set aside their resentments and jealousy to focus on their craft instead. Now that, is godlike. Not your damn earning statements.

So, respectfully, and cordially… F off, bush league.

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