Hi, Ida. I was in that Zoom meeting with you and some others the other day. I’ve read a few of your articles and you certainly are doing many of the little things I’ve read we need to do to have a chance at being successful on Medium: the small paragraphs, the catchy titles, the section headings, the inset quotations, the short article length, and so on. Plus, your writings are are full of concrete details, as opposed to being abstract and argumentative (like many of my writings). You’re packaging your content in autobiographical form, which lots of people seem to like.

In one of your articles you say you were making only $100 a year. Did you mean to say a month? You’re getting at least as many claps as I do on my articles, on average, and I’ve been making around $100 a month. I don’t know how exactly Medium calculates the payments. Do claps still matter? Is it the highlighting that matters? Is it how long someone spends reading the article? Your articles are shorter than mine, so that might be a factor.

Anyway, I’m hardly an expert on being successful in Medium. If I had to offer any advice, one thing I’d suggest is to try being more aggressive, in-your-face, and controversial in the subject matter. It may be a question of what people want to read. The few articles I’ve read of yours don’t really get to the heart of the issue you raise, at least as far as I can tell. “When you have no choice but to be your own BFF” is poignant and a little sad (I’m introverted too), but I wish it had offered more forthright or deeper commentary on what’s going on with introversion and extroversion.

I recently wrote something on introversion, tying it to the Covid pandemic. I’m not saying my article is better or more successful or anything like that. I’m just using it as an example of an article with a more in-your-face thesis. If you read mine, you can tell the difference in style. Mine is more argumentative and academic, yours more concrete and autobiographical. But beyond style, there’s the question of what an article is really saying. What’s the main point the reader can take from it? In my article, the point is that Covid presents us with a virtual critique of our extroverted cultures, since it’s forcing us all to live more or less like introverts. I think that’ a controversial, thought-provoking thesis.

By contrast, what exactly is your article on introversion really saying? You’re showing what it’s like to be introverted and you offer some quoted words of wisdom at the end. I’m just wondering whether a bolder, more searching take on the issue might catch more people’s attention, by challenging them and forcing them to question certain assumptions.

Again, I’m really not an expert on this and I’m not so successful on Medium myself, so this may be the blind leading the blind. But I can say my most successful article here was also my most in-your-face one. It’s called Why Theism and Atheism are both Laughable. And it’s not just a link-bait title. I have one section condemning theism and another section condemning atheism. The title is challenging, controversial, even paradoxical, and the article backs up the title with forthright explanations.

Maybe that piece of advice speaks only to my personal preferences. I’d rather read the kinds of articles I try to write than the autobiographical stories that are all the rage — unless the latter are focused on making a clear, important, and preferably controversial, thought-provoking point. But that could easily just be me, since I’m interested especially in philosophy (in getting to the bottom of matters). That’s my advice, then, for whatever it may be worth.

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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