An Interview About Writing on Medium

Why do you keep writing on Medium?

What do you mean?

Why do you keep doing it?

First off, I write for myself. Then I sometimes post things on Medium.

You post on Medium almost every day.

Ok, maybe this is true but I write for myself first.

And you post on Medium because it says you have over a thousand followers?

Yeah, it is kind of cool to think that I have that many people reading my stuff.

You know that is a big bluff right? You know that this is a huge, well thought out scam played on writers?

What are you talking about?

I am talking about manipulating writer’s deepest sensitivities and longings. The creators of Medium have found a way to do this. Every writer dreams about having over a thousand or thousands of readers. But you don’t have a thousand readers on Medium. You are lucky if you get ten. The people who designed Medium just set things up so it seems like a lot of people might read your work.

Why would they do this?

Because, it keeps people posting content to their site. What better way to keep people posting content for free than providing them with the idea that lots of people follow their work. It is a genius concept but the trick is being played on the writers. Medium consumes content in the same way that your stomach consumes endless amounts of food. They live off the content posted to their site. They are sucking writers dry so that they can continue to thrive. And what do writers who post on Medium get?

What?

The illusion that they are being read by many. Now maybe if you post popular kinds of content you might get more readers, but still it is not as many as you think.

What do you mean by popular writing?

You know, the stuff that the not so smart masses want to read. The stuff about how to become a better and more productive person. The stuff about technology and business. The “How To” stuff that people consume and then forget about in a few days because they have moved on to the next meal. This is the stuff that Medium fills up on. They are just a consumer of endless amounts of motivational and technological content. None of what is being written on Medium will matter in a few years, let alone a week.

Shit, that is bleak.

Yes, and you try and post quality, creative stuff on Medium. You try and post what could be considered literature but no one wants this kind of content on Medium. It is not easy and motivational enough. It makes readers to aware of parts of their lives they wish to forget by reading popular motivational content on Medium. The irony is that in a hundred years, some of what you post on Medium may be the only stuff still being read.

So you are saying that Medium is a good long term, preservational platform for my work?

It has that possibility for you. You can use Medium in the same way that they are using you.

How so?

You let them manipulate you into thinking you have thousands of readers and you let them consume your hard-earned content for free but you potentially get a platform that will preserve your best work for centuries to come.

Hmmm. Never thought of it like this.

Medium is filled with a sea of crap. Often it takes humans half a decade or more to find the quality stuff. Medium is one safe space for your work to dwell in obscurity for a while. You are the fish out of water on here.

But if I was a fish in the water with all the other fish, I would have a lot more readers. I could possibly make money and get more known from what I write.

Yes, but your work will be completely forgotten in a hundred years. With what you are writing now- you still have a shot. Short term pain for longer term gain.

Interesting. Well, thank you for the perspective. I really appreciate it. It helps.

Sure. Oh, and also for what it is worth- you might get a few more readers now and then if you get better at editing what you write.

Yes, I know but I am imperfect when it comes to this skill. I do the best I can. Besides, few real writers are ever any good at editing. I am perfectly comfortable with fucking up. A real writer without an editor is like a bike without a rider.

I understand. You do the best you can with what you got. There are some real writers, as you put it, who are also really good at editing.

Yes, I know. But they are not the majority.

Yes. This is true. A real writer is good at creating the soul in what is written and an editor makes the soul presentable to the reader. This is why most writers are not real writers- there is no soul in what they write. It’s almost robotic.

Exactly. But the editing is great.

Yes. True.

Well, thanks again for your perspective.

Sure. Keep at it man. Don’t give up. You are good at what you do.

Thanks.

This Blog Is Now Blocked!

This blog is now blocked.

WORDPRESS has blocked my blog from the general public.

Now this blog is rated CENSORED, DEVIANT MATERIAL INSIDE.

Make no mistake about it- WORDPRESS IS A RELIGIOUS AND RESTRICTIVE INSTITUTION. ONLY CERTAIN APPROPRIATE THINGS CAN BE SAID HERE.

If you use the word MOTHERFUCKER in the title of a post you run the risk of being blocked.

Very said that a writing platform like WORDPRESS oppresses authentic expression and is so threatened by words like MOTHERFUCKER.

NO authentic/good writing can happen on a platform that will block and restrict your mode of expression if it feels like you are becoming inappropriate.

This is why WORDPRESS had become a main perpetuator of crapy writing in the world. WORDPRESS supports CENSORING writer’s voices if that writer’s voice expresses sentiments that are not in alignment with what they believe is right.

I will no longer have anything to do with WORDPRESS obviously. How could I? How could any real writing ever happen here?

WORDPRESS is like the TARGET for writing. It sells cheaply made products, for lower prices, that look kind of like the real thing but are far from it.

I am grateful to WORDPRESS for giving me a platform to write on. I am grateful that I was able to slide by under THE WORDPRESS BIG BROTHER CENSORING APPARATUS for as long as I did. It was my way of saying FUCK THE MAN while I still could.

WORDPRESS is now telling me I have said ENOUGH on their public platform. Ok.

I have been caught by the religious institution known as WORDPRESS, probably turned in by some religious WORDPRESSIAN disciple who can not handle a few bad words in their daily on-line reading.

There are a lot of very controlling and fascistic people out there who operate under the title of PEOPLE OF FAITH. Sad that a platform like WORDPRESS has lost the courage to stand out from the masses and has instead become an INSTITUTION FOR PEOPLE OF FAITH.

-Randall

How To Get Almost Nothing Done.

I need to get my head on straight here. I have been procrastinating all morning. Watching various videos. Leaving status updates on Facebook. Posting drawings on Instagram. It is 12:03pm and I am still wearing the clothes I slept in. Why am I doing this? What is it that I am looking for? It certainly feels easier than dealing with all the things I need to get done.

My toilet has been wobbling for weeks. Need to bolt it to the blue tiled floor. My bathroom walls have holes that need to be patched up. I have closets and a garage that are filled with junk and in desperate need of being organized. I have yet to return phone calls that are days old. I have several unfinished novels and short stories begging for my attention. I need to pay bills and call the financial aid office because I am in so much debt that I have not even bothered thinking about paying it back. For years and years. I could go on and on with the things that I am not taking care of but this doesn’t sound like fun.

There is currently a public service announcement on the college radio station that I have on, which is recommending taking deep breaths as an antidote to the epidemic of stress that fills all our jam-packed lives. Instead of breathing, I seem to have chosen retreating. The more that I must get done it seems that the less I want to do. I am like a person who eats a lot to lose weight. It is reverse logic. I realize that the more I retreat the heavier my life will get. But for whatever reason, a large part of me is all right with this.

There are two kinds of people in the world. There are those who are pro-active and organized. These people usually are very good at doing things that do not have an immediate benefit but require being fully committed, effort and consistency. They are not afraid of hard work even though it may not be fun. It seems easy for them to work hard at something that they are interested in for long periods of time. These are usually the people whose films we watch, houses we buy, books we read, classes we take, restaurants we eat in, planes we fly on, surgeries we subject ourselves to and on and on. Then there are those people who do just enough to get by. The only thing they really stick with is not sticking to things. They give the minimum amount of effort to just get by and then when things get hard they retreat. They go take a nap. Read. Drink a beer. Read. Go on Facebook or Instagram. Read. Listen to music. Nap. Read. This second kind of person is me.

Isn’t a blogger someone who wants to do the minimum amount of work in order to still remain a writer? This would be me. As soon as working on a novel or a short story gets tough, I become frustrated and bored and want to do something else. In fact, whenever anything gets boring or frustrating I seem unwilling to put in the work it would require to get it done. Instead, I go do something else that feels more fun even if this means sitting on my couch and staring out my window for hours. I do just enough to get by and it is only when I reach a crisis point or things get urgent that I will do more.

Isn’t this what the status quo means? Doing just enough to get by and then enjoying your life (or not) on your off time? Go work on your car, take out the boat, work in the garden, listen to records, clean your home, go to a movie, hang out with friends, read a book, watch a Netflix series. You work your job because you need the money and then when work is done you just hang out. To answer my own question, yes- this is the status quo. What would not be the status quo would be putting consistent effort into something that you are interested in but may or may not work out down the line. Even though I am not happy about it, I seem to have chosen the status quo. Life just feels easier this way.

I know an older man who feels like he has failed in his life. His life has been filled with anxiety, worry and despair. He has worked hard at his job as a social worker for thirty plus years but he told me that when he is done with work all he thinks about is resting and chilling out. “This is how I avoid stuff,” he tells me. I see him sitting there with his large belly, his marital problems, his expenses, his dislike of his job, his tired face, his head filled with stress and worries and I can not help but feel terrified that this man might be me in ten years. But how does one change this tendency to make a hundred excuses for why they do not have to fold the laundry, keep working on the novel, stay in the relationship, pay all the bills, exercise or call the financial aid office right now? I am a psychotherapist and I have no idea. Some bad habits seem hard wired so deep in our brains that we will do just enough, make the bare minimum effort to try and figure them out. Then when this feels like no fun anymore, we will drop it and go do something else.

The Drunken Dumbshow

I am sitting here at my desk. My hands are freezing cold. I have the heater on full power mode. I know I should work on editing one of the seven unfinished novels sitting in limbo on my computer. But I spend yet another morning trying to avoid the work. I send a few text messages. I read from one of the many novels I am always buying. I check the headline news on a few websites. I go to a few music websites and see who is hanging out there. Kanye West is out of the hospital. Who cares.

Why can’t I do the work? What is it that is wrong with me? Last night I watched a documentary about the avant-garde composer Phillip Glass. He said that he has no secrets except for one. His one secret is that you wake up early in the morning and get to work and then work all day. That is it. His only secret. Show up and do the work. Beyond this he seems to have no idea what he is doing. He just shows up to do the work and the ideas come. Why do I struggle to do the work? What is wrong with me? Why do I not have that kind of discipline floating around inside me? Is it because of growing up with a mother and father who were continually giving me negative feedback? Could that be the root of it? Maybe.

I just went and ordered yet another book on Amazon Prime. Why did I need to go and order another book? I have a library filled with unread books. I would rather sit in a chair and read other people’s books than do the work that it takes to finish writing my own books. Why? Because reading is fun and writing is hard. I would rather write these brief essays and post them on my various blogs, than commit myself to the work that it would take to finish one of my seven unfinished novels. I would rather go sit in my garden, on my meditation cushion or listen to one of my many records than do the work that it would take to be a published novelist.

Why do I have such an aversion to work? Just a moment please, I need to go look something up on the internet. Found it. There is this part that I like from one of Allen Ginsberg’s poems called The Fall of America:

Well, while I am here I’ll do the work-

and what’s the Work?

To ease the pain of living.

Everything else, drunken

dumbshow.

October, 1969

Everything else, drunken dumbshow. Indeed. I can see how spending my days just working on finishing my novels could ease the pain of living. It focuses the mind. It gives a person a deeper purpose and direction. It shuts out all the riff raff. But still I struggle to stay out of the drunken dumbshow. I get caught up in doing this and that. Being preoccupied by this and that. Wanting to go here and there. One big drunken dumbshow. I know this about myself yet it is so difficult for me to sit down and do the work for longer periods of time. I can do the work here and there but my working schedule is more like a cut up or collage than it is a steady growing thing. It seems that I prefer sitting in a chair and staring off into space over doing the work. This is not how great literary careers are made.

I am too easily tempted by the easier things. The simpler pleasures. The kind of pleasures that do not take too long to create. The book. The shopping mall. The café. The social media page. The restaurant. The room filled with friends. The dog park. The bike ride. The record collection. The movies. The magazine. The park bench. I am too easily pulled into these things. Isn’t this what laziness ultimately is? To be easily tempted by the simpler pleasures? The older we grow the harder it becomes to turn the brain away from these simpler pleasures. We feel like we have already struggled through enough of life and now it is time for leisure. Few older people still want to do the work. The energy is no longer there. They have come to terms with their nothingness that that is ok with them. Golf anyone? I find this to be a trap that is much too easy for me to fall in.

As I write this I don’t want to work. I should spend my day editing one of my seven unfinished novels. I should commit to doing this because being a novelist is still (for whatever reason) important to me. I have tried through endless amounts of meditation, brain manipulations and various other preoccupations to no longer want to write novels. Just give it up, I tell myself again and again. I have tried to let go of the desire to be a novelist in the same way that someone would release a balloon. But it doesn’t work. All efforts have failed. This need to write persists. Maybe it is true what Barbara Payton said about how who we are and what we do is written in a little black book in heaven and there is no getting out of it. It is all already written down. Shit.

I must do the work. I need to do the work. I can’t escape the work. Not as long as I am able to still do the work. But I crave the drunken dumbshow. I find the drunken dumbshow much easier to engage in than sitting alone at my desk all day and working hard at something that I do not know if anyone will ever read. At least things happen in the drunken dumbshow. Fun things! When a writer spends endless hours working on a literary work, nothing happens. Nothing but the various machinations going on within her or his brain.

I realize that I am rambling on here. What the hell is my point? Maybe I should just delete what I have written here. I am just going off on various tangents. All I am doing now is avoiding the work I need to do by writing about how I am avoiding doing the work. How about that? I have found a way to avoid writing by writing about it! Come to think of it- all the thousands of entries on my various blogs are all attempts to avoid doing the work I really need to be doing (like eating snacks instead of full meals). I am going to stop writing now and get to work on finishing one of my seven unfinished novels. First I just want to check a few things on-line. Then I need to do some cleaning around my house. Then I should make myself some lunch and read from a novel I would like to finish today. And then