How to Get in the Flow: Substack vs Medium and the Power of Focus


Hatched by Glasp

Sep 17, 2023

4 min read


How to Get in the Flow: Substack vs Medium and the Power of Focus

Flow is a state of mind where time seems to disappear, and we are fully immersed in our work. It is a state of heightened awareness and pure, invigorating focus. The human brain is at its happiest when engaged in the meaningful pursuit of a goal. And while flow can be achieved in various activities, it can be even more powerful when we choose to focus on an activity for intrinsic reasons.

When we do something for our own sake, rather than out of obligation, we tap into a deeper level of motivation. As psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi puts it, "Flow is important both because it makes the present instant more enjoyable, and because it builds the self-confidence that allows us to develop skills and make significant contributions to humankind."

But how do we find this state of flow in our work? Two popular platforms, Substack and Medium, offer different approaches to content creation and monetization. Let's explore the common points and unique insights of these platforms, and how they relate to the concept of flow.

Substack and Medium have different business models. Medium charges readers a monthly fee to access its content, while Substack allows writers to monetize their work through paid subscriptions. Medium's paywall is unique in that it is metered, allowing non-paying readers to access a limited number of articles per month. This strategy entices regular readers to become subscribers. On the other hand, Substack relies on writers effectively utilizing its tools to reach new readers and develop a fanbase. It gives writers direct access to customer subscription information, allowing them more control over their content.

Successful writers on these platforms have different profiles. On Medium, writers who create semi-viral content tend to be more successful. This is because Medium rewards writers financially based on the engagement of paying readers. On the other hand, successful Substack writers typically focus on a very specific niche and position themselves as subject matter experts. While a baseball-specific publication on Medium may generate some traffic due to Medium's high domain authority, it is unlikely to generate significant views from paying readers. Substack's niche-focused approach allows writers to cater to a dedicated audience.

Monetization methods also differ between the platforms. Medium pays writers based on Member Reading Time, which measures the total time paying subscribers spend reading their articles. Substack, on the other hand, offers little in terms of content discovery or assistance in driving traffic. However, Substack's direct access to customer subscription information gives writers the potential to build a loyal following that can sustain their writing career.

When considering which platform to choose, it's important to consider your goals and resources. How much time are you willing to invest? Do you have an existing following or fan base? Are you comfortable advertising your writing? Are you writing about a niche topic? Do you hope to benefit from organic search engine traffic? Answering these questions can help you determine which platform aligns best with your objectives.

In the pursuit of flow, it's essential to focus on intrinsic motivation. No matter which platform you choose, finding joy and meaning in your work will lead to a more fulfilling creative journey. Here are three actionable pieces of advice to help you get in the flow:

  • 1. Discover your passion: Find a topic or niche that genuinely interests you. When you're passionate about what you're writing, it becomes easier to enter a state of flow and produce high-quality content.
  • 2. Set clear goals: Define what you want to achieve with your writing. Whether it's building a loyal following or generating income, having clear objectives will keep you focused and motivated.
  • 3. Develop a routine: Establish a writing routine that works for you. Consistency is key in maintaining flow. Set aside dedicated time for writing and make it a regular part of your schedule.

In conclusion, flow is a state of mind that can be achieved through intrinsic motivation and focused work. Substack and Medium offer different approaches to content creation and monetization, but both platforms have the potential to help writers find their flow. By discovering your passion, setting clear goals, and developing a routine, you can tap into the power of flow and create meaningful work. So, choose a platform that aligns with your objectives and get ready to dive into the world of flow.

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