I Love Writing But Right Now It’s Pretty Depressing

The act of writing is excruciating but trying to make it in the writing industry is also excruciating

Screenshot from my Twitter search history

I reinstalled Twitter on my phone and now my search history on this godforsaken app only consists of “Medium buyout.” Every day I check back in to see who else will be leaving Medium next week as a result of Ev Williams’ bombshell of an email. Gut-wrenching doesn’t even begin to describe how it feels to watch the editorial team slowly bleed out of my favorite writing and journalistic platform on the internet.

I’m biased, of course. My writing was born right here on this platform. Medium helped me dive straight into the uncharted waters of self-publishing and ignited my passion for writing. I like to think my devotion to the written word was there the whole time, and that it just needed “a little push,” as the Joker says. But every once in a while I wonder if this push was good for me. See, I got addicted to the positive feedback I’d receive when I’d write a good story — the validation would just go straight to my veins. I would daydream about some editors of big publications reading my work and fighting tooth and nail for the privilege to hire me. They wouldn’t even ask me what I want to write about! “Don’t even tell me what your beat is,” they’d say, “just write about whatever you want! I don’t know what your keyboard is made out of but your writing is pure gold!” Not gonna lie, I still daydream about that more times than I’d ever like to admit. But then I hear about mass lay-offs at publications I love like Mel and the web site The Outline and suddenly I come to the umpteenth realization that writing is a path much traveled but rarely survived.

Nevertheless, I believed Medium was special. Of course, my infatuation with the platform that gave me a voice played a big part in my belief that the journalism Medium championed was here to stay. Every day I’d refresh my Medium app and read articles and stories from excellent staff writers and freelance writers I could only dream of emulating. They became such an inspiration for me, and I worked so hard thanks to them. In two years, I even got to work with talented and so very generous editors at Human Parts, Gen, and Level. I even wrote my first reported piece for Elemental! Imagine that! I never took any writing class. I never went to J-school. I’m a fast-food worker for crying out loud. But they gave me a chance because they thought I’d do a good job. I really can’t thank them enough.

And now some of them are on their way out. Some of them will freelance again. Some have already found work again. Some… I don’t know yet, and I guess they don’t know either, but I’m confident their skills will find a home elsewhere.

As for me, I think I’ll stay here a little longer, carrying everything I’ve learned from the best editorial team I’ve ever had the privilege to witness in action. It’s weird, but right now, I still hold tight to the belief that I’m lucky enough to just write and publish. I don’t know what the platform that gave me a voice will look like in the coming months and years, but I guess I’ll just continue to f*** around and find out. I can’t get laid off anyway so what the hell.

English graduate student and freelance writer based in France. Words at Level, Elemental, Gen, Human Parts, etc. Email: abderemane.m.assad@gmail.com

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