You Are Worth More than .01 for Your Poem

A Writer and a Poet Who Found Her Self-Respect

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Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

I did an unintended experiment last month and wrote a lot for Medium. I submitted 20 pieces; a nice mix of articles and poems. I wrote early in the morning and often again in the evening after I got home from work. I wrote throughout the weekends.

What happened was I got swallowed up and caught inside a monstrous feeling of I need to write more and more. This became a deadly cycle.

Overachieving is an issue of mine as well as being competitive.


I wasn’t earning big bucks. LOL. Yet it was very nice to get a ‘paycheck’ at the end of the month and knew there was enough for a few lattes.

Last month though was my highest pay at $70 and I wanted to frame it. It was a milestone for me.

How rare it is for writers to get paid.

However Medium changed all of that as of October 28th when they announced a different way to be paid.

I didn’t react right away, but I did watch and read hundreds of writer’s laments at how? why? this isn’t fair!

The outcry turned out to be real.

Several (thousand) times throughout the day I’d check my stats to see I earned .01 on a poem, .06 on an article, .09 on another article and it really hurt especially since I spent hours and/or days writing.

I knew my current friends and new found Medium friends were there supporting me and reading along and I so very much appreciated it.

BUT — Medium no longer factors in views, followers, free friend link (I will still keep sharing it), highlighting (is sooooo much fun!!!) or even claps (I really like them and STILL give them!!!).

What is now the main determining factor for being paid is when Medium Members only read. Their time is based on how long they scroll/stay/read.

I imagine some very large hamster 🐹 running around with a clipboard — {insert squeaky voice} OMFG!!!!! That person only read two sentences!!!! Let me pull out my handy-dandy calculator and I’ll give them .00000000001. Phew!

Nevertheless, I am relieved that the changeover has stopped me from obsessively submitting my writing.

I got sloppy and my words dragged. My editing eyes got tired and things started to slip through. I wanted to do better but I got worse.

I don’t like that about me — I’m such a damn perfectionist and a procrastinator.

BTW, This article was so fun to write!!! 😃

Since November 2, I’ve stepped back to feel into all of this and I realized I can’t compete with a system weighted so heavily against those less established. In addition, how fair is it when poems are only clocked as being one minute long and most barely spend 2 seconds reading it?

Fuck the system!

Taking this break, though, has been very good. It has given me focus to complete my third manuscript of poetry and prose. That’s where my heart and soul lives.

Through this monetary turn of events I was reminded once again of my motto: quality versus quantity. I write about it here:

This unintended experiment also showed me:

Carolyn, you are worth more. I’ll give you a few lattes, and I’ll even order you those sweet kitty-cat socks and that extra special mug with a cherry red handle. You are just right where you are. Writing, being, listening, slowing down, pulling away from what sucks you dry. Vampires are real. You’ll know how much to write, or not. You’ll know because words are inside of you.

PS: My Dear, Love Hasn’t Forgotten You, will be published by Golden Dragonfly Press — and available this December.}}

Here’s a few extra pieces that are so telling of how I feel:

Carolyn Riker is a poet, writer and author. She has two books of poetry: Blue Clouds and This is Love. She’s currently working on her third book of poetry and a her first novel. In addition to writing, she has a private practice as a highly sensitive mental health therapist. If you would like to read more of her words, follow her on Facebook at Carolyn Riker, MA, LMHC or Instagram.

Dreamer. Poet. HSP. Empath. Licensed MH Therapist. 3 books published. 3X Top Writer. Love espressos & my chunky cat.

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