Curated in Two Hours and Selected by the Largest Publication in Twelve Hours

Things l learned from my first experience of curation & selection by the largest active publication


Rahuldeb Das

3 years ago | 5 min read

I am writings this story to tell you that “You can do it!”. If I, being a newbie in Medium, can publish my story in The Startup — the largest active publication in Medium, you definitely can.

If my story can get curated in topics, yours will too.

I joined Medium two months from now. I published eleven stories before the latest one. None of them got curated. I was wondering what it takes to get a story curated in Medium.

There are some standard guidelines in Medium. I tried to follow all of them. It was challenging to follow them while writing. I think creative works are an art as well as science. We all write with emotion. Restricting the emotion within some guidelines is really difficult.

It takes time to adapt. But it is necessary.

Still no luck! Then I started reading stories from different authors whose stories have got curated. I don’t know how many! But I am sure it will be more than a hundred.

I was also reading stories from large publications. I was trying to identify the elements of these stories which got them selected in these publications. I read their guidelines thoroughly. I attempted to publish some of my stories and faced rejection.

Still, I continued reading. I read in some article that publishing the story in a publication increases the chance of curation and vice versa. So I was desperately trying to publish my story in large publications. I became obsessed. But it did not help.

Then I convinced myself that I would concentrate on improving the quality of my writing rather than chasing big publications and Medium curation. I decided that after completing the latest one, I will self publish it. I won’t submit it to any publication unless they offer me.

And it worked! My story got curated in the topic Programming within two hours. In twelve hours, I received a private note from the publication The Startup. They asked me if I am interested in publishing my story in their publication.

I was never sure about any of these. Even I wondered if I could ever be able to publish a story in a publication like The Startup. I was totally unsure about curation too. But one thing I was sure about is I would only focus on improving my writing.

In this article, I have jotted down all the lessons I learned in this small journey before my first curation by Medium and first selection by The Startup.

Realize the Curation Guidelines

You need to go through all the curation guidelines carefully. Understanding them is not sufficient. Realize them.

There is a difference between understanding and realizing. If you understated them, you will have to remember while you are writing. But if you realize them, you don’t have to remember them. It will be in your reflex.

Following these three things will help you adapt the curation guidelines:

  1. Go through the curation guidelines in Medium.
  2. Revisit them in a regular interval.
  3. Read the stories curated in Medium. Try to realize how those stories have followed the guidelines.

Read a Lot But with Proper Strategy

It is evident without saying! You have to read a lot. Here you can choose some niche area of your choice. Sometimes it becomes painful to read stories that do not suit your interest.

It would be a good idea to follow some successful writers. Read their stories to understand their style of writing. You can imitate them to some extent. One day you will definitely find your own style.

Tim Denning was the first author I followed. I do not miss any of his stories. His writing always encourages me to keep my hope alive. I also read stories by — Ryan Holiday, Larry Kim, Ryan Fan, Jordan Mendiola, Shaunta Grimes — to learn from them.

And hundreds of others whose names I could not mention.

Also, I read stories from large publications. They have stricter criteria for story selection. Reading their stories will definitely help you become a better writer.

Besides reading stories from Medium, also read good books by famous authors like — Paulo Coelho, Dale Carnegie, Stephen R. Covey, or anybody of your preference. It will definitely enhance your creativity as a writer.

Reading stories from Medium and other blogs may bring you faster success if you are writing for Medium only. But book reading is like a long-term investment in your writing career.

So while reading, you can adopt the following strategies:

  1. Choose your areas of interest and keep reading regularly.
  2. Read stories from successful writers in Medium and follow their style of writing.
  3. Read stories from large publications to understand their preferences.
  4. Read books by famous authors to enrich your thoughts and style of writing.

Follow the Guidelines of Large Publications

Famous publications in Medium, like The Startup, The Ascent, Better Marketing, Mind Cafe, The Writing Cooperative and many others, provide valuable guidelines for the authors. They provide it only to help the writers like us. Because they know what readers want.

The guidelines mostly represent readers’ expectations from your story.

As a writer, try to follow their guidelines. Try to incorporate each of them as an element in your story. It will help you write better.

Don’t Read Just to Enjoy, Also Understand the Anatomy of the Story

While reading some stories, you have every right to enjoy it. But also try to understand the structure of the story. Observe how the author has decorated the piece with different elements that are compelling you to engage.

Some common point I learned by reading several successful stories are:

  1. It is not about you. Rather, it is about how one can be benefitted from your opinion and experience.
  2. Don’t just express your suggestions. Support them by evidence from your knowledge and experience.
  3. Keep your writing always direct and simple.
  4. Don’t try to over-explain things. Keep it short and crispy.
  5. Your writing should have clear takeaways for the readers.
  6. Spend some time on editing. Be careful about grammar and typos.

7. Choose your Title and subtitle judiciously.

8. You will have a higher chance of success if you are writing about your first-hand experience.

Join the Forums of Writers for Support

Every professional faces time of disappointment. Especially if you are in creative works, it takes time to take-off.

As a writer in Medium, I also have gone through several times of disappointments. I needed someone to share with. I needed people to support me by reading my stories. To encourage me by claps.

I found some excellent Facebook groups for Medium writers. I joined Medium Writers and Bloggers, and Medium writers boost to share my stories and increase my connection.

I met some excellent people there. They always have encouraged me by their comments and claps.

The suggestions I shared in this story are for the newbies in Medium who are struggling to get curated or aspiring to publish in good publications.

If by any chance, my suggestions resemble some of you who already have achieved their target, it will be a bonus for me.

Thanks for your patience. I wish happy writing to you all!

Originally published on Medium.


Created by

Rahuldeb Das







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