Writing a blog can now take many forms. From the "platforms" lesson, it's clear that there's a lot of choice out there!
One thing that can really help you to write regularly and stick to a particular subject is to collaborate with other people. In the past, that might have been setting up a new Wordpress site, setting up multiple authors and then agreeing a set of posts that you'd all write about over time.
That's a valid approach, but it can be quite hard to manage, and equally hard to set up the site so that content "floats up" to the top and that contributors get a good share of the limelight.
A couple of years back Medium (the blogging platform that I use) released a feature that allows you to run a "publication" on their site. You use Medium to author all of your posts, but crucially you can gather together the posts of several authors under one banner. It has editorial workflow, attribution, feeds, a nice home page, and lots more going for it, and is a great way to gather a community around what you're doing too.
To see what all the fuss is about, we thought we would create a Medium publication just for The Thread.
Here's the idea. The Thread publication on Medium is a place for any of the Makelight members taking part in the Thread to publish articles. It's a way for you to learn about how Medium works, but it could also be a great way to collaborate with other people, and might turn into something that helps you build an audience around your writing.
So the aims here are to help you learn, to help you grow your audience and to keep you motivated.
To join in, just let us know your Medium username in this post in the Facebook.
We'll develop the rules for how we run the publication as we go, but to kick off, please check you've read these before you post anything.
Please stick to one of our three themes: creativity, growth and work/life balance. They're the big themes that we're covering with Makelight, so we think The Thread should stick to them too – a little creative constraint helps focus the mind.
Publish things that have broad appeal and don't rely on the reader knowing who you are, what you do or any back story to your post. Stand-alone articles work best on Medium.
You can cross-post or republish past successful posts. Just make sure they're edited so they make sense as a post on Medium.
Make sure you've got the rights to use any images you include. If in doubt, use Unsplash or take your own.
Be useful, inspiring, thought-provoking and positive. In general, we'll hold back from anything that's overly negative and could bring the risk of trolls causing Makelight or anyone else in the community online hassle.
Use Grammarly or similar to check your posts before submitting, and get rid of those typos!
Please be patient and understanding. We'll most likely need to spread out posts over time so that they get seen. That means if you submit more than one in a go, you might have to wait for all of them to appear in the publication.
Use this as a new space to explore themes and ideas that perhaps don't fit with your current blog. Don't feel like you have to stick to what you've been doing so far – try something new?
Have fun – this is an experiment and if we all treat it that way, this could be really enjoyable.
To take part, register on Medium.com with a new user. I find it's best to use your personal Twitter account so that you get the correct username. If you get it wrong, sign out, sign out of Twitter and then create a new account. It should be your personal account. If you want to use your company account, the usual approach is to create a "publication" for your business too.
Then you can start a new draft. You just type on the screen and it auto-saves for you. Some of the controls around adding images can be a bit fiddly, but to start with just get the words on the screen, then go back and add images.
Then, make sure you've installed Grammarly to give the post a once-over. If you find that hard you can go to Grammarly.com, copy and paste the article in, see where the problems are and then go back and edit on Medium.
At this point, I usually use the "Share draft" function to run my post past someone I trust. Often I say on Twitter "Hi folks! I'm writing a post about X. Does anyone have a moment to read a draft for feedback?"
You'd be surprised! I usually find about five people who want to do that, and it's really nice that when you publish afterwards it credits them as people who've helped you write the post.
Make changes, chat about how to improve it, and then once you're done, you can submit it to The Thread for publication.
You'll need to have told us in advance who you are on Medium, so make sure you've done that, or you won't see The Thread in the list of publications.
Then, we'll take a look at the article and if it fits in to the themes and rules it'll appear on the publication page. But more than that, it'll go out to anyone who is following the publication. Which should be all the other people in the Makelight community. Nice!
It might feel a little tricky, so any trouble, pop a question in the Facebook group and I'm sure someone will help.
Looking forward to seeing what we all come up with. Happy writing!