Want to Be a Better Writer? You Need To Comment On Posts

The lesser-known trick to reach your writing goals

When I started writing on Medium, I was looking to reach the magic number — 1000 followers.

I knew it would not be easy. And I was prepared to write consistently for a long time. Still, I did my research to see if there are other tactics that can speed up my progress.

One such tactic was commenting on other writers’ posts. It seemed weird at first. Medium is not like Facebook or LinkedIn. The idea of interacting on Medium to get more followers wasn’t convincing enough.

But I thought — “What do I know? I have 100 followers.” And the guy who told me this had 1.5K followers. It worked for him. And it should work for me too.

Convinced enough to give it a try, I started commenting on 20 posts every day. Thoughtful, insightful comments on the posts that I loved — not just random comments like “Great article!” or “I’m glad you wrote this, thank you!”

Lo and behold! In 3-4 weeks, my followers doubled to almost 200.

Even if you have 500 or 1000 followers, I urge you to give this a try for 2 weeks and see how your stats improve. I’m sure after one point you won’t need to do this every day. I don’t see writers with massive followings commenting a lot on other posts. But for those who’re getting started, it’s one of the best things you can do.

Here’s why

You get new ideas

When I comment on others’ posts, I find myself coming up with a unique angle to a topic that’s already been written about. This angle can be converted into a post. Though most ideas have already been taken, what cannot be taken is your unique insight.

Also when I find myself posting the same kind of comments, it tells me that an idea is struggling to come out. For example, I commented a lot on the benefits of silence. I realized I had a lot to say on the topic. This led me to write a post: Always Say Less Than Necessary Never miss a good chance to shut upmedium.com

Silence was an interesting topic to write about but I didn’t know I had so much to say about it. Ideas are like a smoldering fire. They need to be puffed to be converted into flames. Commenting does that.

You write every day

The best part of commenting on other posts is that you get to write every day even if you’re not working on your posts. I write my drafts on the weekends and edit them on weekdays to publish them.

Commenting ensures that I write almost 500 words every day no matter what. It’s the anchor that helps me stick to writing daily.

There’s no blank page syndrome when responding to other people. You know what to say. And this makes it much easier to write more in a short period of time.

Even if you’re a full-time writer, writing original content every day can be challenging. By posting comments, you can warm up your mind and fingers to prepare for writing sessions later in the day.

You e-meet great people

Life without friends is lonely. Almost none of my close friends write as much as I do. I have no one to share my writing experience with. You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with. To be a good writer, you need good writers around you.

This is why it’s nice to meet writers who post regularly. You can read each other’s content, encourage them, and provide constructive feedback. Also, it’s nice to know that your friends will clap even if no one else does!

Surrounding yourself with like-minded people is necessary. And by interacting with other writers on Medium, I form meaningful relationships to help my work get critiqued by those who are more experienced.

You get more exposure

I’ve been on Medium since 2017. But I never had a regular cadence to publish. Only recently I started being an active part of the community.

At this point, my articles have around 10 fans. But my comments on the popular posts have close to 50 fans.

I left most of these comments strategically on the posts of famous writers. To aim for more exposure, you can follow influencers in your niche to get a push notification on the Medium mobile app every time they post.

Be one of the first ones to leave a good comment. If the post has 50 other comments, then yours wouldn’t get a lot of readers. Try to also comment on the latest stories as opposed to older ones. It increases the chances of other people stumbling on your response.

Popular writers are drenched in the rain of readers — you can divert some of that traffic to yourself. They wouldn’t mind sharing a few drops!

Quick Note

I came across a little tweak by Tom Kuegler. He advises commenting on the posts of people who have less than 1000 followers because those who have more wouldn’t take the time to respond.

It worked like magic. Not only did I connect with more writers at my level, but I also got more followers.

I maintain a healthy balance between the two. I comment on viral posts (before they go viral). And I also comment on posts by writers who don’t have a massive following. The former gives me extra exposure and the latter gives me meaningful conversations.

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Written on July 2, 2020