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I Spent 6 Weeks Running a Medium Publication

Then closed it — here’s why

By Susie KearleyPublished 8 months ago 4 min read
(c) Susie Kearley

It seemed like such a good idea to start a publication as a new year’s resolution. But it ended up doing my head in.

It was an unexpected drain on my time. There wasn’t a single day when someone didn’t argue about the photo policy (to use Unsplash, Pixabay, Pexels or your own pics). So I was constantly rejecting stories because people were submitting images that weren’t licenced for use behind a paywall.

No one was reading the licencing terms on their CC images properly, so it was always up to me to check. It felt like I was the only one who cared! To be honest, I couldn’t be 100% confident that people’s crediting was accurate either — and that can lead to legal issues if they’re not.

It was mentally exhausting. I rejected half the articles. I rejected all of them some days — for the same reasons. I was having the same conversations over and over. I felt I was saying ‘no’ all the time.

It was a waste of people’s time and a waste of my time.

I was rubbing people up the wrong way and annoying more people than I was making friends!

But I also had some amazing contributors. For those I was grateful.

I needed a break

Overall, I was starting to feel that I needed to take a break from Medium. But I couldn’t, because I had to manage the publication, to keep publishing, to keep it fresh.

I couldn’t just walk away.

I started to ponder the wisdom of starting a publication at all! There had been many times I’d regretted it, while arguing about photo licencing issues. Now I was thinking, how is this going to work when I go away for two weeks in the summer?

My husband felt there was a security risk if I was seen to be away. And I didn’t like the idea of putting the burden on someone else to edit it in my absence.

I was also using a slow, clunky plagiarism checker, which occasionally flagged websites that were blocked by my internet service provider. This didn’t exactly speed things up. And it posed a risk to our internet security if I wanted to override the blocked site.

With the combination of hassle, time, arguments, and concerns over legal issues, I’d spent hours looking at creative commons licences — that the writers who submitted them couldn’t be bothered to read. I’d pored over legal websites, trying to work out if something was legal. It was a drain on my time and it was exhausting.

The situation improved after I ousted a repeat offender, but to be honest, one contributor then raised the issue of getting sued for using creative commons images — even Unsplash — which put me in another quandary.

I was so stressed after reading about copyright trolls, I felt I needed to step back.

Other priorities

As I embarked on another evening spent trawling a legal website, worried about a possible legal implications of someone else’s story, my husband said, “You’re spending all this time reading legal websites, stressing about licences — and for what? You’re not earning more on your own stories for all this hassle!”

He was right of course. The publication hadn’t attracted noticeably more readers to my stories.

So I decided to put the publication on hold. I deleted all writers and explained that I needed a break. It was a relief. I decided I’m not cut out to be an editor.

I then decided to close it…. even though it seemed like a shame.

I think you need a high tolerance for risk to be an editor, and a relaxed attitude. I have a very low tolerance for risk, and a high anxiety level if I’m placed in a conflict situation.

I also have more important things to worry about…

My husband had been diagnosed with cancer. We are currently on an 80% raw vegan diet, trying to shrink it. We need to keep our mental health in check and our stress levels down. Remarkably, our intervention seems to have worked!

I’m Not Saying We’ve Cured Cancer, but My Husband Has “No Detectable Abnormality” - The cancer has gone away

So I’m focusing on publishing in other publications, under the radar, using all my own pics!

© Susie Kearley 2023. All Rights Reserved.

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