A crossroads in the career of a political giant

Leanne Wood outside the Senedd, opposing the army’s use of schools for recruitment

After any election, there’s always a lot to digest. But in the aftermath of Wales’ 2021 Senedd Elections, I’m finding one result difficult to comprehend. Like many people in Wales, I’m a committed socialist, and as far as I’m concerned the Senedd has just lost the best of us.

Leanne Wood has easily been one of the most principled and committed politicians in the UK for almost two decades. The Senedd Member for the Rhondda since winning her home seat in 2016, she has served as a South Wales Central representative since 2003.

She’s the reason I became interested in…

With only half the amount of success

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I had a pretty successful first year in terms of curation, which I’ve shared here. I noted that the percentage of my stories that were curated was 85% and those that didn’t make the cut were the ones I had rushed a little.

Last year, in 2020, my success rate dropped to 44% (lower if you count the ineligible story I wrote about Medium). My output was only marginally greater (17 compared with 13) so I hadn’t been rushing to get more done. So what happened?

Last time, I came to the conclusion that the curators seem to prefer my…

If you want to see your work in a publication — just go for it!

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This isn’t advice for those of you who are confident putting yourself out there. Most of you were probably submitting everything you wrote to whatever publication you saw fit from the moment you joined Medium. This is for people like me.

I’ve never liked rejection. I’ve never liked the prospect of rejection. And it isn’t a confidence thing — I know I can write, so I’m sure nothing besides the most damning criticism would affect me moving forward. I just don’t like uncomfortable situations. …

When I started writing about writing, Medium transformed

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I joined Medium two years ago, but back then I didn’t really understand everything the platform offered. For me, it was no more than a way of sharing long-form ideas on social media, without resorting to unappealing and amateurish screenshots of large blocks of text.

Don’t get me wrong, Medium served its purpose perfectly. An attractive image and link to a well-formatted page was exactly what I was looking for, and I rarely published anything more than once or twice a month so I didn’t even have to worry about the paywall.

At least, I didn’t have to worry about…

Is there a higher tier of curation?

Is there something more prestigious than curation over the horizon? Photo by Sherman Yang on Unsplash

Pretty much every writer on Medium wants to be curated. While it’s been established that it isn’t exactly the Holy Grail of writing on Medium, it’s still desirable. There seems to be a lot of debate over just how helpful curation can be for your viewing figures, and the level of assistance it provides seems to fluctuate. But if there’s one thing for certain, it’s that it’s nice.

It’s like a reassuring pat on the back to tell you that your writing is of a good standard. Of course, not getting curated doesn’t mean your writing isn’t great — some…

It isn’t easy — but it isn’t complicated, either.

Photo by Huha Inc. on Unsplash

I’ve always liked the idea of being healthy, but I’ve never put in the effort. Don’t get me wrong, it’s on my list of priorities, it’s just that it’s a long list and this has always been down toward the bottom.

Throughout my life, I’ve tended to be a little up and down with my weight, but the older I get the harder it seems to shift. …

Sometimes, children can help reveal what’s right in front of you.

Photo by Daniel McNestry on Unsplash

I’ve always loved ‘outside’. The great outdoors. When I was young my Grandad would pick me up after school several times a week, and as long as the weather was fine we would walk the mile and a half to his house. The walk was the point, never just a means to get to his house.

The route was along an abandoned railway line that nature had eagerly reclaimed. We would often stop to rummage around for slowworms, sit on the riverbank looking for kingfishers or see who could spot a buzzard first (it never took long). …

Reflecting on the possibility the end is in sight

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

I’ve had my letter. Next Thursday, I’m getting the first shot of the vaccine for the COVID-19 coronavirus.

I don’t know which one I’m getting yet, but that doesn’t really matter. A little over a year after going into a lockdown that affected the entire planet, we have multiple vaccines for a virus that we had never before come across as a species. This is a remarkable achievement, and a testament to what can be achieved when countries work together for the common good, rather than purely for profit.

There have been mistakes. Many, many huge mistakes. But that isn’t…

Exploring a surprisingly high curation rate

Photo by J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash

When I joined Medium in early 2019, it’s safe to say I didn’t really know much about the platform. I had ideas I wanted to share that were simply too long for conventional social media, and thought that this was essentially all Medium was good for.

It wasn’t long before I learned about the Partner Program, so I joined that too. Imagine my delight when I received an email telling me that my first article, because of its quality, had be curated! Surely it was time to pack in my job — I was going viral!

It didn’t quite work…

Of sorts

Sometimes, life gets in the way. Photo by Remy Gieling on Unsplash

I’m a writer. But also, I’m not a writer. It depends as much on how I’m feeling that day as it does on the definition of ‘writer’.

Growing up in the valleys of south Wales, I always liked writing. My junior school teachers told me I should be a writer when I grow up, and later on my English teacher was sure I would be (I really liked her).

It wasn’t too surprising, then, that when I eventually got around to going to university at 21 it was to do a Creative Writing degree. I learned a lot, had a…

Y. Chwyldro

Politically Left, parent, Welsh. Writes about any combination of the three, and occasionally other subjects entirely. leftwingdad.com

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