Friday, June 14, 2019

Writing: An "Elitist" Profession

In the UK, a report suggests writing will soon become a profession where only the wealthy (or people whose income is subsidized by an employed spouse) can truly participate.  It isn't much different in America.  Few people can write full-time.  There are writers who have jobs while writing on the side, but their output can suffer.

Where does all of this leave disabled and/or neurodivergent writers?  Are we poised to fill the gaps?  Are we going to be worse off than before?
If more novelists (able-bodied and not) have to maintain full-time jobs, we will probably see competition increase for literary magazine spots.  Novelists are unlikely to abandon long projects altogether, but will try to compensate with slower production by getting their names out there in more ways*.  So, disabled and neurodivergent short-form writers won't benefit** from the shift of writing becoming "elitist"".

Unemployed disabled and neurodivergent novelists could fill the gaps left behind by novelists who write slower (or quit entirely) because of their jobs.  But, they must be in a position where income doesn't impact medical insurance or other necessary coverage (unless they give their work away for free***).  Their health and living situations must also be stable enough to let them capitalize on the opportunity.  People who have all aspects align will become a new subset of elite writer:  The Paramount Writer-Cripple.

At the very least, there could be fewer able-bodied/neurotypical writers creating harmful portrayals of us in the future.****

* A lot of novelists are also short-form writers.  I am only suggesting their output of shorter pieces may increase, or novelists who haven't crossed genres will do so out of necessity.

** Content mills might need more writers in the future.  So, there's that.

*** Many of us already undervalue our writing because we fear losing our benefits or we lack faith in ourselves.

**** The writers who are "elite" will still write about us.  Let's hope they hire competent sensitivity readers.

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