When I was underemployed and freelance, I had the flexibility to build writing groups. The labor to set organization in an otherwise unorganized and unstable work schedule gave me purpose. A year later, when the time to write is limited and the deadlines are many, I have come to a few realizations:
- Organizing the space to write takes time, energy and hunger.
- Accountability has to be mutually beneficial where time, demand are on par between the individuals involved.
- I am no longer willing to share time, energy, support without reciprocity.
- Mixed-class collaborations have just gotten more difficult.
I have made enough progress on various writing goals to alter them a bit based on what I’ve learned. The lessons I have learned from social media un/follows, unrequited follows and comparable self-promotion has lead me to be less willing to outreach. Outreach used to be about the romantic ideals of building something ‘together,’ as nomadic as I have been, whether I want to or not, I pose a flight risk. I also have ‘privileges’ in theory that are difficult to execute given how years of underemployment have altered my relationship with my career.
This is the “my privilege has altered the purpose/passion of writing for me” post. What I write and how I build support is updating itself within the context of critical lessons I am relearning in professional spheres. Sitting with what that means alters how I come to understand both writing and pedagogy around access, community building, and asset building.
In transitioning audiences, I reflect on caste–the caste of production (writing) and the caste of labor (full- and part-time, term or contingent, freelance/independent or full on researcher). Caste may be the inappropriate term, perhaps socio-economic-political hierarchies would be better used. I’ve lost street cred in the caste left behind and I will be required to ‘gain’ the assimilated/integrationist cred in the caste I’ve recently joined. The effort to write for the love of it while adhering to the demands of production to sustain professional sustainability requires swallowing the bile resulting from how many of us assimilate to the demands of the Market.
Survival doesn’t look the same for all of us. Neither does sanity. Now among the ranks of full-time employed interdisciplinary scholars who also happen to write across genres, I have to figure out what both look for me. It’s taken me a year to internalize how much beyond my control has changed.