Wednesday, October 5, 2011

We Are The 99% (of writers)

I'm not talking about finance here. Or in a sense, I am. I'm talking about writers. And I am, Peter is, you are if you're reading this, one of the 99%. I can say this with confidence, because I know Stephen King isn't reading this; I know J. K. Rowling isn't reading this. We lowly working class writers, the ones who make little or no money, who can only dream of anything like success, we are the majority. The vast masses of those who work with words.

What does this have to do with protests, with opposition to Wall Street, with anything that would make it worthwhile to co-opt a slogan for a title? Well, the main thing is this: we all of us want things to change. And we none of us know exactly what we can make change. Do we have goals, do we have dreams, can we even, to some degree, express them? Of course. But there's nothing exactly we can do, right?

That's no more true for a working class writer than it is for a working class American, though. We can get out there and make some noise: call attention to ourselves and to others like us, try to shed some light on our problems and on our accomplishments. We can band together, because a group of voices can be heard more than one lone crier in the wild. We can hope for improvement, that we'll be heard and results will happen.

The odds of success seem slim, of course. But we each of us have some this far: we've written a book, or more than one. We've decided to put it out there. That's the hardest part. The rest is just luck, or fate, hard work or determination.

We'll never be the 1%. It's not going to happen. But we can, just maybe, succeed better than we might dream.


  1. I never expected to be a one-percenter. All I ever wanted was to earn a living as a writer, instead of having to balance writing with a day job.

  2. I'll be happy if I can get enough to live on.

  3. Earning a living as a writer is still a very privileged place. Maybe 10% of authors don't have another job or a source of outside wealth (inheritance, spousal income, investments from a successful job they were able to leave to give writing a try). But you know, even making a little money for doing something you love is nice. Very nice indeed. Proof, as it were, that you are in the 99% at least, even if the 1% remains out of reach. For now, at least.

  4. Here here! I loved this. Because it's true. We can all do something to raise awareness. Just like these sorts of blogs and such.

    Up with Writers!