This post is also available in: Spanish
For many decades now, the United States has been a very hard and inhospitable place to be a writer—there is virtually no support for our craft, despite the importance of having a populace that knows how to write. Many writers and trailblazers in writing communities are suffering financially right now, having to choose whether or not to continue the amazing writing work they are doing, due to the financial burdens of being a writer. Some in our community who are doing great writing, and editing, and literary publishing are having to choose between staying housed and fed, and writing. It is unconscionable.
Right now though, something great for writers and other artists is on the horizon, and we need to get involved.
A Universal Basic Income is an income distribution made to everyone, regardless of what paid employment they have, of a certain regular amount, paid monthly and never taxed, as a matter of right. A Universal Basic Income of $1,000 per month would be a game changer for writers. We all know what it is like to go for months working for no income while we work on a manuscript; then for months as a contractor, often without payment until we deliver. The inconsistency of our income is stressful, and is a barrier to writing. How many of us dedicate hours of our day to a regular salaried job because the inconsistency of income for writing makes it impossible to get along with writing alone?
A Universal Basic Income of $1,000 a month would make it possible for more of us to spend more of our hours focused on writing, instead of working all day at other jobs to pay the bills. A small, reliable income would allow more of us to start literary businesses that are sorely needed, like Lit mags, teaching writing to children in underserved communities, and writing, lots more writing!