COVID-19 Versus Writers: Who’s Winning?

The year 2020 has been a whirlwind for the entire world. While the world struggles to make its way back to normal, everyone must find a way to manage. For writers, this is an interesting predicament, as the COVID-19 virus has caused some serious damage, while simultaneously creating big opportunities for the future. 

Escaping change
Writers have always been able to work pretty much anywhere, as long as there is a pen or a keyboard handy. When COVID-19 hit, the world was forced to shut down, meaning many people had to develop new ways of working and had to learn how to adapt to new surroundings. Meanwhile, many writers were able to take this adjustment in stride.

New horizons
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic made many companies realize the scope of talent they could reach if they looked beyond their immediate surroundings. Now that remote work is more popular than ever, writers are able to seek projects, employment, and partnerships the world over. By forcing people to stay in one place, the global pandemic has effectively made the world smaller than it already was, which can be a positive thing for writers. 

Getting cut out
The pandemic, however, wasn’t exactly a golden ticket for writers. In fact, many people who were working as in-house writers for companies had their positions cut, either temporarily or permanently. Although these positions are crucial to company marketing and communications strategies, they are often not seen as such in the eyes of company stakeholders, especially since it’s difficult to associate them to a direct return on investment. 

Hidden losses
One of the most difficult things for writers in this time is that it is impossible to accurately gauge financial impact. For freelancers and writers, estimating the amount of income they could have had through potential contracts and book sales is impossible. The loss for these individuals is essentially invisible, which can cause mental and emotional distress.

An eye for creativity
A writer’s job, no matter the document, is to essentially tell a story. The 2020 global pandemic will not go unnoticed in the writing community, and writers are already searching for ways to weave this tale in a way that will be inspiring, interesting, or shocking to their audience. A major event like this will likely inspire writers for years to come. 

Available support
Luckily, writers stick together. Emotional and verbal support is not hard to find in the writing community, and the pandemic has encouraged groups like the I Lost My Gig Facebook group to form. In addition, due to the strain on people’s finances during this time, financial support is being offered to the writing community. The Writers’ Trust of Canada has a couple of different grants available, and has developed the Canadian Writers Emergency Relief Fund to support writers in the wake of the pandemic. 

The hard stats
It’s too early yet for there to be any concrete statistics about the effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the writing community. The pandemic is still in full swing, and there’s no clear end in sight. However, organizations like The Writers’ Union of Canada are conducting surveys to try to gauge the actual financial impact the pandemic has had on writers.

Do you have a COVID writing story?

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