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Okay, we get it. Writers are screwed.

Over the past year and a half, it’s everywhere. People keep emailing/texting/posting links about writers only earning a third of pre-pandemic amounts (although since they weren’t even approaching minimum wage to start, it’s a low bar anyway…).

But seriously? Writing doesn’t pay? You’re depressed? This is news?

If you’re wondering about being a writer in a post-pandemic world, I offer this (revised) quiz. 

Top Ten Ways to Tell If You’re A (Post-Covid) Writer?

_____1. Do you have arguments with your characters about vaccinations? Do you lose?

_____2. Do you eavesdrop on other people’s Zoom conversations because you might use them in your novel? Do you mentally compose better, more dramatic responses?

_____3. Do you correct the grammar and spelling in emails from your child’s teacher, your manager, or any close relative? Flinch at misuse of their/they’re/there or your/you/re? **[Bonus points if you send the emails back corrected.]

_____4. Quarantine Your Darlings: do you have conversations with the vulnerable paragraphs you’re cutting out of your manuscript, assuring them you’re going to isolate them for their own safety, but they can come out of lockdown for your next book?

_____5. When you hear about a friend’s covid-dating, do you think about how you would extend lockdown for at least three more chapters to build tension?

_____6. Do you worry about the NSA noticing your recent online searches include “how to counterfeit a negative covid test”, “sabotaging your neighbors’ hand sanitizer”, “lightweight hunting bow”, “best concealed-carry weapons”, “handcrafted coffins”, “amount of blood loss that is survivable”,  and “getting a fake vaccine passport”?

_____7. Do you write at night? Sometimes until the next night? Wear sweats so you don’t have to change to take the dog out but then realize you forgot to put on yoga pants? Again?

_____8. Do you interrupt your writing only to send a quick note to Ben and Jerry’s suggesting killer new ice cream flavor(s), all of which involve hard liquor?

“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.”—Neil Gaiman [image credit: Querty, painting by Alex Zonis from author’s collection]

_____9. For the first time in your life, does what you’ve always wanted to do anyway (work from home, maintain social distance, isolate) now make you a hero?

_____10. Have you written the words “THE END” and realized you don’t have any more reasons to avoid people unless you immediately start your next book?

If you checked off numbers 1-9, you can high-five the other writer wannabe’s in your virtual writing group. If you ticked #10, congratulations: you’re a post-Covid writer.