As a British writer who spends much time away from my native country, I won’t deny that I wanted us to stay in the EU. Like most people, some reasons were selfish, I like the freedom to travel or live where I want to live and I don’t like the idea of being hemmed in or forced to live in a certain way. I heard and listened carefully to all the arguments to leave, some – a complete nonsense, others, cleverly shaped to play on fears. False promises quite likely but as a writer through and through, you have to admire the creativity of the script writers who aid the politicians and who know how to make people think and, as proven, act.
I do understand why some felt we needed change. The vision of a better Britain is something most would strive for. I love my native homeland, and my fondest memories are of those times when England still had a sense of quaintness – when there was real solidarity and people knew and helped their neighbours. That’s not the faceless society that exists in the main today so yes, there have been many changes over the years. I see it when I return home and I know that the England I remember when young, has been altered in so many ways. But, rather than creating financial uncertainty, political unrest and more poverty for those who are already on the breadline, I did feel that it was better to stick with the devil we know.
Politics is a rather strange beast.
I know that to gain one degree of truth in the political minefield that plagues our modern life, you have to remove the hype, remove the charismatic traits of any of those politicians who yield a well-oiled tongue and to dig deep to find out what really is the truth. After watching endless debates prior to the big vote, I came to the conclusion that nothing was said that made me feel leaving the EU was better or that promises were guaranteed. In fact, it may be better to say that nothing was really said at all, other than a whole lot of false promises which have already started emerging.
So what about the writing industry that I love? What does Brexit mean for those who make a living from writing? Will the freelance writing industry quake a little? Will authors struggle to sell more books? Will businesses take on less writers in the short term? Well, it’s a possibility. The writing industry is often hit after the pound plays a merry yo-yo style dance. Although I firmly believe that now is the time to hire writers so that businesses can be promoted, books can be written or promotional articles published. Waiting will not help, treading water will only put you behind others who will seize the day. Businesses need promotion right now. Magazines need articles to satisfy the curiosity of their readers. Authors need to stand up and be counted – in the written sense. For some people, there is a need to escape into the cleverly crafted words of good fiction. Escapism may well be a preferable option than the stark reality around them.
So, my take on it is this. For those writers who may be affected by Brexit, be flexible, be adaptive, don’t rely on the old, seek out the new. What do we really know as writers – whether living in foreign lands or at home on British soil? We know that yet again we must rise to the challenge and use our words not just as a way of earning a living but as a way of reaching out to others. Words evoke strong feelings, they can calm, provoke or satisfy but they should always be used wisely. If you are scared of your financial situation, if you are worried about your business in these changing times, don’t let fear hold your words back, extend them, promote, but also, tap into your empathy for others. You may find that your reach is considerably more extensive than before. Why? Because both the yes and no voters are still waiting to see their personal truths realised. It’s not creative writing to say the whole world is waiting and watching. Make your words count for something.
Write about your feelings, use your words as therapy. Write about the lives of those who have been affected – both good and bad, write about the opportunities that may be waiting for all who dare to strive forward. Bring a sense of solidarity to those who shared your political views, help those who do not share your views to at least understand why you feel this way. Politics shouldn’t be about those polished performances and the grey suits who claim to know better than us, politics and the way the country and, we, as British citizens live, must come from us too.
From a writing perspective, there will be opportunities to have a say. To educate, to follow up the story – with blog posts, articles and even fiction. Nothing is as hot right now as the decision to leave the EU. We’ve made history…good or bad, we’re a part of it, kicking and screaming or leading the way forward.
My creative imagination is in overdrive now, considering new angles, new opportunities and my ability to help others – whether it is to write their story, to help them market their business or to publish their books, none of this changes. I may stand on shaky ground – living apart from friends and family and like many of my fellow Brits, we face the unknown. But there is always the potential to somehow make it work so that’s my message to those within the writing and publishing industry who may be concerned by these political changes.
We may be carving out new territory on what feels like quicksand, but research it, write about it, help others move forward. Isn’t that what we do anyway? It’s all about the power of words right now.
Annette Young is a professional freelance writer, author and editor with a multitude of published writing credits to her name worldwide. If you are interested in hiring Annette for your writing or marketing project, please email her here: annettejyoung.com