January 28

524 words.

That’s now 7 full days of daily writing. I’ve written 4,602 words, an average of 657 per day, 131.4% of daily target. Go me.

More importantly than that, I’ve completed two stories and taken part in two flash challenges, so this has all been writing with a purpose, a focus.

One of the stories has even been submitted. The other needs to lose just over 1000 words before I can send it to the call I wrote for.


On other things than writing:

There’s been a small furore in the media recently about the All White Oscars, and the ensuing discussion wound it’s way to a forum I follow where someone asked views on actively choosing to have non-SWM (straight/white/male) writers in anthologies.

I’ll be honest. Up until a few years ago I was a straight forward ‘quality of work should be the only criteria’ kind of person. It appeals to my innate sense of justice, of fairness. And of course, in some things that is a perfect ideal. Where the only qualifying factor is a certain skill, then choosing on that skill alone what to do.

But what about choosing who goes in an anthology? Again, you can say only quality of work should matter, and things like a blind reading panel means only the good stories can be selected. But here’s a thing. Choosing a story is all about the subjective. Sure there are obvious skills, but most anthologists will receive a plethora of entries – I know of one who is currently complaining about the task of selecting a final line up from the stories that survived the on-going cull which occurred through the submission period (I didn’t make it that far).

So if it is such a subjective process, why not choose to have more non-SWM’s?

Someone objected to this idea, suggesting it was denying us poor SWM’s a fair chance. Really? How? We have so many opportunities open to us, and this isn’t closing them, just giving others a better opportunity at being heard.

I do not believe that the majority of bias for SWM is conscious. Some of it definitely is, but my belief is the majority is unconscious bias. That means it is lazy bias. It means people aren’t engaging with the world around them and considering what inequalities they see, and thinking about what part they can play in changing things. That’s why I am all in favor of conscious bias. If the upshot of that is I have to submit a piece more times, or have to develop my writing skills to a greater degree, how am I hurt? If an anthology is going to have twenty stories, and last year they were all SWM, but this year at least 50% will be non-SWM, I still have better odds at being selected than my non-SWM compatriots, I’m still getting a benefit.

Choosing based on characteristics rather than skills is not nice. It’s objectionable. But it happens every day, and most days the results go my way. Maybe not for me, butĀ for my SWM type. We get the job, the free pass for being over the speed limit, the promotion, the raise, the well, let’s be honest, majority of things. So let’s try a little conscious bias, start leveling the playing field a it.