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Member Spotlight: Bailey Merlin

author Bailey Merlin and an image of her book A Lot of People Live in This House

Why is writing important to you and why do you think it’s an important medium for the world? There are so many words in the world today. Every day, a new book is released, an article is published, a tech guru posts a long “think piece” on LinkedIn. We’re inundated with words. Quantity over quality. And with the real introduction of AI in every consumer space, that chasm between quantity and quality grows ever larger. It’s harder than ever for writers to be seen and compensated for their time. Yet, writers persist. We continue to write and make and weave. Hunched over a notebook or computer, writers refuse to disappear or have their spirits dampened. Now, more than ever, writers must pour themselves onto pages and feed the world nutritious meals made of their words. It may feel like technology can replace us, but technology doesn’t have our soul.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer’s block? If anyone has a real answer to this, call me.

What is your favorite time to write? 8:30 in the morning is my magic hour. If the dog is walked, my hair is brushed, and a cup of coffee is on my desk, move out of the way, world. Or, at the very least, please leave me alone for a few hours. To those late-night writers out there with the ability to live a full life and then work for a few more hours: I admire and fear you.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received and would like to impart to other writers? Your first draft is garbage. That doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer or your core story is bad. What it means is that nothing is good the first time around. When I stopped letting perfect be the enemy of good, there was so much more freedom for writing for writing’s sake. Your first draft is garbage, but it’s the paving stone for the final draft. Be grateful for it.

What excites you most about being a writer in today’s age? Writers from every walk of life are finding their audiences. Don’t get me wrong, publishing is still alarmingly white and male (and a fact that authors need to continue to scrutinize and push against), but we are moving towards inclusivity. I went to a bookstore in Chicago last week and was delighted to find that so many of their children’s books were written by authors of color and/or featured a main character of color. Diverse stories make for diverse reading. Diverse reading makes for a diverse life. And isn’t it within diversity that empathy lives?

Bailey Merlin’s A Lot of People Live in This House is out now with Book Brilliance Publishing.