Introducing The Disability Collab
Plus a week in diversity, our new podcast and pitch opps
Hello and welcome to the first ever issue of The Disability Collab newsletter, a new initiative for disabled freelancers everywhere!
Artwork by Kim Walker
This small project began as an idea in January, between two friends who were so very tired of being freelance and finding it difficult due to disability. Anna Codrea Rado's book, You're The Business, was published in March. One chapter mentions how millionaires have seven different income methods. What about if you combine that with the concept of making space for disabled freelancers to, well, just be themselves? The idea was set - and, with two extra people on board, we became The Disability Collab.
Once a fortnight you will get a newsletter update about all things diversity by signing up here; there will be original content, as well as resources. We also run a podcast that has been block recorded by season, which will be released periodically. We will also soon be launching mentoring for disabled freelancers, as well as other projects further down the line.
So grab your popcorn, maybe a pen, and dig in!
ICYMI - the last seven days in freelancing and disability
Surprise! I’m A Disabled Person! An excellent piece by future podcast guest Rachel Charlton Dailey for The Unwritten.
The eyes of the world may be turning to Tokyo right now - but make sure you read this. Access is a right irregardless.
Like what you see? Please consider spreading the word about this new project; we just launched today! Click the button below to share with your social media networks.
Earlier this month a few disabled individuals wrote letters to their teenage selves, in collaboration with the Roald Dahl Trust, which was then collectively published in the Guardian. This is a version written by one of our team members, Lydia.
Things can get messy, can't they? And it is so very easy to feel a little bit like an outsider, a kind of alien, different from those considered to be "normal". Really, this is 'your' normal - and in time, even though it feels lonely and sometimes soul crushing, you will find a way round prejudice and ignorance. Time is not something we all have, but it is worth making the time.
Mistakes will happen. Not everything can be controlled, even if we are compelled to try, even if you plan out every single possible detail. If you can't laugh, you will cry. The big glasses in line with your special interest are probably best forgotten, relegated to the back shelf at Specsavers - and the same can be said when coordinating a dark neon pink tShirt and tights. It will take you a long time to learn this; trying to keep up with everyone else without support is not your fault - and is likely to also be discriminatory in some contexts. Even if you are sometimes held up to a higher standard, you are a human being - and sometimes you forget that, even though you are only a teenager.
The topic of 'resilence' is something of a privilege - and not everyone who has a disability can be expected to be that way. We are so often idealistically told to 'keep going' - just to get anywhere, to assert our rights, to justify our space that we own - but will also be contradictorily told that this is naive and idealistic by the same people telling you this. We cannot always be that way, and it is unfair to try and conform to this expectation. Whatever you do, have faith - have faith that you will eventually begin to find your own space though probably later than most, that you will get to become a journalist though not in the shape you dream of.
"Disability" is not shameful, even when people speak exactly like that - complete with the space of air quotes around the word. It's not a vaccine that made you that way; anyone who even hints at that is not worthy of your time. It is not "suffering" - even though your ostensibly well informed teachers will try to impress this upon you, while trying to determine your future to be radically different. Autism means a lot of negative comments as well - some estimates suggest three times as much as a Neurotypical person - but you don't have to listen to any of that, even when dressed up as "I only have your best interests at heart."
The Info Dumping can be annoying to some. But don't be apologetic for being yourself - this will be so very useful in the end, even if you drive your friends (yes, you will have friends!) completely crackers.
Keep your head down, try to accept yourself a little bit more, and nurture your love of words and stories. Life is a collective tale that we weave together, with all the different variations of colours and dreams and experience tangled into one. Keep going, and don't you dare stop.
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Places To Pitch Your Work And Other Resources
Love travel? Pitch to the National Geographic!
Get in on this one ASAP: the Society of Young Publishers has a mentorship scheme open. Apply here - closes just for midnight tonight.
You’ve Got Time……. to pitch to Time Magazine.
Love opinions? Aurelia Magazine wants you.
Season one of The Disability Collab podcast launched today with its first episode! You can listen to it above - or visit our web page here to download episode one, available from all good podcast directory app. Just click a category like Spotify or Apple Podcasts and then download.