I have recently been working on a nonfiction book which I had tentatively entitled Neurodiversity at Work: A Manager’s Guide. In my mind, I envisioned it as a research-based how-to manual managers could use to open up their organizations to the neurological diversity of the workforce available to them. In my heart, this was the book I wanted to write, because it’s the book I wanted to be put into practice.
The deeper I got into the project—accumulating research material, writing chapters, delving into the heart of the how-to—the more I grew wary of my topic. More and more of my revised pages were devoted to the importance of opening up organizations to the neurologically diverse; fewer were devoted to the practical aspects of how to accomplish this goal. As I’ve progressed I realized something as a writer that I already knew as an advocate; I realized that the audience I want for the book I very much wanted to write does not, yet, exist.
There are still too few arguments for opening organizations up to a neurologically diverse workforce—despite the law, despite the social movement, despite the justice and advantages. It’s not that companies are struggling with the how; it’s that they don’t really understand the why.
Simply put, I realized I needed to write the equivalent of a prequel, then invest my time and energies on a follow-up how-to book. Advocacy first, practical how-to second.
Now, with this decision in place, my reluctance is replaced with energy and drive. But, it’s also rather sad. It’s sad that the advocacy book is necessary. It’s sad that we’re still at this point where people need to learn how doing the right thing is in their own best interests. It’s sad that we’re still so focused on normal that we forget the power of extraordinary.
So, it’s time to start back at the beginning. It’s time to write the book that needs to be written. And to hope that, someday, the book I really want to write will need to be written, too.