Document Type


Publication Date


Research Center

Center for Economic Development


Writing—humans documenting our history in the form of the “written word”—has been one of the largest transitive forces through time. The act of becoming an author, however—of moving away from the mere transcription of events to becoming the voice and translator of events—has changed how we examine ourselves, society, and life. Most of us remember the first novel that drew us into its story, thus changing how we looked out at the world, contributing to our emotional acumen, enriching our overall intelligence, and giving us a new perspective on our view of life. This is the joy felt by writers—to craft and tell unique stories that readers dive into. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian psychologist and scholar, elaborated on the love writers have for developing their own craft of words and language in his book Creativity: Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. “They [literary artists] know that the power of words depends on how they are used; so they enjoy playing with them, stretching their meanings, stringing them in novel combinations and polishing them until they shine”.

This study goes beyond literary arts and investigates the quantitative and qualitative value these storytellers have on us personally and on our economy as a whole. This study uses an occupational research framework to examine the effect of the Cleveland Literature Sector on the economy of Cuyahoga County. With the exception of jobs in Cleveland’s small presses, newsrooms, college English departments, communications and marketing firms, and magazine publishing houses, literary artists’ work often is as an independent contractor and is missing from or overlooked in much of federally collected economic data. Furthermore, many industries not focused solely on writing employ creative writers or authors of literature. Using qualitative and quantitative data, this study examines the occupations associated with the Cleveland Literature Sector and crosswalks them back to industries, analyzing how the local literature community in Cuyahoga County navigates industry-wide changes based on technological innovation and new consumption patterns, assessing the strengths and challenges of the literature sector, and quantitatively determining the economic impact of the sector on the regional economy.