Hello, SEers. Mae here with you today. Recently, I’ve been thinking about stories I wrote when I was younger. Much, much younger. It made me realize how long I’ve been creating characters and worlds—with zero breaks in between.
The first story I wrote happened when I was six. It was for a class assignment, but it makes me wonder if I hadn’t been fashioning stories in my head before that. Certainly, I never stopped writing afterward—ever. Sometimes people will take a break for a number of years, but for me writing has been a constant, ongoing, never-ending passion from childhood.
At six-years-old, I don’t think I set out to be a writer. It just happened. As I grew older, I fed the desire and followed the path, venturing deeper, pruning obstacles, and setting a concrete goal—that of published author. It’s been an uphill journey, filled with plenty of potholes, but I’ve covered a lot of ground.
Some writers discover their passion later in life. I’ve heard of authors coming to love story-craft in high school, others because of a class they took in college, still others decided to take up writing after retirement. There is no wrong time to embrace writing, but it makes me wonder—are writers born or made?
Let me explain: are we born with the desire to write and that desire lies dormant in our consciousness until something switches it on? If that’s the case, the trigger could happen at any point in life—early childhood, college years, mid-life, retirement. A different trigger for different people.
Nora Roberts started writing when she was a young mother. She had time when her kids were sleeping and wanted to fill the void. She thought it would be a good way to make extra money and was fortunate enough to land a publishing contract. The rest is history.
Some might say Nora started writing as a matter of circumstance (writer made), but it’s possible the trigger for her surfaced because of circumstance (writer born). If I’m a stay-at-home mom, there are other avenues I could take besides writing to fill the hours.
Why not painting, reading, cooking, or crafts? And if the end result was income, there were other means of working from home. Granted, when Nora was first published, the options were limited, but there were other options. Writing is not easy as we all know. How many people just wake up one day and decide to write a book?
I once worked with a woman who was an accomplished violinist. Her husband played too, and they would often duet together. I thought they were both excellent, but she told me her husband had limitations because he was a mechanical player. He knew all the movements and how to coax notes from his instrument, but he didn’t feel the music.
Writers are the same. There are nuts and bolts to our craft, but the passion for writing—whether born or made—is what drives us.
Think about your own path to writing. When did you start? More importantly, why did you start? Did you always have the desire to write, or did that desire appear because of specific circumstances? Do you think people are born with the desire to write, or life circumstance shapes that desire in them? Perhaps a bit of both?
I’d love to get your take in the comments below. Ready, set, go!