Can the Writing Gene be Inherited?

Hello, SEers! Mae here with you today as we enter a new month. Happy first day of July!

In June, I raised the question “are writers born or made?” Today, I want to follow up with another question: can the writing gene be inherited?

strands of DNA

Think about the Bronte sisters. Neither parent was a writer, though both were said to be extremely literate. All three sisters, plus their brother, played games of imagination as children, possibly cultivating their creative side while dreaming up fanciful places. My earlier post, Are Writers Born or Made, would point to this as their “trigger” moment—assuming the desire to write was dormant inside.

We also have brothers Alex and Evelyn Waugh, known for Islands in the Sun and Brideshead Revisited, respectively. Their father, Arthur Waugh was a biographer (Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Robert Browning), as well as a literary critic. Evelyn’s son, Auberon went on to become a writer, followed by his grandson, Alexander—a literary dynasty!

H.G. Wells’ illegitimate son, Anthony West, became a critically acclaimed author. West’s mother, Rebecca, was also an author.

Today, Stephen King is building his own writing dynasty through sons, Joe Hill and Owen King, both successful authors. King’s wife, Tabitha, is also a popular novelist.

It’s easy to look at the family trees above and believe children inherited the writing gene from their parents. Is it possible?

Science says yes—and no.

Consider abnormal behavior. Once thought to be the result of environment and trauma, genetics are now viewed as a primary influence. Certainly environment and life experiences are still factors, but do they unleash something already dormant inside?

Creativity can be viewed in the same manner.

Some scientists believe everyone is born with a creative gene, but that many lose the potential for arts as we advance through life. Most children view the world with curiosity and wonder, but that outlook is easily corrupted as we age. Life lessons, lack of time, and fear of failure all play a part in sucking dry our creative side. Those who subscribe to this theory believe creativity can be relearned at any point in life (trigger moments?). If, however, the creative side is nurtured from the time we are children, we grow and flourish in that environment.

What do you think? I don’t see everyone being born with musical or artistic talent. I can’t hold a note and my drawing skills are deplorable. Why would writing be any different?

My father wrote stories from the time he was in grade school, through his early twenties. I am convinced I inherited my gift of words from him. But writing wasn’t his true passion. He loved art—enough to obtain a degree from an art college.

artist brushes and tubes of oil paint

My family has many of his paintings, and as a child, I always remember art supplies in the house—oil paints, brushes, pastels, and charcoal pencils. But I never once remember my father painting. Occasionally, I’d ask him to draw something and he’d sketch it out on a scrap of paper, but it was as though the demands of life stripped away his creative side. With four kids, a house and a job, he didn’t have time to continue to nurture that gene. Instead, he and my mother nurtured mine—the sole reason I’m a writer today. If my father had lived into retirement years, maybe he would have taken up painting again.

I also wonder why didn’t I inherit my father’s skill for art? Was that a different genetic influence that passed me by? I have three siblings, but I am the only writer in the family. We all grew up in the same environment, so if all are born with a creative gene, why aren’t they writers, too? None of us are artists.

I know I’ve rambled all over the place with this post, but here’s the takeaway—two schools of thought. I’ve mixed some of my own into Theory No. 2.

Theory No. 1
We are all be born with a creative gene
That gene flourishes when nurtured

Theory No. 2
The gene for creativity is inherited
The trait could lie dormant for multiple generations
Trigger moments and environment factor into how the gene develops

Was someone in your family a writer? Can you trace your creativity to another member of your family or someone in your ancestral line? Perhaps your creativity is the result of having teachers and peers encourage you. Or perhaps you happened onto the writing path through your own determination and perseverance.

Now it’s time to share your thoughts—can the writing gene be inherited?

Ready, set, go!

Bio box for author, Mae Clair

 

131 thoughts on “Can the Writing Gene be Inherited?

  1. Pingback: Can the Writing Gene be Inherited? — Story Empire – World Class Adventurer

  2. My takeaway from a Christian perspective is this:

    I’ve noticed that children tend to inherit certain traits from their parents, grandparents, and so on. Even a tendency toward certain sins tends to be “inherited”, for a lack of a better word. The same can be said about personalities, and, yes, talents.

    Some of my ancestors and relatives were English professors and writers, as well as readers. I inherited a love for writing and telling stories. I also have mathematicians and singers in my family, yet those traits didn’t stick with me. 😂

    I’d say nurture has a part to play in it, too. But one more aspect comes into play that people tend to (or try to) forget: God.

    God is selective in what each person gets; some get good looks, some get smarts, others get good personalities and charm. God chooses based on whatever gives Him the most glory. The same goes for our talents. Obviously, Charles Spurgeon was gifted with writing abilities, as was Paul. Luke (from the first century) was a gifted physician, and D. L. Moody was a gifted teacher.

    I hope I’m making sense, LOL! I like the fact that you brought up this nature/nurture question that many, no doubt, ask. I hope my two cents give people more stuff to think about!

    God bless,
    Brianna

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Brianna! Thanks for stopping by and sharing, I have always foremost believed that my talent comes from God. I have no doubt that He gave me this gift, but I often wonder about the channels He used to bring it into my life. I like your perspective, the men you used to illustrate it, and your comment 🙂

      I think it’s very cool that you have mathematicians in your family. Although I dislike (okay–abhor math, LOL), I do think it’s a unique kind of creativity.
      Thanks again for sharing.
      God bless! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I think math doesn’t appeal to people like us because of one main reason: it’s not creative in the slightest! We writers create and imagine for a living. With math, all you do is follow the same formula for every boring equation. Plus there are those family members who make you feel bad when they say, “How can you not know the answer to 48×26-12.8^77? It’s so simple!”

        shudders

        Math isn’t fun cause we just can’t make it interesting. That’s my theory, anyway.

        You got a new follower! Thanks for sharing your thoughts in your blog. I enjoyed reading it very much. Kudos and never stop!

        God bless,
        Brianna

        Liked by 1 person

      • There is a quote that goes “And then Satan said let’s put the alphabet in math.” At which point I go screaming from the room 🙂
        Although even without the alphabet in math I still find it abhorrent. I’m a wordsmith, therefore numbers are the enemy, LOL.

        Loved your comment, and am thrilled to know you’re following Story Empire. We love hearing from our readers. Thank you!

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  3. Interesting idea! Noone else writes in my family or shows any interest whatsoever for other creative endeavours. But I know both my parents were avid readers in their youth, which definitly based onto me. Now that my mom has gotten older she has picked up again and I keep feeding her books to read!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Michelle. It’s amazing what a love of reading can inspire. I think the fact that your parents were both avid readers surely inspired your love for words. I grew up in a similar environment and am so grateful my parents passed that love of reading and words onto me. And how fun that you and your mom share books. My mom and I did that all of our lives, sharing books between us, chatting about what we liked and didn’t like. We always had so much fun.
      Thanks for visiting and commenting!

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  4. First of all, the question is, is it even a gene? These families you’ve mentioned kinda share their expressions, and expressions unearth expressions. We learn by what we see. So, writing isn’t much of a gene thing, it’s just an expression thing. And deep inside, everybody wants to do that, express.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Victor. Forgive my late response. I’ve been offline for the last few days.

      How nice to have you drop by and weigh in on the discussion. I love hearing all these opinions!

      I do think everyone wants to express themselves, whether verbally or in some form of art. And when that is encouraged and nurtured it makes expressing much easier to do. Of course, the more you do it, the better you become at doing it. I find it curious, however, when you take several children, raise them in the same exact environment and they turn out drastically different. It boggles the mind and speaks to individuality. And perhaps…maybe…a gene or DNA?

      Whatever the answer, I love speculating, and am delighted you dropped in to do the same.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Angela! Glad to hear you don’t mind my rambling, LOL. Certain subjects resonate with me and this was one of them. I’m glad it did the same for you. Thanks so much for commenting to let me know and I wish you happy researching (almost as much fun as writing!).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. My dad will write pages and pages to share a memory or a historical event or file a complaint (lol), but he’s never written a story of his own. My sister and I are both writers. We were brought up in an environment where reading and writing was important. So, was it nature or nurture that developed our writing ability? I don’t know. 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’d say, perhaps, it was a little bit of both, Yvette. It sounds like your dad is a wordsmith even if he doesn’t apply that skill in crafting stories, he uses it in other ways. And I didn’t realize your sister was a writer, too. That’s fantastic. It must be fun having someone so close to share and discuss the ins and outs of writing with!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My mother is a phenomenal writer. She bravely entered college in her late 40s (it had been a dream of hers) and there, she gained tons of recognition for her talents. Unfortunately, growing up, she wasn’t encouraged to push herself or believe that she could succeed. So, even after receiving accolades from her peers and mentors, she couldn’t bring herself to enter the publishing world or become a writer after graduation like she’d planned. She just didn’t have the confidence. She was too afraid to fail. It wasn’t until recently after years of her loved ones encouraging her to do so that she started writing again, and she is now editing books as a side hustle! I am so unbelievably proud of her.
    Her writing gene has always been there and it has always been strong — but having the confidence to actually put it to good use was the challenge. I’m sure it’s a challenge for many writers out there.
    And I don’t think I’ll ever be as good a writer as she is, but I certainly think that my love for it [and reading] came from her. =)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Mallory. What a fabulous story! I applaud your mother. I have often thought about going bak to college as an adult, but just don’t have the courage to tackle it. I am in awe of those who do so later in life. It sounds like college might have been her “trigger” moment for a writer gene that was always there. I am glad she has started writing again and embraced editing on the side. It’s also wonderful that you are following in her footsteps.I’m sure she is cheering you on every bit as much as you did for her. Thank you for sharing. I love hearing when the love of writing (and reading) is passed from one generation to the next!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is such an interesting topic, Mae. I do think that certain genes are inherited, but there are so many stories where great artists came from a lineage that showed no art tendencies. It’s funny with myself and my sister in that she always wanted to be a writer. I never exactly knew what I wanted. I floated through life following my heart and its crazy whims. But, then when it came time to tell my story, it came naturally to me. So, I don’t know if there is any connection to the writing gene in me and her, but we both seem to have a knack for it. Our parents were poorly educated. Our mom taught our dad to read after they were married, but education was important to her. Often, we played Scrabble at night with our mom and as a result, we are both good at spelling words. 🙂 Thanks for raising this great question! Sorry I’m late to the party, but I’m just now finding all my blog notifications.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s interesting that both you and your sister are writers, Jan. I lean to the idea that when you decided to tell your story it was your “trigger moment” for a talent that had lain dormant all along. Despite their level of education, your parents must have instilled a love for words in both of you. It’s fun that you used to play Scrabble with your mom. It’s amazing how those early things we did often benefit us later in life.
      And no worries about the party. We’re just glad to have you here! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. My thoughts echo Marcia’s (no surprise there.)
    My family have all displayed artistic talents of some variety, particularly in music, and my mother was a writer who was published in numerous magazines in her 70s and 80s, when she finally had the time to devote to writing. She also won the Age Concern short story competition one year. I believe the tendency was both genetic and fostered by being surrounded by like-minded family members.
    The same seems to have worked for me in another sphere – my mother was a professional sportswoman, and so am I. Genetics? Undoubtedly to some extent. Nurture? definitely.

    Liked by 3 people

    • It sounds like you had the best of both worlds with nature AND nurture. It also sounds like you have many artsy people in your gene line. I love that your mother took the publishing plunge in her 70s and 80s. That speaks to my earlier post of “trigger moments.” What a fabulous accomplishment for her.

      I do believe that creative families are apt to raise creative children and so on. It’s also very cool that she passed her love of sports to you and, like her, you turned that into a profession. Lovely to have you drop by and share!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Reblogged this on K Morris – Poet and commented:

    This is a very interesting question. As a child, my grandfather spent many hours reading to me which did, I believe implant in me a love of the written word. Our walks in the woods close to his home also developed in me a love of nature which does, I think manifest in some of my poetry. Likewise I had a wonderful school teacher, Mr Delacruz who had a store cupboard who’s shelves groaned under the weight of books. My grandfather’s love of literature and Mr Delacruz’s love of the art has been passed down to me. As to the question whether writers are born or made, I am wary of nailing my colours to the mast on this matter. In the past Marxist determinists said (or strongly implied) that the environment was responsible for almost everything in the shaping of the human personality. This deterministic outlook has, in some circles, been replaced by the equally deterministic perspective that its all down to genetics. Both views strike me as highly reductionist and it is, I suspect a complex mixture of nature and nurture that helps to determine whether a person becomes a creative, whether as an artist, poet or author.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello! Thank you for the reblog, and for the thoughtful lead-in. I am so glad my post intrigued you!
      I believe it is a blending of both nature and nurture that helps us develop and grow, and often creative types negate other creative types because they encourage that development. I loved hearing about your grandfather and Mr. Delacruz. I have several teachers (in addition to my parents) that I can look back upon with fondness for encouraging my writing. It’s so important at a young age!

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  10. Pingback: Seven Links 7/6/19 Traci Kenworth – Where Genres Collide Traci Kenworth YA Author & Book Blogger

  11. Pingback: Author Inspiration and This Week’s Writing Links – Staci Troilo

  12. Hi Mae! I come from a long line of storytellers. I may be the first to write anything down, but I am by no means the best in my family at “spinning a yarn”. So I’d say that I inherited the gene. Great question!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Interesting question. My dad could’ve been a writer. A great writer. But he had to work in a manual labour job to support us kids and my mum. I wonder if that’s where my creativity comes from? I’ve always thought my love of writing comes from my love of reading, which certainly came from my mum… but now I think about it, maybe I have my dad to thank? 🧐

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I found this post very intriguing and thought-provoking. I “play” at writing. I have published an autobiography but have never really promoted it. I feel that I don’t have the training or the imagination to be a really good writer but I do have a fair command of the English language. People are kind when they tell me I should publish my short stories (which are dark and twisty) and I appreciate the compliments, but I have often wondered…where did I “learn” to write?
    I was an artist when I was younger. I used every medium, but preferred oils and pastels. My mother could draw but rarely did. I segued into sewing (as a necessity) and then became a quilter. I designed my own and my most popular were quilts that portrayed a person’s life in fabric.
    I’ve often been asked how I can write so well, when I don’t read. I have never read but one book and that was under duress. My folks read, my grand-folks read, and my children read but I don’t.
    I read blog posts but am vehemently refuse to read a book. There’s a negative connotation there and I have never been able to put my finger on it.
    So…the original question. Is the gift of writing inherited? I have no knowledge that any of my folks ever wrote anything. Is it learned? Is it something that you can learn? Does it emerge out of depression or a desire to “set the record straight?” Does it materialize as the voice of someone who felt they were never “heard?”
    An excellent question which could conceivably result in a life-long debate.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Laurel! Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts. I completely agree this is a debatable question, worthy of essays and endless discussion in my opinion. You seem to have a diverse set of creative talents (my father’s favorite medium was oils followed by pastels). I am, however, shocked that you don’t like to read. I honestly don’t believe I’ve ever met a writer before who doesn’t enjoy reading, Many don’t have the time to devote to regular reading but all seem to enjoy it. You are quite unique in that respect! And I love the idea of a quilt that portrays a person’s life in fabric—yet another type of storytelling.

      Thanks for the great comments and sharing in the debate. It has been a pleasure hearing everyone’s opinion!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. The age old debate: Nature vs Nurture. I’ve never been one to pick a side and say, “This and only this.” I say, why not both? I don’t care how creative a person is, I believe the urge to express that in writing or any other form of art can be squelched by any number of conditions, including childhood neglect or abuse. If you think of creativity as a spark within us, the analogy becomes simple. Fanning the flames and allowing the fire to grow and burn brightly, or dumping water over that tiny spark and stamping it into oblivion. It might rekindle in some folks, but in most, it would likely be gone (or at least remain unexpressed) forever.

    With that in mind, I believe creativity is likely a product of our own personal make-up, but is definitely aided and abetted by encouragement, education, training, and lots of applause. Nature AND Nurture, in other words.

    That’s my story an’ (since I’ve seen nothing in 75 years to dissuade me), I’m stickin’ to it! 😀 😀 😀

    Great post, Mae! Thanks!

    Liked by 4 people

    • I loved your answer, Marcia. I’m truly convinced that when the creative spark is there what happens to it is not only up to the individual, but the influence of environment and others. Especially in formative years. As we age, we develop a tougher exterior to failure, but discouragement at a young age can shatter dreams and interest. I’m not sure if the gene is inherited, but I do think creative types are more likely to raise creative types if only through exposure and encouragement. And then there are simply people who go out and blaze their own trail. I’m aboard with nature and nurture as well.

      Glad you enjoyed the post!

      Liked by 2 people

      • We tend to think alike on quite a few things, Mae. 😀 This appears to be another one of them. I feel “Either/Or” choices are far too limiting most of the time. Life is usually more of a mash-up than that. And why do people want everything to be one way or the other, anyway? Usually I go with, “Why not both?” (Maybe that just means I’m greedy, but more often than not, it seems a better solution to me.) 😀

        Liked by 2 people

    • I think everyone has some creativity, but obviously for various reasons most people are not able to make a living out of it. Also some people channel their creativity into niche activities like scrap-booking or building elaborate backyard obstacle courses (a bizarre favorite hobby of my sister’s husband). On the other hand, some people just keep it all in their heads. I always wonder what curious worlds exist in the minds of people who fish.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Well, if some members of my own family are any indication, I’d say not much. ducking here, and running before the fisherfolks in the group throw bait at me 😀 I can tell you that pretty much anyone can learn to paint or draw if they want to. It’s a basic skill like learning to write, and with practice and a decent teacher, can be taught to almost all of us. (In days long gone, every young gentlewomen was taught the arts of needlepoint and watercolor painting, for instance).Now I’ll grant you, NOT everyone can paint the Mona Lisa or the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Those folks have just a wee bit extra happening in the way or artistic vision and skill. But I agree with you that everyone has a certain amount of creativity of one sort or another. It’s a shame we’re so quick to pigeonhole young people as quickly as we often do.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think when it comes to making a living at a creative outlet there are only a handful who succeed. Not only does it take drive, dedication, hard work, and the ability to suffer rejection and still continue, but there is also a bit of luck involved. Being in the right place at the right time. Stephen King has said that talent is like table salt–everyone has it, but it takes dedication to succeed (or something like that, LOL). I know that even if I never sell another book, I will continue to write for my own pleasure. Writing is just something I have to do.

        I would love to see one of those obstacle courses. It must be a blast to navigate them!

        Liked by 1 person

      • They are too extreme for me!! But I fall over trying to walk chew gum at the same time. He also works in community outreach for the library system so sometimes he sets them up in the parking lots for the kiddos (it’s all squared with permits, parental releases and lots of volunteer supervision). They have fun with it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That sounds fantastic! I love supporting my local library and am a huge believer that the programs they offer for children can make such a difference in their lives. How awesome he is involved in community outreach!

        Liked by 1 person

  16. Wonderful post, Mae! Creatives of many genres on maternal limb of my tree. Music and art among them. Not sure about writers, but when I think of Lindgren, Astrid always comes to mind… Not sure about inheriting the genes, but the creative influence seems to rub off in one form or another. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • It does indeed sound like there is plenty of creative influence in your family tree, Bette. It’s interesting, but from the comments shared on this post, many of us seem to have musicians and artists in the family, even if no other writers. I guess it’s all in how that gene influences us and the slant in which it is nurtured.:)

      Liked by 1 person

  17. My mother won a writing competition at the age of 11 – so did I and so did my granddaughter. Mum enjoyed writing all her life, although never had anything published. I’ve self published many books, and my granddaughter wants to be a writer when she grows up! I think we’re born with the writing gene – it runs in the family.

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  18. Pingback: Can the Writing Gene be Inherited? ~ Mae Clair | Sue Vincent's Daily Echo

  19. I do believe that writing is a genetic trait, Mae. My mother and her oldest sister, Jean, have not published books but they are both lovely writers. My biological father wanted to be a painter but his family insisted he become a CA. I am a CA too and I also write and do fondant art. Just for interests sake, the Bronte sister’s father, Patrick Bronte, did publish a collection of poetry called Cottage Poems in 1811.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You definitely come from a creative family, Robbie, which is a strong argument for an inherited writing gene. And I had no idea about Patrick Bronte’s collection of poetry. Thanks for sharing that.

      In many ways I think it must be harder to be an artist than a writer, at least making a splash in the field. That may be why my father stopped painting.

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      • I think all the arts are challenging when it comes to standing out from a crowd of others. I didn’t write or do any artwork between when I started working and when I had my first baby. My focus was different. I think that may be why your father stopped. As he died young, he never had the opportunity to go back to it later in life. Who knows what he might have painted had be been given a second opportunity. Sadly, that is the way of life.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I like to think he would have gone back to it as well in his retirement years. You’re right about his focus (like yours) being different during his working years and raising a family with my mom. It’s great that so many get a second chance to pick up something they loved from their youth. 🙂

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  20. I am fortunate to have my sister and daughter as writers in my family.

    I started reading and writing at a young age. I remember walking to the library with my friends every week to get Nancy Drew, Bobbsey Twin, Hardy Boys, and Box Car Children books. I also wrote a few mysteries with my friend as a young child. I do mostly short stories, flash fiction, and poetry currently, as time is a factor.

    To your point, I believe nature/nurture/pure effort have a lot to do with how we develop our creative gene.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I think it’s so cool you and your friends used to walk to the library for books. Waht fun that would be!
      Our local library was many miles away but my parents used to drive me there each weekend. I think those early reading experiences, along with nature and nurture were key in developing the writing gene.
      And I love that you come from a family of writers with your sister and daughter, enjoying that trait/talent as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Good question. It made me think. My dad and I used to debate genes vs. nature a lot before he died. I used to firmly believe in nurture, but had to change my mind after having my daughters. They were born with their own definite, distinct personalities ready made. So then my thinking went to how much each (genes or nurture) INFLUENCED our final outcomes. For me, it’s still a tricky question. I think genes play a big part in who we are, but life experiences and attitudes sure influence what we do with those genes.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Oooh, love that last sentence, Judi. It is so true!!
      Genes vs. nature (and nurture) is such a compelling discussion, I never tire of it. My two sisters (and brother) have personalities that are much different than mine…yet, we have more than a few traits in common.
      Influence is definitely key to how we develop!

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  22. My Grandad on my Mam’s side was a writer. Never got any of his fiction published, though he did get some of his non-fiction published.

    Personally, I think you’re closest with the second one: you’re born with the gene, but you need the trigger to happen for it to be activated. I also think it’s more of an artist type gene, which – depending on your trigger, and whether you nurture the creative artform – could possibly come out with drawing, writing, music, or whatever. Plus, I think it can sometimes skip generations. So it works like all genes, and depends how it gets put together in you to whether you’re going to be a writer, musician, or whatever, or whether you’re just going to be someone who carries the gene on for it to crop up later. Sort of like what happens with the twin gene, the genes that decide hair colour, etc, though you need life experiences to trigger the creative gene, rather than it being decided during conception. Of course, I could be totally wrong. But that’s my theory.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Great theory, Victoria. I completely agree genes and gifts can skip generations. My grandfather was a musical genius, but none of his daughters inherited his talent. It was passed down to my brother, and my sister’s son (my nephew). I like your idea that the creative gene could spin in multiple directions (I.e, writing, art, music). That’s something I hadn’t considered before.

      Trigger moments come at different stages of life for each of us, many embracing creativity in childhood and having it nurtured along the way. Others, discover it later in life. I remember (as a teenager) struggling to understand why not everyone had a passion for something in life. For me, it was always there, so I thought it was the norm. I didn’t realize until high school that most people are the opposite. That was a wake-up call.

      Another was realizing that some people don’t discover their true passion until they’re much older.

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      • Absolutely! Or maybe it’s triggered and ignored for one reason or another. There are so many different ways it could play out for each individual. Mindboggling and fascinating to think about!

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  23. I think there is an allocation of creativity in all of us. How it is manifest is a matter of nurture. My mother and grandmother were both gifted writers. Nothing published, but their letters were works of art. I remember my mother encouraging me to write more when I was a kid. Good post, Mae.

    Liked by 4 people

    • How wonderful that your mother encouraged you to write, John! It’s so important for that support to be there from an early age. My parents did the same for me and I am so grateful.

      I am always amazed by gifted letter writers of the past. Letter writing was truly an art form, and not something everyone was skilled at.
      Oddly, I have no problem crafting a story, but I often struggle to write a good letter (I still send a few by snail mail).

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. It’s fun to speculate!

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  24. I think we are all born with creative genes whether they’re inherited or not but if nurtured we can blossom as creative people. I was the 5th of 6 children and therefore I was not read to daily or nurtured to be creative. Due to this I feel I never was a reader or had the imagination I needed to flurish until later in life. I hated reading as a youth and I believe that made school and life in general harder than it should have been. Just my thought.

    Liked by 4 people

    • It’s a good thought. Parents who read to their children from a young age and encourage a love for books, definitely makes for an easier time in school, and nourishes the creative gene. I was the fourth of four children, but came late in life for my parents.They couldn’t do a lot of the active, chasing around type of play they did with my older sisters and brother, but shared their love of books with me instead and took me on weekly trips to the local library–something we could do together. I’m convinced that helped nurture my creativity and imagination.

      I am so glad you rediscovered your creative gene later in life and allowed your imagination the chance to soar! There is no wrong time to embrace your creative side!

      Like

  25. Neither my mother nor my father is particularly creative. But they nurtured my love of words early (as did my grandparents—my grandfather was a voracious reader). I’ve been known to cry working on math and science problems (not coincidentally, when the science involved math was when the waterworks tended to amp up). But I’ve always loved to draw (and am passable but by no means professional), I used to enjoy dancing, I played brass and woodwind instruments in school (although clarinet was the one I went furthest in), and to this day I love to create flower arrangements (wreaths are my favorite, but I’ve done other things, too). I very much would like to work with a potter’s wheel, but I’d settle for sculpting with clay. (I used to love Play-Doh; does that count?)

    Despite my boss telling me I’m very analytical, I think I’m mostly creative. (By mostly, I mean almost exclusively.) And while those abilities may not be in my nature, they were definitely nurtured.

    Very thought provoking.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Being a voracious reader and sharing that passion with a child, as your grandfather did, certainly develops wonder and creativity. I see that in the programs geared toward children at my local library which seem to become more engrossing and creative each year.

      You sound like you have always been very creative. I spent a few years trying to learn to play an instructed but never developed the knack–same with drawing, although I did love Play Doh, LOL. And paint-by-number, and Spirographs. Remember those? I think it’s possible to be analytical in some aspects of your life while being highly creative in others. It’s how I view my own personality.

      As for math–you know how I feel about the dreaded evil. I might have veered into some type of earth science if not for the math hurdle!

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Great musings today. I really have no idea for sure. My grandfather’s family was a large bunch. Two of them were musical prodigies who could pick up and instrument and play it without training. Nobody has shown up like them since. As for the nurturing part, I worry that our modern generations won’t take time to nurture such talents. We want everything quick and easy today. I am the only writer on either side of my family, but that doesn’t mean the tendencies aren’t present. Maybe they are just not nurtured.

    Liked by 5 people

    • We do live in a fast paced world. I hope artistic gifts won’t get overlooked in the rush. Libraries are offering inventive programs for young children all the way up to teens these days. My husband does set-up for a lot of these programs, and I’m always fascinated by how creative they are. I hope more parents take advantage of them,and continue to nurture that creativity at home. Nurturing a gift definitely has a lot to do with whether or not it’s developed.

      How cool that you had two musical prodigies in your grandfather’s family. Maybe you inherited their artistic gene with an entirely different slant–words instead of music.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You found what works and that’s what counts!

        The Official Myers Briggs test I took at a college decades ago said I should be strive for a career in a field related to the arts or academia.
        I was told to avoid law and real estate at all cost. snort!

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  27. I’ve got mostly lawyers in my fam. tree, I’m afraid, plus a master mariner and a Lancashire mill owner. A few actors on the outer fringes, as it were, and one moderate portrait painter. We were a widely scattered and diverse bunch, with one thing in common. Apart from good self we’re all dead.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hmmm. Interesting. I wonder if one of those lawyers, the master mariner, or mill owner was a frustrated writer inside. I would guess your passion for words goes back to early years, Frederick. I just envision you as always carving out stories in your head and weaving words together in perfect patterns. Or maybe you’re simply the first who realized the intrinsic magic of story telling. However you came about your wordsmithing ability, you’ve added another talent into that diverse bunch of family!

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Interesting post, Mae. I’m the only published writer in my family, although creativity comes from both my father’s and mother’s side of the family. One of Dad’s sisters wrote poetry, the other two sisters weren’t (or at least didn’t develop) their creative side. My grandmother, as well as the same aunt who wrote poetry, could play piano by ear. Dad could play a little but didn’t develop the talent. My love for reading came from Dad, although Mom read more after she retired.

    On my Mom’s side, her father, as well as her only brother, were avid story-tellers with vivid imaginations. My brother is an artist, having majored in fine arts and receiving both a BFA and MFA. He taught art for many years. He also writes short stories and has written some songs. (He took guitar lessons and the teacher requires his students to write music. This teacher also taught country music stars Miranda Lambert and Casey Musgraves, so he must be onto something.) I took piano lessons but don’t have a natural gift. Unlike my brother, I can’t draw or paint and his few attempts at teaching me how to make pottery didn’t get very far as I don’t have the patience to work with clay.

    So it’s hard to say. I tend to think both my brother and I inherited some of our creativity (Mom could draw, but she didn’t develop the talent). Which, after reading what I wrote about her and Dad not working with their natural gifts, makes me think that no matter what abilities we’re born with, we must develop and nourish those gifts. Hence the scientific theory of losing the potential. Then again, think of Grandma Moses who didn’t start painting until the age of 78 or writers who never penned a word until they were older. Is our potential really lost, or just not developed?

    Long response here, but you’ve certainly given me something to think about.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I am so glad I have your mind working through possibilities, Joan! It sounds like there is a lot of artistic talent in your family, on both sides. Clearly,your brother’s first passion is art, but he must be able to dabble in writing and music with relative ease. You mentioned your mother being able to draw but not developing the talent. I do think much of creativity comes down to that. Many of us ENJOY various creative endeavors, but I believe it takes PASSION to make the difference. You have a passion for writing that is as strong as your brother’s passion for art. As for many people not developing a talent until they are older, I think the gene has been there, lying dormant, waiting to be developed by a trigger moment and interest. I love thinking about this stuff! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Mae- that is an amazing question. I can see a little of both yes & no in it. It’s like some siblings are more alike and end up doing relatively the same thing, but others go in totally opposite directions. I think the Goid Lord know how special each of us are and if we stop and listen he will lead us down the path we need to go. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 4 people

    • HI, Tony! I am in full agreement with you. I have no doubt God has guided my path throughout my life and that my gift (whether inherited or not) is from Him. It is interesting to note how siblings raised in the same environment often develop to be polar opposites. We are fortunate that God made each of us so unique!

      Like

    • Reading is HUGE to developing an interest in writing. I did the same thing as a kid, Harmony. My parents used to take me for weekly visits to the library. I have such fond memories of those times, and of my young, awkward attempts at crafting stories. I am so glad for the encouragement I received that kept me trying, and my mind soaring. It sounds like you knew from the start what you wanted to do 🙂

      Thank you for the reblog!

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Nobody in my family is a writer. I think it stems more from exposure. I read a lot as a child, so whatever talents had were nurtured by this. I used to be in an art club as a child and was getting pretty good before I quit. Don’t have those skills anymore. There are probably those who are naturals and they happen to fall into the right life to get the proper exposure and support. Most probably start with a spark that is grown over time. If your parent or sibling is a successful author then you have a higher chance of getting the same experiences and exposure.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I absolutely agree that having a parent or sibling who is an author nets you a higher chance of similar exposure. The same goes for music. Look at how many famous musicians have children who followed the same path.

      Reading as a child is key. I wish more people realized that today. I’ve actually heard adults say they regret no one ever cultivated that interest for them or encouraged it. I know many who viewed reading as a chore.

      Maybe you also have an artistic gene buried inside, Charles, but writing is your greater passion, hence you abandoned art. You could probably redevelop that gift, although I know the amount of time involved in writing, and can’t imagine juggling both. I suppose there are people who could do it with ease. I’m not one of them, but then again, art and music passed me by. I do, however, like to think of myself as a creative thinker, and often employ that slant on my day job.

      So much comes down to nourishing what we’re given!

      Like

  31. No one in my family wrote or even read except my real father who I barely knew. He did read and wrote ar least one poem i knew about. It was found next to his bed after he died. He was adopted. Years later I did an DNA test to find my nationalities. I found a first cousin related to a grandparent who woukd have been the biological parent of my dad. Never did figure out which sibling it was. But this cousin and I had a lot in common. At that time we both wrote children stories. So i might lean toward some of it might be genetic.

    Liked by 5 people

    • That’s so interesting about your cousin, Denise. And your father. It could be coincidence that your father dabbled in poetry and you and your cousin both write, or it could be something far more intrinsic. I tend to lean toward an inherited gene, something your father or grandparent passed down to you.
      You took the time to nurture that creativity and embrace it.
      And your daughter writes! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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