What makes a person want to become a writer, anyway?
I asked a few of my writing friends to answer this question.
What Caused You To Become A Writer?
Here are their unedited responses.
Click on a photo to go directly to the author’s Facebook page.
My mother was a newspaper the society editor of a local newspaper when I was growing up. I began blogging around 2005 and get about 150 hits per day via FB. That is my little spot and actually my therapy. When I was recruited as a writer for My Pioneer Life the guy who was putting it together told me not to lose my “style.” which is folksy and southern. I recently retired from 41 years in healthcare so I’m pretty well versed on that subject. Interviewing people with photo opps has been new to me but I enjoy it. There you have it! Me in a nutshell.
What caused me to become a writer? It was an inevitability as soon as I started to read – or even to have stories read to me. Composition was my favourite thing at school and I always knew that one day I would write books. I just kept postponing it. Life got in the way – so now I write fast as I’m running to make up time. And now the idea of not writing is as unthinkable to me as not breathing.
Website: Clare Flynn
My love of story. Growing up in a rural area, books opened my world. Showed me places and people I didn’t see where I lived. I discovered you could learn something and enjoy the story. That’s what I try to do in my books. Bring something to the reader that they may not know in an entertaining way.
I don’t have a choice. Writing’s what I was born to do. It’s what causes me to wake up at 3 AM or have an entire chapter downloaded into my brain while I’m taking a shower, or just drop whatever it is I’m doing and write it all down on paper. It’s what forms my view of the world. It’s what makes me able to look at some random detail in the world and add it into my novels. I write, because there are truths and hard realities that must be looked at, and the written word is my best way to share these views with the world. I write, because I must.
Facebook: Kyle Waller
I’ve always been a writer in one way or another, as an English teacher and university academic, but what caused me to begin novel-writing was adversity and necessity. When my father had a stroke and developed vascular dementia, I chose to give up my career and return home to help care for him. Previously, in my teaching career, I had lived and travelled all over the world – Thailand, Russia, Brazil, India, China, Spain, Germany, Italy, as well as the UK. After years of travel – of meeting new people, forging friendships and broadening my horizons – I suddenly found myself living and working as a full-time carer in a remote rural area of the Scottish Highlands, virtually cut off from the world and with no social life.
Those were very difficult years. Writing and research were my only escape. I had always written stories, poems and journals in the past, but I had never published anything. As my ideas for my book series coalesced, I took the plunge and embarked on a correspondence course in creative writing with the London School of Journalism. I was fortunate enough to have a fabulous tutor, who stopped giving me the course exercises after a few lessons, and asked me to send her excerpts and chapters from my novel instead! She helped me sharpen my writing skills, and gave me the courage and confidence to go for it. Five years after I began writing in earnest, I published my first two novels on Amazon and Lulu.
Growing up in an abusive, dysfunctional home as a child who dealt with bullying at home & at school, writing (& music) was not only my best friend but my therapy. Writing was my voice, my passion, and my connection to a “normal” world. I fell in love with Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, & Alex Haley in high school and have since studied their works & their lives. Writing is the one thing nobody can tell me I’m doing wrong, nobody can tell me to be quiet or that my ‘voice’ doesn’t matter. I remember even with music I’ve always loved the songs with the strongest lyrics versus melody.
Writing has since become a deeper part of me. I have ADD, Fibromyalgia, and adrenal fatigue. Writing has become therapy & a distraction to the suffering. Yet having ADD it breathes creativity, hyperfocus & “out of the box” thinking. After years of wasting my time pursuing things others thought I should, succumbing to become a fake version of who I am, Writing has always been there. I have truly taken hold of writing & realized it was a God-given gift, a part of my ministry, and a way to educate, entertain, and heal. Writing, as well as mentoring/coaching future writers of all ages, has become almost as crucial part of my life as my kids, God, and breathing. I lie awake at night sometimes with story ideas hitting me, can sit in front of a computer & get lost in a story & burn a frozen pizza (did it 2x while finishing my book). Writing is a way to create worlds, relive parts of your life & rewrite outcomes, or reach out to others & help them heal through your words. It’s not only a gift & passion, but for me it’s a responsibility.
I’ve been writing since I was five years old. I wrote for fun until 2016, and that was when I encountered what I like to call my ‘crossroad’ moment. That was when I decided I wanted to do something serious; I wasn’t really using my talents to the best of my ability.
Thomas J Eyre
Unlike many writers I suspect, I am fairly unique in that I can pinpoint almost the exact date and time of the event that led to me becoming an author; I also suspect that I am fairly unique in being able to pinpoint the exact event responsible for setting me on that career path too.
I would also be willing to bet my entire bank account contents that I am the only person ever to be able to claim that the catalyst to becoming a writer was a pair of bent brake discs on the front wheel of a Suzuki GSXR750 motorcycle.
So here is the story of the bent brake discs that led to a series of connected yet random events, which culminated in me ending up with too much time on my hands to be healthy.
Saturday the 27th of May 2000 turned out to be perfect motorcycling weather. The wind was barely noticeable there were no clouds, no hint of rain and the air temperature was fairly high for that time of year in England, and the roads were dry.
Being an engineer stuck in a machine shop for ten hours a day five days a week, meant that these types of days became treasured for the ability to get out on the bike and give it the beans for a few hours. This Saturday however, I had a problem, the bike needed a new front tyre. I went over and saw my mate Charlie to get a new one fitted before heading out on our version of the Isle of Man TT.
Charlie was busy, so he got the apprentice to fit my new tyre ably assisted by me. Between the apprentice and me, something went wrong and we ended up bending the brake discs. That scuppered that weekend’s riding, and it wasn’t until the following Saturday, the 3rd of June that Charlie phoned me to tell me that my new brake discs had arrived. They had arrived okay, but in the main dealer in Yeovil and Charlies place was in Wareham. Charlie loaned me a Kawasaki ZX750R to go up to get the brake discs from the main dealer, and while I was there, the main dealer allowed me to test-ride the brand spanking new Y2K Suzuki GSXR750.
On that test-ride, I got knocked from the bike and hit the chevron sign on a roundabout. The chevron sign fared much better than I did and my engineering career ended on that day at around 1 pm.
Writing a book was something I always dreamed of doing, but life, mortgages and children got in the way. The enforced change of pace added to the mobility issues and head injuries pushed me to reevaluate my life and focus my efforts on doing something that I could do rather than try to keep pace with the old, much fitter me.
I started to write a science fiction novel and had the awesome idea to call it TimeWarp. My memory loss stopped me from realising that my awesome book title was also the name of one of the quite famous songs from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. That coupled with the stinging rebukes from my first editor, which ended with the comment, “nobody cares,” when the narrative got to the big reveal, made me realise that maybe my command of the English language might not be quite good enough for me to become a professional author.
My physical injuries left me with nothing but time on my hands, so I set out to master the art of writing by reading as many books on the subject as I could. I also found a truly fantastic editor who understands what it is my writing is setting out to say and helps me reign-in my somewhat scattered and random thoughts when it comes to putting my ideas down on paper and formulating that into a book.
Sam has helped me to focus on what is important and taught me how to kill my darlings and have no regrets about leaving them to rot on the cutting room floor. So there it is a series of unfortunate events, too much time on my hands and a vivid imagination that set me on the road to becoming an author.
As an addendum to my story, I don’t recommend that anyone follows my route into becoming an author.
Https://thomasjeyre.com https://www.facebook.com/thomas.eyre.3760 https://twitter.com/ThomasJEyre1 https://www.instagram.com/thomasjeyre1/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomas-eyre-a43aaa172/
I’ve felt the urge to write since I first picked up a crayon in preschool. I loved to read, and writing was fun and came easily to me. I didn’t take it seriously or pursue writing until recently. When I was a senior in high school, I wrote a short piece for a contest and won. A blast from the past, 1989!
I don’t recall what I wrote about in this essay but would love to look back all those years and see what I had to say! It must have been good, right? After all, I won.
Fast forward 29 years to 2018. My dream of becoming a writer was all but dismissed, the idea buried behind a prospering career and family life. I’d procrastinated on writing for so many years that it was natural to make excuses about being busy – lack of time, work and family commitments. I realize now that in procrastinating I was just allowing my fear of failure to control my destiny. Something happened December 23, 2014 that shifted my thought process slightly. I had an abdominal aneurysm and faced death more than once as the result of a Whipple surgery and a tedious recovery. Procrastinating was no longer an option. I was faced with the decision of either writing or not writing. I chose wisely and started a blog. I began to write down notes, map out story ideas and read books on the craft of writing. Still, I was not writing like I wanted to.
The ensuing 3 year health journey tested my grit and determination. I struggled to live while continuing on a demanding career path that hindered my physical health. I was still dabbling in blogging/dreaming of being a writer, but not really writing the way I wanted to. In November 2017, I decided I would move to part time with my busy career and finally take care of me. In March 2018, I began writing my first novel – which I finished in September. I am proud to say that I will be launching this book into the world on 11/13. Paperback, hardcover and Kindle version are now available for pre-ordering on Amazon!
Dreams do come true – but only if we listen. I hope others don’t need a strong “nudge” like I did in order to follow their dream of becoming a writer. Just go for it. One word at a time.
Dixie Maria Carlton
I barely scraped through high school, mostly because I was bored to the brink of my sanity and so just stopped going. I could not do maths at all, but found English easy enough that when I did turn up for exams, I flew though them. If only someone had suggested I might direct this ability better I could have saved some time. I think I’m proof that school is not the ideal place to figure out your talents and how to apply them later. I became a writer, because I simply write. When I’m up or down, life is great or sodding miserable, I’m writing about it. I take inspiration from so many moments/people in my day and just want to write about them. So I do – as much as possible.
I started writing novels because I had stories and characters that just wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote them. I was on fire to tell my tales. I’m still that way when I get a new novel idea, like the 1950s crime noir, Dead End Alley, the one I’m working on now.
I started writing when I was about eight years old. I’ve always loved to make up stories. But what caused me to become a writer was the moment I realized I could communicate much more effectively through writing. After that, I started writing most every day. For a long time, I only wrote for myself, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve been writing with an audience in mind. I’ve always loved how a good story transports me to a new world, a new experience, and inside the head of another person. To me, writing is painting an experience to share.
My future was on the cards from an early age. My mother was a writer, and she sometimes let me bash on the her old Olivetti when I was around four. Most of the time the keys got jammed, and, when they didn’t, all I typed was a random collection of letters. I sometimes pretended to read out what I’d “written”, making things up as I went along, like the tale of a witch who’d died in a fire caused by her habit of smoking in bed.
When at university, I tried to write a novel, but I knew nothing much at the time except how to pass exams (even that was arguable). It was only years later, when I’d lived in several different countries and had gained life experience as a physician and a mother of three, that I found I had something to write about.
Now I know that I can’t not write. The drive to communicate is part of who I am.
I think I have always been a writer – someone who responds to life through words, whether by processing them personally in a diary (I started my first diary at the age of 8), by writing down problems to make them more manageable at times of stress, or by interpreting and reinventing the world in my novels and short stories.
Sometimes I might spot something when I’m out and about – a particularly spectacular tree, for example – that makes me think “If I were a painter, that’s the sort of thing I’d like to paint” – but I’m not wired that way.
I may be completely wrong about the science behind it, as I know next to nothing about science, but I’ve always taken it for granted that whatever part of my brain is devoted to verbal powers must be better developed than the rest of it. Unlike, say, the part that is responsible for understanding science.
Robin Leemann Donovan
As a child I was an avid reader and writer of letters. My letters always seemed to surprise people, making them laugh when they needed a laugh, shoring them up when they needed support. The feedback all seemed positive and appreciative that I was able to sense their needs and write something that helped. Whenever their comments focused on my making them laugh, I was in heaven. Even as a child, I fancied myself a cross between Cornelia Otis Skinner and James Thurber – my dreams were big. It was only a matter of time before I penned the great American comedic novel.
Then life happened. I taught English to high school kids who suffered through my love of literature and taught me new forms of grammar and spelling that haunt me to this day. When the academic life began to pale, I ventured into the world of advertising. Sure I would be a star copywriter, I instead found myself behind a calculator in the world of media buying. It was hard work and it kept me busy. Too busy to write a novel.
As the years progressed, I found myself the owner of an ad agency with one, two or three partners, depending on the year. During one particularly stressful period when the economy was lagging and my CFO partner was obnoxious as hell, I found myself looking for escape. That’s when I started my first novel.
In retrospect, I think I wrote about murder to assuage my desire to commit murder. Killing off people who cause you extreme stress is so cathartic. And when you do it in a novel, you don’t go to jail.
A bad film, an obsession with Ancient Rome and Robert Harris’s ‘Fatherland’.
The bad film was beautiful, but the story line chopped up and the continuity dreadful. I turned to my husband and said, “I could do better than that!”
So he replied, “Well, why don’t you?”
Ninety days later, I had written 90,000 words of my first novel.
The full story is here: https://alison-morton.com/2015/10/11/what-inspired-roma-nova/
Michael J MacMahon
I have for years loved the writing of Malcolm Gladwell, since he first released The Tipping Point. I realised that he is great at telling stories to make a serious point. I’ve always loved telling stories; and people have also told me that I’m good at explaining ideas. So Gladwell is my role model for my non-fiction and his example got me writing.
here’s a link to my latest book The Wedding Speech Handbook on Amazon UK,: https://amzn.to/2vZ7AB8
I had been toying with a story idea since 2012 but hadn’t done anything about it. Every Christmas I wrote a short story for my kids, but that was it. Then, in September of 2015, a couple things happened that pushed me. The first was that I met author Ian Douglas. He was superb and I didn’t even know he was an author for the first 4 hours of hanging out with him. Then my family discovered Castle. I took that as a sign, though I didn’t do a lot with it. Finally, in Feb. of 2016 I realized that if I didn’t just do it I never would. That weekend I sat and wrote and by Sunday evening I had 14,000 words of a book. I did finish that book but ended up ripping out most of it because it didn’t work. The first stuff I wrote was actually the best, it was too forced after that. I decided to practice writing on other things first. I have a couple short stories that will become part of a story collection by the end of the year.