Are Writers Born or Made?
I think the truth is: both. Writers are born with a passion, a creative-streak that manifests in their lives somehow. Art. Music. Acting. These are some other professions that seem to rumble from the soul to the outside at some point. I know that I’ve always had to have an outlet for my creativity, especially before I decided to become a writer. I got into stamps (no, not the post office kind. Lol.) creating my own Christmas, birthday, and all-occasion cards. As a kid, I knew I had this driving force in my life.
I wrote A LOT. The trouble was, no one told me I could be a writer. It wasn’t something listed on the job fair tickets back then. In fact, most job programs geared toward the youth didn’t care for the creative type because we were too hard to pin down. It wasn’t till I watched a movie where the star pursues a writing career that the idea was planted down in me. After that, I couldn’t keep the pen from the paper.
Until life and kids distracted me for a while. Somehow, though, I always came back to the muse. That sense of accomplishment, wonder, triumph at finishing a piece and holding it in your hands—outside the joy of holding your child in your arms for the first time—just takes root and drives you forward. It carried me through times when I thought I would break from the sheer pressure of life around me. By God’s grace, it lifted me when I fell.
Three-and-a-half years ago, I finally came to terms with what I wanted to do with my life and haven’t looked back. This is where the part about a writer being made comes in. Even though I thought the scribbles I did were genius when I first started out, the truth was, they were awful. All first efforts are. It wasn’t until I started studying my craft, reaching out to other writers, getting into critique partnerships, that I began to learn what it takes to succeed as a writer. Perseverance for one. Drive (something I already had. J). And the ability to tell a story so gut-wrenching, so—true—that readers laugh, cry, and weep alongside the characters. You can learn the first and the last, but the push has to come from within.
You have to want this with all your heart. There are days when you want to tear your hair out, days when you think you’ll never write another word, and days when you realize the awesome result of what you’ve suffered through is all worth it. Love it and hate it, there are two sides to every sword. Fortunately, for me, I love it more. That’s the real test to whether you’re a writer. Do you just love the idea of having your name on a book? Or do you want readers to experience the full spectrum of emotions your characters did? The quest to right the wrong.
So, there you have it. I believe a writer is both born and made. Born with the muse inside them, ready to sprout their wings, and made by study, practice, and faith in themselves and their work. What are your thoughts? Will you encourage your own child should they show the talent and desire to write? Or wish upon them a structured career? It’s a shame that the arts aren’t supported more by those around us. Maybe you can be the first.