What do you need to learn as a child to be a writer as an adult? What was it that set you down this writing path? Do you think people with a difficult childhood are more likely to pursue creative lives? Why is that? Some people have crazy childhoods and become serial killers. Or they live like everyone else.
Are writers/artists like everybody else and the differences only in their imagination?
11 thoughts on “Everyone is just alike.”
My friend used to talk about writers wanting to be ‘heard’, because maybe they weren’t heard in some way when they were younger. Being heard feels very different to being loved.
That’s true. Perhaps feeling loved is helped by being heard, but they’re not the same. Well, being loved and feeling loved aren’t the same either. How many young people are heard?
That would certainly apply to me. The not feeling heard as a child, and the wanting to feel heard as an adult. Good observation.
Good question. What does it take to become a writer?
I think writers have a rich internal life. They think a lot and observe a lot and well, make up stores and exercise their imagination. I know I did as a child.
I think writers have a lot of curiosity, wondering why and how. Always running around to see new things and then following the paths of “what if.”
I wonder if writers are naturally introverted… I don’t know about that… but I know that writing served as an outlet for me. If I had been more social, I don’t think I would have needed my writing to keep me company, entertain me, or help me get through my feelings.
I also think that somewhere in our childhood, we have to have developed a sense of agency, a belief that we can DO things, that we are in charge of our own stories. What was it that convinced me that I could write my own novel at age 15, just because I’d run out of books to read?
They also have to be stubborn. They have to be driven enough to keep writing even when it gets so hard. Like a terrier who will not let go, tearing and shaking the leg of that story, that idea, that writerliness.
I know what you mean. If my childhood had been saner, I might not be making anything now. Not sure how to feel about that. My stubbornness though has to be genetic.
I have no idea, whatsoever. None.
I know for me it started in about sixth grade. I was heavily influenced by TV and movies. I know I have movies playing all day long in my head, and sometimes I think other people would like to experience them too, so I write it down.
But when did I realize I was a writer? What was the final factor that pushed me out there and set me on the road, and when? Those are questions I can’t answer. I don’t know if it was my childhood (which was dismal) or not. But I know the decision to actively pursue it came much later for me than for most others.
It is never too late! And I’m not sure you need to be able to answer those questions. Just go write.
Well… There’s got to be some sort of urge to tell a story, and some facility at it. In some households this seems to be encouraged; in others it’s deemed “lying” and the kid gets punished for it. And the vast majority fall somewhere between the extremes. But I bet the extremes produce vaguely similar quantities of writers; if so, the ones from the “don’t tell stories” families probably tend to be the crazier sort of writers — the self-destructive ones and so on.
I wish I could say all the speculation in the preceding paragraph was actually based on sound research. 🙂
But where does that urge come from? Seems to be an old urge, of course. People have been telling stories for lifetimes. But what was the difference between the people who went from town to town and were storytellers and those who were happy enough to go to the center of town and listen. (If this image is close to reality that is.)
As a child, I had a sense of my “life as a movie” – always a way of watching myself, seeing the wholeness of it as if from away, or above, somehow having a sense of the big picture even as I moved through my days. I associate this now with writing. It’s a provocative question – thanks for posing it. Also, I just got Natalie Goldberg’s book on memoir and it’s loaded with short, ten-minute “go” prompts. Made me think of you.
I love Natalie Goldberg. Thanks for thinking of me. And your comment gave me an idea for a post! Thanks for that too.