I started writing when my daughter was born. She slept most of the day, and I needed something to keep my brain alive. I’d had a 60 hour a week career going before that, so if you’re a career woman having a child later in life (I was 37), you know how that goes. My brain needed activity!
But something I always had terrible approach/avoidance to was writing. I HATED to write anything! It was too much thinking and way too much work, but writing haunted me.
Not to brag, but to illustrate, my writing professor (a required course or I’d never have taken it) would read my article to the class, telling them, “This is how an article should be written.” Or, I’d always be writing analyses for work. Or writing recommendations/references and such. And I hated every minute.
Then, one day while the baby was asleep, I saw this computer program that would teach you how to write fiction. Since I’d been getting picture books out of the library for my daughter, almost from the day she as born, I felt I had the ability to do at least that — write a children’s book. So, I bought the program and started working with it. (Little did I know that writing books for kids is more complicated than writing for adults for so many reasons.)
But I got the program, and first, it taught me to draw characters. That was actualy fun! I was able to make up people and tell their stories. I really got into that.
Then, I learned about crafting a plot, and that was fun, too! I decided that maybe I did want to be a writer, but not a professional writer, just maybe sell ONE thing that I wrote — just to prove to myself that I could.
Four years later, I was still trying because you see, I had to learn to write. Writing well is MUCH more than sitting down with a notebook and a pen, at least if you want to sell what you write. You need to learn formatting, pace, usage, what NOT to do, and so much more! During those four years, I was becoming what I had never wanted to be — a writer, and at the end of them, I sold my first short story to a magazine for $75. I couldn’t have been happier.
Today, I’ve written 10 books (11 if you want to count one that I self-published), and I guess I learned my stuff because they’re all with major American publishers. A couple weeks ago, I learned that my publisher had sold sub-rights to my book about Mohandas K. Gandhi. OK, cool. Not much money but hey… It’s a book I wrote more than 10 years ago and it’s still selling, so I guess that’s something. And yesterday, I got a package with 5 books inside, all written in Hindi. I can’t read a word, but it still felt pretty good.
But today, you see, I write every single day. Now, writing is part of me. It’s who I am, and though I started off with a totally negative attitude, I’ve changed. I love being a writer, though I’m not in the publishing end of things these days. Unless you’re very lucky or Stephen King or another prolific wildly successful writer, you don’t make a lot of money. I’m still paying advances back from books I wrote a long time ago. I couldn’t live on what I made, so… I quit writing books and went into something that did pay the bills.
I have a digital marketing company, and in that business, there’s a LOT of writing involved. I also write for SEMRush.com every couple weeks about technical topics. But I write.
One day, I hope to go back to being just a writer again. That was without a doubt the BEST part of my life.
So, is it inborn? I think it is. I mean, people can be taught to write, but that may not what they were intended to do. After all these years, I truly think I was intended to be a writer, even though I went into it kicking and screaming all the way. Either you can draw or your can’t. Either you can write or you can’t. Same thing. I think our strengths are inborn, for sure.
What’s the point? If you have a talent, please don’t ignore it. It will make you crazy if you don’t use it. Don’t fret over it, either. Just DO. When you try whatever that is, you might find that you’re happy doing it, though you may have thought you would never be. There’s a higher power that knows why we’re here. It’s best not to disappoint.