Are Writers Born or Made?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, maybe even before. Writing always seemed something I was supposed to do. My Grandad told me stories, from books and a lot he’d made up himself, when I was little and I’d make up my own too, or add to the ones he told me…

Then when I realised people wrote books and they didn’t just appear out of thin air, I decided I wanted to do that.

I’m not sure if I was born with an intention to write, or if I was made that way by the stories I was told and the books that I read.

I read a lot of fantasy when I was a kid, grew up with Potter and Percy Jackson, and for a long time that was what I wrote too. So, again, it could be said that my ambitions to write were made by what I read. Over the years, I started to read more than fantasy–crime, thrillers, horror–and I started to write more than fantasy–crime, thrillers, horror… Changing what I read changed what I wrote, and how I wrote it. Does that mean what I read made what I wrote, or just that it changed what was already there, what I was born with?

Some authors say they wrote ever since they could remember. J. K Rowling wrote stories about a rabbit called Rabbit, when she was a kid, Stephen King wrote from an early age and hasn’t stopped since. He says that he doesn’t write horror because his childhood was bad, but just because that’s what he likes to write. So King wasn’t, as a writer, made by his experiences.

Neither was I. My childhood was pretty normal. Climbing trees, pretending I was Indian Jones or Alan Grant from Jurassic Park, but most of what I write is pretty dark and violent. So, in this sense, the way I write wasn’t made by my childhood or my life.

Some authors, like Lee Child, didn’t start writing until pretty late in life. Child was laid off from his job and turned to writing in the months after. He hadn’t done it professionally before, for novels, instead he wrote commercials and news stories. But finishing his previous job made him start writing novels.

So in that sense, it could be said that Lee Child was made, as a writer (novel writer), more than he was born as one.

A lot of writers/authors say they only ever wanted to write, that it felt natural and that they have done it from a very early age. Some say different.

But which is the truth? Are writers/authors born or made? Made and changed by their experiences, a desire to be famous or rich…

Which do you think it is? Born or made?

Feel free to leave a comment for which one you think is true, or if you think it’s both, or even something different, below… 


About Sam Whitehouse

Sam spends most of his time in a different world to other people. If it isn’t one he’s created himself, it’s one he’s reading about. In the rare moments when this isn’t the case, Sam can either be found addicted to a sci-fi or crime show, re-watching Marvel movies, finishing up an assignment for his final year of studying Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University, or trying to get the dozens of ideas for stories in his head under some kind of control. Sam has lived in the same small village in Yorkshire, surrounded by countryside on all sides ever since he could remember. His childhood saw him get into plenty of scrapes climbing trees and crossing rivers and generally believing he was Indiana Jones. Sam gives credit to his Grandad for him wanting to be a writer, and his bedtime stories for keeping Sam’s imagination stoked. But credit must also go to Steven Spielberg, J K Rowling and Stephen King, who have provided plenty of inspiration over the years, too. Sam writes what he reads, and that is pretty much anything—save romance. Fantasy, thrillers, or crime: once an idea takes root, he can’t stop until the world, characters, and plot are on paper. A huge Marvel fan, Sam one day hopes to pen a screenplay for one of their movies, or direct one, or do anything at all related to one. Until then, he’ll stick to his own fantasy worlds and wait for Marvel’s phone call.

Posted on 08/19/2015, in books, reading, writers, writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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