Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Is Being a Writer in Your DNA?


To survive, you must tell stories. -- Umberto Eco
Do you feel like you were meant to be a writer? If so, you're not alone. I feel exactly the same way. I can't imagine being without my words to paper. There is something therapeutic about it, a calming energy that tamps down worries from my real life, and even if it's only for a brief time I escape into the world I'm creating.

People who are not writers may not understand this need, this drive, this inner compulsion to keep on writing, to build new worlds, to meet new characters of their own creation. While readers get attached to the characters they read about, and they take on a life to them (if the author has done their job right), as authors these characters are breathing entities of whom we can't get enough of.

There's always a book idea, or many, brewing in our minds. Characters who need their story told and won't take no for an answer.  It can be said as authors we hear voices. I know I do (not to be confused with auditory hallucinations) and I think it's necessary. Otherwise, I'm not sure how books would be born.

It's ironic how once you put a book out there, and then maybe a few more follow, people will comment 'oh, I see you're working on another one'. It comes across that these people are surprised you're still writing. Maybe it's family or friends who see how hard you work and what you sacrifice, or maybe it's a comment from a co-worker, or other such acquaintance.  They don't understand that writing is who you are as a person.

I remember watching a movie, don't ask me the name of it, but the main character was a writer. When she took a vacation, she met up with a group of people and they asked her to them about herself.  Her first response was she was a writer. It met with a 'not what you do, but who you are' comment.

But, see, as authors, writing is who we are.  It's ingrained in our fabric, our essence, it makes us who we are. We observe the world around us differently for this reason. We're able to empathize with the plight of others, and if we're crime authors, we're even able to get into the minds of criminals and analyze what makes them 'tick'. Due to this, we can assign even the most heinous criminal a slant of understanding--not that their actions are acceptable--but we bring to light their motivation.

You see the question raised with this post was, "Is being a writer in your DNA?"  I'm not sure if there is a scientific answer to this question, but my gut tells me it holds truth.  There's nothing else I'd rather be doing. I couldn't sing to save myself. I'm not talented with a musical instrument. I'm not a crafty person (well, I painted ceramics for a bit, but it's not my calling or anything lol). My true passion is writing. I can't imagine my life without it. It brings me peace and comfort even when my world at times feels like it's falling apart.