Random Thoughts On Becoming a Writer: Why Even Non-Booklovers Sometimes Become Writers

Reading | Author Sara Paretsky - Part 2

Random Thoughts On Becoming a Writer:  Why Even Non-Booklovers Sometimes Become Writers
I’m sure you’ve noticed the trend. Readers are booklovers, and a statistically disproportionate number of booklovers, even the ones who didn’t start writing stories in childhood, eventually become writers.

I’m a firm believer in personal and career “callings,” predestined relationships and best career fits, so in my world it makes perfect sense for avid readers to eventually decide to try their hand at writing. On the other hand,  drastic changes like suddenly deciding to write when you’ve never even enjoyed reading (and still don’t, in some instances) much of anything requires explanation. 

As I said, it’s easy to explain why someone who has always written or read stories, poetry, or prose, would want to continue doing so – a calling, so to speak, but what leads so many people who’ve never been avid readers, let alone writers, to suddenly write? Well, I have a few ideas about things that could be going through their minds, three good reasons, two not so good reasons. I hope you don’t mind me sharing them with you. 
  1. Following a major life event (illness, loss of a loved one, relocation, successful/ or not to successful dating, buying a house, starting a business, marriage or divorce, pregnancy/new child, weight loss, loss of a job or status, loss of income, etc.)Major life events or changes whether we’re affected positively or negatively, often drive us to share our experience or knowledge with others. I’ve been writing since childhood, so when my father was diagnosed with and eventually passed from Alzheimer’s Disease, my first inclination was to write about my family’s experience with the awful disease. I wanted to share information so that maybe my experience would be helpful to someone else. I found that several informative books had already been written on the subject, most by authors who had never written another story, poem, or essay. These authors saw a need and filled it. I’ve also noticed others writing about personal experiences in an attempt to share and help. 
  2. After reading an awesome book or watching a particularly enjoyable movie.
  3. After reading a terrible or poorly written book or watching a particularly bad or poorly developed movie. They either want to give someone joy just as the great movie uplifted them, or in the instance of a bad movie, they figure they can do a better job than the scriptwriter. Sometimes they can and do.
  4. Peer Pressure or envy – Someone they love/ or envy is a writer and they’d like to share that world with them/ or see if they can be just as or more successful. I’ve heard stranger stories of people stumbling upon a career.
  5. They have no idea what they are called to do, so they figure “why not write a book? Anybody can do that, right?” Hmm. I’d like to read a study about how often this happens…

What do you think? Why did you become a writer?