Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Why Do Certain People Become Writers?

Writing, as a devoted hobby or a professional activity, demands a few qualities most people use but not in the concentrated way a writer does.

In fact, concentration itself is a critical quality for writing; whether it’s applied for many sequential short sessions, or persisted in for long periods, or engaged in with a mixed pattern of short and long durations.

While concentrating on a writing task, most writers must also allow for a process that can interrupt the flow of activity. What comes as a flash of inspiration and must be incorporated in the project (sometimes demanding significant restructuring) often arrives because of the habit of devoted concentration on the task—the focus on the writing seems to call forth the new perspective or material—using the conscious mind intently triggers the unconscious to supply its treasures

Certainly, various techniques can be learned that can facilitate the art of writing but most of the Greats have counseled ample reading and regular writing as the best education.

So, a first attempt at answering the question, why do certain people become writers?, could be that certain people find themselves able to concentrate while allowing a flow of intuition to enter the work.

But this is only a how-do-they-do-it explanation—“Why? Because they know How.”

There must be a Why that’s bigger than that

Perhaps a glance at the word origins of “write” might shed a bit of light: carve, scratch, cut, paint.

To explore these word origins, I’m going to borrow some words from a post I wrote back in January, Really, No *Really*, What The Heck Is Writing?:

“Pardon me while a let the poetic side of my personality take control for a minute:

“Authors can sometimes be said to carve a place for themselves in our culture.

“There are also many writers barely scratching out a living.

“Many wish they could cut a swath of recognition through the crowd of other writers.

“And, our favorite writers are those who paint images in our minds with their words.

“Anyone who ranks high on tests of left-brained activity is probably cringing at such a poor example of the application of word roots to an understanding of the meaning of writing.

“You right-brained folks are probably creating other, equally-poetic examples :-)

To answer the title question, Why Do Certain People Become Writers?, may only need your adding to the comments on this post with your personal reasons for writing (if you’re the kind of person who pursues the art); though, reading the whole former post, Really, No *Really*, What The Heck Is Writing?, may lead to an answer

Also, some concentration on the concepts of carving, scratching, cutting, and painting, mixed with a few intuitive flashes, might lead you to an answer.

However you answer the question, I hope you’ll share it in the comments
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24 responses to “Why Do Certain People Become Writers?

  1. cmmarcum June 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm

    Writing is an inner voice that won’t be silent. It’s an echo just beneath every heartbeat. It’s a calling, a blessing, a curse, a joy and a burden. It’s love. It’s magic. It’s a possession of one’s soul by mysterious spirits, and it can not be logically explained.


  2. Alexander M Zoltai June 15, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Wow, C. M. !!

    Thank for gracing these comments with such a beautiful “Why”………


  3. Selena June 15, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    The same thing that drives me to write, also drives me to dig in the dirt, and Dr. Estes says it best:
    “I hope you will go out
    and let stories happen to you…
    and that you will work them,
    water them
    with your blood,
    your tears
    and your laughter…
    till they bloom…
    till you yourself
    burst into bloom.”


  4. Alexander M Zoltai June 15, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Aha, you found Estes :-)

    If you haven’t yet read her, Women Who Run With The Wolves, you “Should

    Dirt >> Ground >> Unconscious Mind ………


  5. Simone Benedict June 15, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    At this time in my life I don’t have a lot of time to lucubrate, but it’s eventuallly required for serious writing. The question I have after reading your post is are writers’ brains wired differently or do they train their brains over time? Hmmm.


  6. Selena June 15, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    I read it many years ago, and still have my old copy. Thanks for reminding me, Alexander. You’ll never know how the right words at the right time can change a world.


  7. Alexander M Zoltai June 15, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    I’d tend to go with pre-wired…


  8. Alexander M Zoltai June 15, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    You said: “You’ll never know how the right words at the right time can change a world.”; and, though I will possibly never know how they can change your world, I definitely know how they’ve changed mine :-)


  9. Selena June 16, 2011 at 3:20 am

    You know the feeling that comes the instant the skeleton key turns the tumbler and the lock is released?


  10. Alexander M Zoltai June 16, 2011 at 3:41 am


    Not just a key but a “skeleton” key releasing the “lock”

    I love the symbolism.


  11. Sarah G July 11, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Two thoughts:
    1) Because if they didn’t write, they’d go crazy.
    2) Because they love reading so much, they can’t imagine a nobler pursuit for themselves than writing.

    Both are true for me.


  12. Alexander M Zoltai July 11, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Thanks for the response, Sarah!

    Great to see you on the blog, too :-)


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  19. ghostbusterbev November 4, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    Writers are “called” to write…it isn’t an option, it is a must. We have a natural curiosity about the world we live in and the people who inhabit it, hence we love to “experience” life and all its mysteries and miracles. Great fodder for stories!


  20. Alexander M Zoltai November 4, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Very Penetrative comment, Beverley — Thank You


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  22. tribalmysticstories November 19, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Write = Love of doing it. Thanks Alex.


  23. Alexander M Zoltai November 19, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    You are *Very* Welcome :-)

    Liked by 1 person

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