Minggu, 18 Januari 2009

When did we start writing?

Now have the results from the poll. The question was:

'When did you realise you wanted to write?'
A. I always have, in some way. (40%)
B. Early on - pre-teens (20%)
C. Teens (20%)
D. 20s (20%)
E. 30s
F. 40s
G. Over 50
H. I want to write?

40% of people who answered said they have always wanted to write. That's a pretty interesting result I think. To know what you want to do from such an early age must be great. Of course some of them won't have know that was a career path, but they wanted to write. Well done to you people!

Then we have the more likely people who decided in their pre-teen years, teens or 20s. I'm one of the teen people (though only just).

It would be nice to know all through life what you want to do. However I have a theory...

If you decide at an early age (let's say 12) that you want to write as a career, then you'll get the standard 'you can't do that, it's unstable, get a proper job' talk. This will mostly come from the parents and I can see why. Who knows if this kid can write? Who knows if he can make money from it?

Parents are only looking out for you. But while they're doing that, they inevitably crush you. If a 12 year old says he wants to be a writer, he'll get the dream-crushing reality. He's not old enough to stand on his own and do what he wants despite what everyone else says. That age doesn't come (depending on the person) until about 18. So that's 6 long years for the parents to convince the kid that they're right - he won't survive as a writer. Any kid that survives that deserves a medal.

So I decided at the age of 10 that I wanted to be a writer. To be honest, I think my parents thought it would go away and I'd set my sights on a safer job. I was at uni studying English, so they needn't worry too much.

If they had been the type to crush me and say 'No, you can't do that' etc, then it wouldn't have mattered. I was old enough and independent enough to tell them where to go and carry on. Yes they were a little uncomfortable with my career choice and may like me to get a 'safer' job, but I know they'll support me whatever I do. And that's what matters.

So what I'm saying is; I think the best time to decide you want to be a writer, is about 18. Then no matter what anyone says, you'll probably keep going. Another option is to decide and not tell anyone till you're 18.

But an interesting result from the poll, thanks to those who answered. There's a new question up now at the right-hand side about writing books, so be sure to check it out.

Shiny writing,

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