Hey—you people wrote a blog post for me!!! (so thank you to everyone who took my little poll!)
Thank you so much for the great response yesterday! I may not be Nathan, or even Moonrat, with thousands of followers, but as a statistician, I know even THEY don't get random samples, so this is all for fun, anyway. Besides, the data is SHOCKINGINLY uniform.
Thirteen people who actually voted. I can add my own information, but it isn't terribly different.
Among writers, the vast majority had your inklings in grade school, and the grand OUTLIER was 9th grade. All of us knew well before we were choosing college majors that we fantasized about writing books.
We are more split on when we started writing 'seriously'. I am wondering a little if this has to do with the kind of writing we do. I personally have a journalism degree, but I never wanted to be a reporter, so I don't consider this a 'writing seriously' decision—I chose it as a route to go into advertising—advertising which was a branch of marketing and used psychology. I've been shier than to want to TALK TO PEOPLE *gasp *. I tried to write a novel at 26, but only got halfway through, as it was written in the summer between my two years of grad school, and when school started again, I had to get back to my obligations...
Obligations. That was part of it. Because I didn't want to be a reporter, and because of having a family, there wasn't TIME to write for fun until my kids were a little older. I started writing again when I gave up reading with them—freed up a fair amount of time.
So I suspect that age we started writing at seriously depends on whether we pursued it immediately, or were limited in what we wanted to write to things we KNEW would not pay for a while and so had to wait until we could make some time.
Back to the Myers-Briggs
This is another thing I took to the ABNA. You may remember a month or so ago when I shared Moonrats post and did a little analysis, noting that a huge majority of writers falls into the least (INFJ) and third least (INTJ) (I might have those backward) 'types'. The people over at ABNA largely fell in these, also.
Now there types aren't COMPLETELY static over time. A person who undergoes some large event can shift, but typically only a letter, unless their score was borderline to begin with. I went from being a thinker to a feeler somewhere during the years I became a mom (or possibly it was the effort of restraining myself from killing my husband)--a few big hardships, a huge role change... SOMETHING changed my processing.
So... What's the Answer?
Born or Made? I have to fall down where I always do in the field of psychology, when there is a nature versus nurture controversy. I come in with a resounding YES.
Love of Language
Love of CHARACTER
Interest in the 'yarn'
I'm sure this isn't exhaustive, but it's not a bad list for 6am. These all are things you can work on a little. I personally only had minor interest in the 'yarn' until I started making them myself, and creativity is something I think I still struggle with. But those other things I have in spades.
Mastery of the language
Practice, practice, practice
Now those are things, that depending on ones circumstances, might not be nurtured, or might only be nurtured accidentally. I think our interest makes us attend to them, though honestly, I wasn't a real reader until I was in Jr. High, and have ALWAYS read slow (I read every word you see—that language lover can't skim—not worth reading if you do that.)
At ABNA, our major argument has been whether ANYONE can write, and frankly, I think the answer is NO. But there is a caveat: I don't think everyone WANTS to and that anyone DRIVEN to write, probably CAN. They probably have enough of those inborn traits necessary, or they wouldn't be driven to write at all. (they may say they want to, but they aren't entirely serious.)
That's my story and I'm sticking with it.