How much of becoming a writer is due to choice?
I have known many writers who have told me that they had no choice in the matter. They HAD to write. It was what they were born to do--and without it they would suffer severe psychic or physical pains. I listen to them and wonder why I don't feel that way.
I have always been a writer. I did a little creative writing when I was young, but when I went to college, I chose to major in political science. It required that I write a lot, but for term papers and essay exams. After college I went to law school where clear, concise writing was essential. But neither college nor law school required me to do any creative writing. Research, analysis, and critical thinking were the skills that I honed.
After law school, I did a stint as a law book editor, acquiring a more discriminating eye and sharper scalpel. Then, as a practicing attorney, every day required that I do a lot of writing: correspondence, pleadings, briefs. Next I joined academia. As a professor and pre-law advisor, I have written lectures, articles, speeches, and even a book.
Apparently writing is part of my DNA--or at least a part of my everyday life. Perhaps I never feel the requirement to write simply because I am always writing something.
But writing fiction is something I have taken up relatively recently. So is fiction writing a choice or calling?
It is probably a bit of each. I love reading really good fiction. Being carried off by the written word into another reality that stays with you long after closing the book is an experience I have loved since childhood. The challenge of creating that experience for others appeals to me in ways that writing nonfiction never could.
And it is a challenge. Every page, every paragraph, every word dares me to make my writing better. I get out my scalpel and my editor's eye and try to sculpt the words in ways I never did with nonfiction. Academic writing is a skill; fiction writing is an art.
So, for me, writing fiction is a choice--a choice of how to answer my calling.
How about you? If you write, is it a choice or a calling?