Have you always wanted to be a writer?

I always wanted to be a reader. That’s really all I ever wanted to do. I did try writing a novel many years ago, but the words never came flowing out of me the way I thought they should — in fact, there were no words at all — so I accepted that I had no natural talent for writing. About ten or eleven years ago I decided phooey with talent, and I started writing again. I thought it would be a good way of taking my mind off my problems. I also read books about writing, publishing, and promoting, so basically I gave myself a crash course in the whole writing spectrum.

Here are some responses from other authors about whether they’d always wanted to be writers. The comments are taken from interviews posted at Pat Bertram Introduces . . .

From an interview with Siobhán Nolan, Author of “Old Man Harry”

No, I haven’t. I didn’t even consider myself a writer until I saw my book in print. That was only a few weeks ago, but there’s something so powerful about that moment when you hold your published work in your hands for the first time and can truly say to yourself, “Wow, I did it. I’m a writer.”

From an interview with Lazarus Barnhill, Author of “The Medicine People”

When I was a child of four or five, Wednesday nights were “dollar nights” at the Riverside Drive In: a whole car load of people could see the movie for a buck. My parents and sister would sit in the front seat and I’d sit in the back. Periodically during the show, I would say what the character on the screen was about to say. Eventually my parents got really tired of that and forbade it. But something took root in me even back then. As an elementary school child I would constantly start stories that ended up being only a page or two long — and made me feel like a failure. When I was in sixth grade I lay awake one night and created a story that involved every child in my homeroom class. With the blessing of Miss Roach (and, no, I did not make up that name), I laboriously wrote the story down — probably thirty-five or forty pages — and was given permission on the last day of school to read it to the class. With about five pages left (I was just about to be machine gunned by the villains, having recovered the money they stole from the bank), the principal came in and said that we were free to go to the playground or to stay inside. The students immediately bolted — not one even asking how the story ended. I decided then to write the sort of stories that people would not be able to put down . . . and I’m still working on that.

From an interview with J. P. Lane, Author of “The Tangled Web”

I’ve been a writer by profession most of my adult life, but there wasn’t any point when I thought I wanted to be a writer. I just fell into writing quite by chance – just the way The Tangled Web came about – by chance. There was no thought of wanting to write a book. One day, I sat down and started writing and about a year later, there was a novel on my computer. Mind you, I was an advertising and marketing writer and I also had articles published in major Florida publications, so I wasn’t exactly green when I ventured into the world of fiction. Advertising writing requires tremendous discipline, so I was already reasonably equipped to be an author.

What about you? Have you always wanted to be a writer? Or, like me, have you always wanted to be a reader?

(If you’d like me to interview you, please check out my author questionnaire http://patbertram.wordpress.com/author-questionnaire/ and follow the instruction.)


Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

5 Responses to “Have you always wanted to be a writer?”

  1. rami ungar the writer Says:

    I’m glad you took up writing Pat. Otherwise I’d never have met you. And as for when I started writing, I probably started seriously writing when I was ten and I set my dreams on being a novelist. I’d written before then, but from 5 to 10 you want to be everything, particularly a mad chemist and a rock star.

  2. ROD MARSDEN Says:

    Pat, being a reader is always a good start. Probably from kindergarten onwards I have wanted to be a writer. I tend to be stubborn about some things. Maybe the yen hit me when I was being struck over the knuckles by this teacher for using my left hand to write with instead of my right hand. I was struck with a ruler and, for a five year old, it was torture. This went on for weeks before I told my parents what was going on.

    I thought at the time it must be normal school practice and I really was a bad boy for not using my clumsy right hand. I never did learn to write successfully with my right hand no matter how much my knuckles on my left hand swelled up from abuse but I wanted to show that teacher I could still be a very good writer.

    Over the years I have discovered that some of the best artists and inkers were and probably still are leftys like me. Errol Flynn was a lefty, a hollywood star and he was born in Australia. In terms of family, I had an uncle who worked in glass. He could and did design the most marvelous glass scultures for public buildings such as hospitals. As it turned out, he was a lefty.

  3. Malcolm R. Campbell Says:

    After all those great books, you can’t go around saying fooey on talent!

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Talent is something you can learn. Who knew?

      Supposedly, there are two kinds of talent, the wonderkind kind where someone is born with a talent, and the latterly-learned kind. The second group are the ones who become overnight successes after working at the craft for twenty years.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Forgot to thank you for calling my books great. Thank you!

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