Writing Chose Me

23 Nov
virginia woolf, quote, writing, writer, writer's digest

Credit: Writer’s Digest

I don’t remember the first time I thought, “Hey, I’d like to write.” Some people have a specific incident they can point to as the exact moment they decided to become a writer. Truthfully, I think writing chose me.

I remember lying in the grass during summers at my grandparents’ house, staring up at the clouds and noticing them taking shape. I’d see dinosaurs, faces, hearts and bears. The idea that I may be the only one experiencing this kind of magic made me feel lonely. I desperately wanted to share what I was seeing with another person.

In junior high, our class read the book Where the Red Fern Grows together. We had to read some parts at home, and some parts were read aloud in class. The ending is quite sad, and I remember looking around the room and seeing my classmates crying. The idea that we were all sharing the same emotion, just because of a book, made a huge impact on me.

As I got older, books really began to give gave me a way to understand the world around me. I loved nonfiction, or fictional works which were (or seemed like they could be) based on true stories. I wanted to know about life, about real life. I understood that there were things happening outside of my very small world, and I wanted to know about all of them.

I’ve been dabbling in writing my whole life, but only began taking it seriously 7 years ago. I had been consuming information for so long, never putting back out there that which I was so quick to take in. On a whim (that’s a story for another time) I joined a site, and put my very first piece out there for the world to read.

I was terrified and excited at the same time. I didn’t have an expectation that anyone would actually read it, but the thought that my work was exposed like that frayed my nerves a bit. I kept writing until people started reading.

The desire for connectedness is something all humans feel. We want to know that what’s in our heads and hearts is shared by another. This isn’t something that comes easily to those of us living rather invisibly.

Is writing an introvert’s career? We live in a world which praises extroverts, and criticizes those of us who live in our own minds. I believe writing is a way for introverts to be extroverted, even if it is through our computer screens. It allows us to communicate the thoughts and ideas we’ve always had, but hadn’t been able to express before.

I’m happy that I felt that pang of loneliness while looking at the clouds all those years ago. I’m happy that my teacher made us read a book she knew would make everyone cry. I’m happy that I had so many ideas, but nowhere to express them.

Those were simply side effects of writing choosing me.

57 Responses to “Writing Chose Me”

  1. writerwendyreid 11/26/2013 at 6:24 pm #

    When I was growing up, the thought of becoming a writer never entered my mind. As I got older though, writing a novel became an important part of my unwritten bucket list. Now that I’ve written my book (2 of them actually), I don’t have the same drive to crank out story after story. There IS one more story that needs telling though…my life and all the experiences I’ve been through (both sexual and non sexual) that have made me the person I am today. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. jgarciarn 11/26/2013 at 11:27 am #

    I’ve often felt like that looking at clouds. I had that same experience.

  3. talesfromthemotherland 11/26/2013 at 10:45 am #

    Beautiful and moving… writing chose me too. I wish I’d listened and trusted it sooner. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Melanie 11/25/2013 at 9:17 am #

    “I kept writing until people started reading.”
    That’s what freaked me out, when people actually started reading the words I gave them to read. All of a sudden, I wanted to take my words and hide under the covers until everyone forgot I tried.

  5. trishnanamchoom 11/25/2013 at 4:57 am #

    Reblogged this on Memoirs of a Dreamer and commented:
    writing makes it all easier to bear… writing frees something inside me which I hold on to too tightly…

  6. trishnanamchoom 11/25/2013 at 4:55 am #

    its exactly what I feel…

  7. cdillon8769 11/24/2013 at 6:28 pm #

    I agree… I didn’t choose writing it chose me.

  8. ZakcHead 11/24/2013 at 12:18 pm #

    Very pleasing, thank you Jen. Writing chooses us in different ways, glad you shared your experience with the choosen.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 1:57 pm #

      Writing does choose us in different ways! And then it brought us all together which is kind of awesome.

      • ZakcHead 11/24/2013 at 2:58 pm #

        I agree ! Its nice to find people who enjoy writing as I ! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Psychobabble 11/24/2013 at 10:16 am #

    Interesting that you bring up the introvert/extrovert theme. As an introvert, I definitely use blogging and writing to assert myself into the world, but I am not sure you have to be either one in order to be a good writer.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 1:57 pm #

      No, definitely not. I think that both have a place in the writing world. I’ve just happened to come into contact with people who describe themselves as introverts here on WordPress more often.

      I’m happy blogging has given you an outlet!

  10. drewann2 11/24/2013 at 5:40 am #

    With this opinion I have to disagree Jen. I am an extrovert, I love to talk to people and find out what makes them tick.

    I am a storyteller. And what I enjoy about writing is to make people think about a subject in a different light. I want people to open their eyes and understand what it feels like to be on the other side of the fence.

    The other part of writing, for me, is making people laugh. I think one of the greatest compliments someone can give me is, “You’re so funny.”

    I see the humor where others thought none existed. I see the ridiculousness of it all. And I love sharing that with people, either in writing or talking. I am a very social person, and when I write I am just taking a break to reenergize.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 1:55 pm #

      I definitely don’t think that the introvert/extrovert applies across the board. I definitely know extroverts in real life who are fantastic writers.

      I think I’ve always seen it as an introverts career because extroverts aren’t usually acutely aware of what’s happening around them. They are living so loudly that they drown out the noise of the world they’re living in. I didn’t mean to imply that extroverts couldn’t, just that I’ve run across more introverts. At least here on WordPress.

      Oh, and agreed on “You’re so funny” being a HUGE compliment.

  11. Aimee 11/23/2013 at 6:53 pm #

    I love your “turns introverts into extroverts” comment! (I can see I’m not the only one) One neat side effect I’ve found from writing is that it has made me the tiniest bit more extroverted in real life too. The more I write, the more comfortable I am sharing bits and pieces of myself with others. Great post!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 1:53 pm #

      Yes! That’s a point I forgot to include. Breaking out of our shells online shows us that it may be okay to take that leap in real life. I’ve also found I’m more confident because of my writing.

  12. Elyse 11/23/2013 at 5:58 pm #

    Don’t you hate it when you read somebody’s thoughts and they are just so spot on that you can’t add anything in the comments? Or do you love it. Maybe both. This was one of those.

  13. omtatjuan 11/23/2013 at 4:05 pm #

    You are one heck of a writer.. She’s got style she’s got grace…

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 1:52 pm #


      • omtatjuan 11/24/2013 at 2:28 pm #

        Want me to get Tom Jones out of retirement? He looks like something the gato dragged in…

        • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 2:29 pm #

          Bad plastic surgery. Poor thing.

          • omtatjuan 11/24/2013 at 2:33 pm #

            Him and Engelbert Humperdink both look like death warmed over. Well have a nice Sunday.. This phone guy is working…

  14. shreejacob 11/23/2013 at 3:24 pm #

    I used to see and still do see lovely cloud creatures! and nope you aren’t the only one ๐Ÿ˜€
    Though like you said, it was a blessing that you thought you wereโ€ฆbecause, look where it’s taken you ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 1:52 pm #

      Exactly. All paths led to this, and I am really happy for that.

  15. Edee Lemonier 11/23/2013 at 1:29 pm #

    I love the part about everyone having the same reaction (crying) to a book. It’s a really neat feeling when people have such a visceral reaction to something you wrote. Keep doing it, Jen!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 1:51 pm #

      Yes, that visceral reaction. I imagine writers with best-selling books must be completely overwhelmed when seeing that thousands of people have such strong reactions to their work.

  16. samara 11/23/2013 at 1:09 pm #

    I love that you wrote “writing chose me” – I said to another blogger, not long ago – that writing chose him. It does. The desire to express oneself creatively is not an easy path, certainly not a surefire road to financial or social success. Many of us wouldn’t necessarily choose it – but it chose us. thanks.

  17. lcsoup 11/23/2013 at 12:53 pm #

    Totally relate to this post! I have just started to blog and find it to be a wonderful release for my creativity both in the art of writing and photography. I am an introvert as well ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 1:50 pm #

      HELL YEAH for introverts! So happy you’ve found your release. We all need it.

      • lcsoup 11/24/2013 at 4:25 pm #

        Thanks!! Enjoy reading your blog too. Just when I feel I’m lacking other bloggers inspire ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. List of X 11/23/2013 at 12:38 pm #

    “We live in the world which praises extroverts”… Let’s be totally honest here: we live in the world where extroverts praise extroverts.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 1:49 pm #

      Good point. I will say that I did spend many years trying to be more like that, praising what I saw as the only path to success and confidence. Obviously I had been brainwashed by Scientologists.

  19. speaker7 11/23/2013 at 12:09 pm #

    Writing chose you because you have an amazing ability to convey your thoughts. Not a lot of people have that skill.

  20. E. 11/23/2013 at 11:55 am #

    Beautiful! And yes, I think writing is mostly an introvert’s career, and that is perfectly fine with me.

  21. Chowderhead 11/23/2013 at 11:52 am #

    Although I’m not a full-blown introvert, I’m probably leaning more in that direction, and I totally dig on this statement:

    “We live in a world which praises extroverts, and criticizes those of us who live in our own minds. I believe writing is a way for introverts to be extroverted, even if it is through our computer screens.”


    • omtatjuan 11/23/2013 at 6:57 pm #

      And Oh what a writer you are! You got the “it” writers pray for… Lucky you…

      • Chowderhead 11/24/2013 at 10:02 am #

        Are you referring to me, or Jen? Because I vote for the later.

        • omtatjuan 11/24/2013 at 11:00 am #

          Why not! Both get my vote.

          • Chowderhead 11/24/2013 at 11:03 am #

            Well thanks! Oh, and don’t blow up the blog. That would be pretty irrational. I think you owe yourself a creative outlet and a place to vent. Think before you act.

          • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 1:45 pm #

            *high five*

        • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 1:44 pm #

          BOTH! This ain’t the hunger games.

          • Chowderhead 11/24/2013 at 9:46 pm #

            Speaking of Hunger Games, I’m thirsty. I think I’ll have a beer now.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 1:44 pm #

      My therapist says the difference between introversion and extroversion is where we recharge our batteries. Do we feel most alive after being around others, or when we’ve spent a bit of time alone? I am a extrovert in my work, but DEFINITELY feel best when I’m alone.

      • Chowderhead 11/24/2013 at 9:48 pm #

        According to your therapists logic, I am an Introvert. I like my people, like I like my vitamins: in small, meaningful, and manageable doses. You know what I’m saying? Like, I can tolerate about a couple hours a day of them, and then I’m all like, “Ok, see you guys! I have to go blog now…”

        • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 11:01 pm #

          I know exactly what you mean. I love this: “I like my people, like I like my vitamins: in small, meaningful, and manageable doses.” SO TRUE.

  22. 1jaded1 11/23/2013 at 11:51 am #

    Yes, to all of it. I really like your writing. Have often wondered the same thing about introversion and writing.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 1:43 pm #

      I think there is a connection there between introversion and writing. I’d like to explore it more in a future post.

  23. daniheart21 11/23/2013 at 11:50 am #

    Obviously…it chose well. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  24. Perry Block (@PerryBlock) 11/23/2013 at 11:46 am #

    Very well said. From the short time I have been reading your blog I can see that you are an excellent writer and funny too! Glad writing chose you.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 1:42 pm #

      Thanks, Perry! Once this whole NaBloPoMo debacle is over, I’ll be stopping by your blog and checking you out.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/24/2013 at 1:42 pm #

      Er, I’ll be checking out your blog. Although, I’ll check you out too. You’re not hard on the eyes.

      • Perry Block (@PerryBlock) 11/25/2013 at 9:40 pm #

        Thank you! Although if I was not hard on the eyes, I was not hard on the eyes 9 years ago. Anymore the eyes aren’t going to have such a great time unless they’re nearsighted or very non-discriminating!

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