Hello, SE’ers! This is Jan Sikes, and I cannot tell you how thrilled I am to post my first blog on this site. It is truly an honor to join such a diverse and talented group of writers. Today I want to talk about a topic that I’ve had on my mind a lot lately as I watch my granddaughter grow and develop a talent.
CAN THE WRITING GENE BE HEREDITARY?
This is a question I have pondered, as I watch my nine-year-old granddaughter craft stories. She has quite the imagination and can sit down and churn out a short story in no time. Her latest was about a nine-year-old girl named Cleo, who discovers that she is a direct descendant of Cleopatra. The little girl, Cleo, also finds that she has secret powers. I was amazed when I read it. Needless to say, it is in dire need of editing, but the story idea is there and it flows.
So it got me thinking about hereditary things. Neither of my daughters has ever shown any leanings toward creative writing. But then I know it is common for some traits to skip a generation.
Experts say mental illness, Alzheimers, alcoholism, diabetes, and many other ailments can be passed down through our DNA. So why, then, couldn’t the creative gene be passed the same way?
According to John Paul Garrison, PsyD, a clinical and forensic psychologist in Roswell, Georgia, research points to personality traits and variables tied to genetics. “Being artistic or creative is associated with the personality trait of being open to experiences,” Garrison says. “Some research suggests that there are neurobiological foundations for creative individuals. Based on all available information, it is very likely that genetic influences shape the capacity for creativity –– it’s a complicated way of saying that creativity and artistic interests can almost certainly be inherited.”
In my case, I have an older sister who is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author. And now, here I am crafting stories too. But where did we get our writing gene?
Our mom wasn’t a storyteller, although she did love to read. Our dad had only a third-grade education. He loved making up rhymes and jingles. Maybe he could have been a storyteller, given a chance. So, it might be safe to assume that his education and environment stifled him. An aunt on my mother’s side of the family wrote songs. I didn’t know this until after she’d passed away, although apparently in her younger days, she won a songwriting contest. So perhaps my sister and I inherited the writing gene in bits and pieces from both sides of the family tree.
Or, could it be that because we read so many books growing up, it was a natural next step to write? That certainly could have played a big part. We both devoured books during our formative years.
As science gets more sophisticated and advanced, perhaps they’ll figure it out. We do know that environment plays a big part in any child’s development. But genetics is the only thing that explains why children from the same household have different skill sets. One child might be an excellent artist while another can’t draw a stick figure (that would be me, by the way).
It is fascinating, and I constantly encourage my little Sydney to pursue storytelling because she is good at it. I hope that maybe my writing endeavors will encourage her to keep writing and developing her natural skill.
What do you think? Can the writing gene be passed down through the DNA? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this theory!