I just came across Haruki Murakami’s The Moment I Became a Novelist. It’s short article and tells a story when Murakami went to see a baseball match in 1978 and had an epiphany:
I think Hiroshima’s starting pitcher that day was Yoshiro Sotokoba. Yakult countered with Takeshi Yasuda. In the bottom of the first inning, Hilton slammed Sotokoba’s first pitch into left field for a clean double. The satisfying crack when the bat met the ball resounded throughout Jingu Stadium. Scattered applause rose around me. In that instant, for no reason and on no grounds whatsoever, the thought suddenly struck me: I think I can write a novel.
This sounds almost religious in nature, like a deity somehow helped him find his calling. Did he really not consider writing before that? Does his memory fail him, is this a memory construct that makes for a good story but doesn’t hint at what really happened? I’ve never experienced anything like this myself.
I often tell people, when asked about why I do what I do, that I knew I wanted to be a software developer at the age of 10. But it wasn’t a sudden realisation. It came to me after getting an Amiga 500, playing games and then realising I could make my own games. I vividly remember a summer trip to my aunt’s place in Norway where I brought a book on BASIC and devoured a tutorial on how to make a hotel booking system. I was utterly enthralled and thought “maybe one day I can make hotel booking systems for a living”. From then on there was little doubt I would do this.
Except of course when I turned 13 and got into playing rock music on my guitar. I spent the next 7 years feeling lost, because I really wanted to be a musician but the career opportunities seemed unfeasible. It wasn’t until after a brief stint as a data entry clerk in the UK that I came to the conclusion that I needed to get my shit together and go to uni. So I studied Computer Science and here I am at the ripe age of 35 with 10 years of software development experience, thinking I always knew I wanted to do this. But I didn’t, and writing this made me realise that.