He knew that he was going to be a writer from a very early age. When he was a child, he entertained other ideas, sure, like being an astronaut, but the older he got, the more sure he was that he would write for a living. In school, he met others who had the same idea. Some experienced writers might have agreed and identified with the belief he saw in others that writing early and writing often and working on apparent masterpieces was the way to go. Jake was never convinced. He never believed that a story could be forced out of a writer. He was sure that he'd struck on his masterpiece when he was eighteen. But he didn't start writing it then, and ten years later, still hadn't.
The more schooling he experienced, the more students, and teachers, he met who believed the same things, who believed any writing was important writing, that writing prompts meant something other than exercises (and even then, he wasn't sure exercises meant all that much to anyone but the writer, because he'd been doing that all his life, creating stories, creating worlds to amuse himself) the more he wondered just what writing meant to them. To him, it was a way of life. To them...he could only assume that they believed writing was a way to distinguish themselves. It could very well be that for some, that was true and it led to real success. But to him, writing was something more, and he saw that idea reflected in all the books he loved, the books he was asked to read in school, and the many he read for himself.
The problem was, very few people actively agreed with him. Very few people felt it was worth championing that belief. There was very little money and too many writers submitting material for someone like Jake to stand out, especially with ideas that would not stand out as bestseller material. The more he tried to make a living as a writer, the more he realized that for most people, writing really wasn't about ideas at all, it was about being a success in just another career, looking out for oneself, taking the easiest way out possible.
He had no idea how to survive on skills he wasn't sure he had. He had always been sure of writing, of ideas, of the stories he told himself, and eventually found a way to tell others. He wrote stories, all the time, writing the ideas that came to him, that helped him make sense of the world, and he believed might help others do the same. In the meantime, before he was allowed to make a living with these ideas, these stories, Jake became lost.
That was how he ended up there, how he observed as a man named Gabriel Bell slowly sacrificed everything he had for an intangible ideal, something greater than a status quo, even one that might in some sense be interpreted as comfortable even for those who struggled like him. He found a cause to believe in. He decided to write about it.