One thing a writer cannot effectively write about is something they have not experienced. You can talk to people and get their views and write a very good story, but without having experienced something it will not ever become real to the writer. The reader may have experienced it and could say whether or not it brought back memories or made them relive what they went through. But the writer will always be a sideline player who has never been in the game.
Am I saying you have to be murdered to know what it feels like to die. Well, only those who have died can say what it feels like. But every writer will say that the best stories come from experience.
I say all this because I am going through the stages of this year’s flu strain. Not sure exactly what strain it is and to my body it seems like the same as last years. But even I can tell it’s a little different than last years. My fever ran for two days and my eyeballs were achey. They weren’t achey last year. But when I went to rub them they ached like I wanted to pluck them out. Of course, at first I was upset that I got sick, but then I remembered that every experience I live through makes me a better writer.
I have climbed a mountain. Not Everest but my own Everest. I have been a few feet away from a lightning strike. I have been to NY and the top of the Empire State Building. I have been to Bethel, NY where Woodstock took place. I have been snow mobiling and have been lost in the woods. I have walked upon what looked like a ritual gathering in the woods and seen flashes out of the corner of my eye. And there are some experiences that I can write about but will not say here because they are just too personal.
So every time I get to experience something new I try to take in every sight and sound so I can write about it. And when I experience those unpleasant things, like getting food poisoning in NY, I can be thankful that those things will help me be a more effective writer.