Prompted in part by my finishing Californication via Netflix a few weeks ago, I've been thinking a lot about what makes some writers more interesting than others (ICYMI: I also wrote about whether or not you can be happy and be a writer). The main character in Californication, Hank Moody, did a lot of drugs, had a lot of sex, woke up in a lot of strange places (you get the idea). But his writing was worth reading.
There is something to be said for experiencing life before even attempting to put pen to paper. It was Chuck Palahniuk who said, "Have your adventures, make your mistakes, and choose your friends poorly-- all these make for great stories."
But then there's Emily Dickinson. And her breathtaking poetry. Dickinson is known for pretty much being a recluse, famously lowering down baskets of treats from her window for neighborhood children to enjoy and running into the house whenever adults approached the house. Dickinson wrote poems with language and experience so rich, yet she believed that to protect her creativity was "to own the Art/ within the Soul."
What do you think? Do you need life experiences to be a great writer?
I'll leave you with some Emily Dickinson: