Home > Work-related, Writing and Poetry > The Point of Writer’s Experience

The Point of Writer’s Experience

I asked Lori yesterday to tell me what she would do differently if she started her writing career over today. Her answer may reflect other writers’ thoughts on the question. To paraphrase: What I’ve learned along the way was necessary to who I am as a writer today.

In response to what Lori said, I took a loooong moment to ponder my own situation. I believe I must agree with her in many ways.

As a younger woman, I didn’t have the depth of feeling that I have now, both for people and circumstances. I didn’t understand how the world worked as a whole. I couldn’t fully appreciate others’ feelings and responses as I do now. I hadn’t learned yet to take ten words and make a poem that would leave the reader with personal emotion or revelation. I couldn’t put words together in such a way as to grab the attention of the reader and hold onto them. That will probably always remain a challenge to perfect in the years to come.

Aside from those small personal excuses I think I could have written a truly adequate menu and gotten paid for it twenty years ago. Now, though, having worked as a full-time cook, back in the day, I can do more than an adequate menu. Mine can sing the praises of herbs, spices and the occasional special of the day.

I couldn’t have written anything at twenty that would have brought tears to the readers’ eyes. I’ve managed that now. I have also come to a crossroads in what I choose to write and broadened both horizons and scope so that nothing stands outside possibility. My focus was terribly limited as a younger person.

Let me ask you now. If you hadn’t gone through that horrible experience back when you were thirty, could you write with the intensity and subtlety that you do now? Could you have drawn characters that a reader would loathe on sight or want to bring home for a pet? Be honest with yourself, now. Would you have the capability to engage the reader with such verve and staying power without going through the life you’ve lived?

So, now, I’ll ask you. If you started again today in your writing career, would you do it all over again, the same way? If not, what would you leave out of your life’s experiences and why? What did they give you and what did they take away?

This question also goes along with another. Do you have regrets in your life? If you answer no to this, you get this question. If we never have regrets, can we truly know and understand those lessons which act as navigators to our behaviors? Again, we each have different answers and rightfully so.

In the end we come full circle in our thoughts. I am who I am because of my experience. To change experience is to change who I am. Perhaps for this reason, humans find it so difficult to change habits, attitudes, beliefs, and futures.

If you come to a different conclusion, or just want to ask a question of your own, feel free. There’s a little comment box at the bottom of the post.

Tomorrow I will present my interview with Meena Muro, world traveler, refugee, extraordinary individual at large. I hope to see you here to listen in. BTW, she’s a fantastic poet and imaginative but poignant writer.

Until then, a bientot,


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