- Francoise Sagan
Action and reflection, the need to experience and the need to consider - however you put it, these two work best in tandem, each one giving greater depth and meaning to the other.
How has writing made you live better? Has it made you more aware of your emotions and experiences, better able to see them in the larger picture of your life and the world around you?
How have your experiences of life made you a better writer? Is there one experience in particular that has changed or informed you as a writer?
For both of these, I would have to look at my car accident and subsequent PTSD. Being a writer helped me through that experience, helped me to give it some meaning. Experiencing it made me a better writer, with a deeper understanding of people/characters in crisis and a commitment to writing about topics that would be meaningful to readers. Writing a memoir undoubtedly framed that experience, giving it purpose and a conclusion, albeit after the fact. It also caused a huge change for me as a writer, in genre and writing style. Change is growth.
Writing, or reflecting, helps us to live better - to learn and benefit from our experiences. But without those experiences, without living fully in the moment, our writing is dry and dull and without passion or life.
So why, as writers, do we feel so guilty when we're out there living instead of writing? Why do we also feel guilty when we tell friends or family that we can't do something because we need time to write? I'd like to say it's all about balance, but darnitall, there is no balance - there's just this crazy, surprising and messy thing called life.