Err, sort of . . .
Frankly, this quote frightens me with the prospect that there are people out there who are so boring that they’d only be able to write one book about the life they’ve lived. Couldn’t they at least turn it into a trilogy?
When we’re advised to “write from experience,” we aren’t intended to compose a series of personal anecdotes with stand-in characters for all the people we know. It’s more that if you’ve never been in love, then you probably aren’t going to make a convincing romance author.
Likewise, if you know what it feels like to be betrayed, then you can write a beautiful and heart wrenching portrayal of betrayal.
You never really know how you’re going to react to something until it’s actually happening.
Writers can take their secret thoughts and emotions — the deep and sometimes scary things that are never shared out loud — and transpose them onto different situations and characters. Maybe you’ve never been held hostage at gunpoint, but there was a time when you felt terrified and helpless, and that’s all the foundation you need to write that story.