The title might be misleading. When I say, write with experience, I don’t mean keep on writing until you consider yourself a professional writer, be it from someone buying your work or getting published. What I mean is…. writing with personal experience.
For example, in one of my novels, I have a character who is absolutely terrified of horses. Because of that, he’s never learned how to ride. If he wanted to get to Point B from Point A, he walked or rode on carriages. But he never, ever rode.
There’s a scene where a lady love of his tries to teach him, instructing him on the proper way to ride, from holding himself steady to meet the horse as it went up and down, from the way to clench his legs to hold the sides of the horse, and so forth. I tried to imagine how he’d feel as a first time rider.
Then I had the opportunity myself. I finally had the chance to ride a horse a few years ago. I always wanted to, just never had the opportunity until it was given to me as a gift. I was thrilled.
The experience was more than I imagined. It was fun, it was a heady experience, I was far, far off the ground than I expected and… it hurt like heck. I actually had to have help to dismount, my thighs were burning! I was shaky, had difficulty staying upright, and my legs were just unable to walk properly.
I was like that for a few hours. But now I could honestly say how that character’s experience was going to be. I had a personal experience to draw on to describe just what it felt like. This is where I’d encourage people to try something, even once, just to get a gist of what it’s like. (Of course, when it comes to certain illegal things… use your common sense. If it’s illegal, don’t do it.)
In fact, due to my current pregnancy, I now have another thing to draw on for when my female characters become with child. I can describe certain symptoms, feelings, with accuracy. The same goes for a number of personal experiences.
I encourage writers to draw on their personal experience, whether it’s painful or joyful. We must never shy from sharing a painful experience because someone just might empathize with the scenario at hand. One must never underestimate the power of the written word; it can touch lives and change them for the better. Open doors to new understanding that a person never imagined.
(Yes, I can honestly say that I’ve tried firing a gun, a rifle, wielded a sword, rode a horse, tried smoking, tried drinking genuine honeyed mead, watched a joust, watched a duel, went camping, climbed a rock wall, went fishing…. I’m sure there’s more. But imagine the dual benefit! I get to enrich my life and write with personal accuracy!)
Try it. Write from your personal experience. It’d feel so much more real for your readers, and that should always be the aim of any writer: to make your stories seem real as life.