"How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live." - Henry David Thoreau
I think the best writers are the ones who draw from a wide range of rich experiences. Kerouac, Hemingway, Plath, Hunter S. Thompson...each of these writers had a unique style and powerful voice. But would their work be the same if their lives weren't so interesting?
If we don't do interesting things, then we won't have much to write about. And I think this a paradox for any aspiring writer. If you want to become a writer, I think you should start living before you start writing.
But this is easier said than done. Most of us are naturally inclined towards comfort and laziness. We prefer the predictability of our routines rather than the uncertainty of new experiences.
It's a daunting task to try and carve out our own path. We're conditioned from a young age to follow a certain series of steps. Those that deviate from their prescribed path often face many forms of judgment and criticism.
Why do people judge those who don't conform to a typical life? I think it reflects a sense of insecurity on behalf of the one criticizing. That person was too afraid to live their own life, so they throw stones at those who march to the beat of their own drum.
So I think we need to find the balance between seeking experiences and reflecting on those experiences. If we only focus on living, then we get stuck in a state of perpetual distraction and indulgence. If we shut ourselves off from the world to focus on writing, then we probably won't have a lot to write about.