In one of his interviews, when asked about his advice to aspiring writers, Junot Diaz said that it would be more valuable to go out and live in the world for three years than to write for three years.
To what extent is this true? Is life experience more valuable to a person's writing than the honing of their craft?
Obviously, a balance is necessary, but what do you guys think?
What does "living in the world" even mean?
Get a day job? Get a heroin addiction? Visit the great cities of the world? I don't understand what is supposed to occur in order for it to be considered 'living.'
How is writing not living?
Living is taking a dope trip across america in a dope van with your dope friends and encountering quirky people along the way at gas stations. Also dont forget to have a lil campfire at sunset with your oakley shades on and eat marshmallows and pretend the sun is being pinched in your fingers.
You will run out of gas too and somebody will have to help you and you'll learn how humanity still retains its humanity and how strangers are not all that strange after all. You also need to discover that the lord jesus is the only real truth after your drug addiction.
Life is a fuckin joke, actually. Write a book instead.
these are good points, and part of what I meant to ask.
I took "living in the world" to mean gaining experience by participating in the things happening in the world (outside of the house, library, or wherever a person does their writing).
a part of the paraphrased quote that I neglected to mention is that "a writer should bring news of the world."
I think getting a day job would fit into this, but only to the extent that a person is interacting with other people and/or participating in something that hasn't been written about before, or which contributes to their knowledge of the world.
I think a something like a heroin addiction would be too detrimental to a person's health and mental state to be worth writing about; although experiencing the people, places, and things that come with a heroin addiction might provide interesting material for a strong writer.
Visiting the great cities of the world might be good, in that they would help a writer gain a larger understanding of their context in the world that they live in.
I guess I'm wondering if this quote is about finding material to write about accurately / insightfully, or gaining general "life experience" - which will presumably aid their development as a writer and provide a deeper understanding of people.
sorry for being so unclear.