A writer needs three things: experience, observation, imagination.
~~ William Faulkner
I’ve used this quote as a mantra of sorts for nearly two decades, but find the statements Faulkner made just before and after these eight words equally important. He’d been asked how much of his writing was based on personal experience by Paris Review writer Jean Stein. (Read the interview.)
“I can’t say,” he responds, “I never counted up. Because ‘how much’ is not important.” After listing the easy-to-quote “experience, observation, and imagination,” he completes the thought:
A writer needs three things: experience, observation, imagination—any two of which, at times any one of which—can supply the lack of the others.
Those additional 17 words form my foundation as writer and editor.
Because I rely on observation and imagination as much as experience, I consider myself a generalist. I don’t necessarily specialize in one or two subject areas but use my research and interviewing skills to write friendly, informative pieces for a variety of audiences. I love to learn and have written everything from technical documentation, price proposals, and white papers to newsletter articles, devotionals, personal profiles, and essays for both regional and national publications.
- Check out some of my favorite published pieces.
I’d love to meet you!
- What do you like to read? Follow me on Goodreads so we can compare lists and reviews. Check out my My Karna Bookshelf to see what books have influenced my adult life.
- What suggestions do you have about the crafts of writing and editing? Connect with me on Twitter so we can share tips and resources with each other.