When I began writing as a child, I thought I didn't have anything to write about. So like any beginning writer, I imitated authors I admired. As I read more, my pantheon of authors grew. I learned more about writing craft, technique, and skill.
When I was in college, I began honing in my skills. As an English major, I read widely. By reading literature from the past. I learned a lot about the world. Authors write about the human condition no matter what century they live in. The frailties of human nature haven't changed.
I studied Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Henry James, Marcel Proust, Albert Camus, George Eliot, George Sand,Theodore Dreiser, William Shakespeare, Geoffrey Chaucer, Henry Fielding, Gunter Grasse, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, Upton Sinclair Leo Tolstoy, Nikolai Gogol, Franz Kafka, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Alexander Dumas, Joseph Conrad, Herman Melville. I could fill whole pages with the authors I studied.
I learned a lot about the world by reading, more than I could have learned from being out in the world. There is wisdom in books that can't be measured It's the wisdom of the ages.