I think that everything you do helps you to write if you’re a writer. Adversity and success both contribute largely to making you what you are. If you don’t experience either one of those you’re being deprived of something.
I think making mistakes and discovering them for yourself is of great value but to have someone else to point out your mistakes is a shortcut of the process.
And I’m a slow writer: five six hundred words is a good day. That’s the reason it took me 20 years to write those million and a half words of the Civil War.
I began the way nearly everybody I ever heard of – I began writing poetry. And I find that to be quite usual with writers their trying their hand at poetry.
I used to write sonnets and various things and moved from there into writing prose which incidentally is a lot more interesting than poetry including the rhythms of prose.