I tend to be the sort of writer who responds to the ubiquitous advice to “write what you know” with “yes, but”. Mostly because a lot of people use it a bit too literally, and I like writing science fiction and fantasy. But despite the caveats, it is good advice. I would find it difficult at best to write a story focusing on the specific and personal experience of being a parent, and setting it in a Colorado town all but identical to the one I live in now wouldn’t really help. But on the same token, I could write a story set in the strangest and most far flung world I can imagine, dealing with themes of trust and friendship, and I think it could be a really good story.
So maybe that’s why, when something happens and I find myself in a situation that is… less than ideal, I’ve comforted myself more than once with the thought that I can channel the experience into some future story. Bed bugs in a cheap hotel? I bet there’s some kind of pest on that distant, crumbling space station. Made a mistake at work and can’t stop beating myself up about it? Maybe if I can get a character to work through their own mistakes I can borrow some of the tricks that worked for them. If I do it right, it should all help my writing be that much better. And that means even the hard things in life just give me a bigger pool of experience to draw from.