"Writers don't write from experience, though many are hesitant to admit that they don't. I want to be clear about this. If you wrote from experience, you'd get maybe one book, maybe three poems. Writers write from empathy."
Writers don't experience everything they write about. They have to be able to walk in the shoes of others, to be able to see through the eyes of others. If writers could only write about what they have experienced, we would not have fantasy, science fiction or romance novels. Male writers could not write about the experiences of females; nor could female writers write about the experiences of males. Writers would not be able to write about people from other cultures.
All creative leaders need empathy. They need to be able to understand where other people are coming from. They need to be able to experience the world through the eyes of others. No one is an island.
Here is an interview with Nikki Giovanni.