I realize that, to some people I know in the English department, what I say next is going to sound like sacrelidge. I'm going to say it anyway.
Letting a writer teach you how to live is like letting an art critic teach you how to paint.
Sure, they can point out the good points and flaws in your work, but if they were actually good at doing it themselves, they'd be creating and not just standing back and criticizing/praising.
I realized on the walk home today that I've learned a whole hell of a lot more about how to live and how to be the person I want to be from people who aren't serious writers than I have from people who spend all their time with pen in hand. I learn from people who DO things. Like my friends and family.
One caveat: my friends are all writers to some degree. But of the people I am REALLY close to, only a couple are serious writers. The rest... well, they write poetry or short stories, and they're good, but that's not their career plan.
My family, on the other hand, has no serious writers, and yet I've learned from them now to be and how NOT to be.
So does this make me well-rounded? Or just doomed to be a "life critic"?