Today's thought of the day from Wordsmith.org:
You desire to know the art of living, my friend? It is contained in one phrase: make use of suffering. -Henri Frederic Amiel, philosopher and writer (1821-1881)
Here one might as well substitute 'living' for 'storytelling'. Making your characters suffer is what it's all about. 'Make use of suffering' is a good mantra to keep in our heads.
Of course, making use of our own suffering is also good fodder for the storyteller. If we can remember the emotion, physical sensation, decision-making, mind-set etc that we experience when we're under the pump (for whatever reason) it helps us infuse our work with a verisimilitude that might otherwise be lacking. Embrace pain! Harness and channel the suffering! Never was the phrase 'it's character building' more true than for the writer/storyteller.