As writers we have a keen eye for the subtle things. We may notice the reaching hand that goes unheld as a busy mom leads her small child into store; the suited man who misses his step coming off the curb and breaks into a faster stride as a way to recover.
Here are some tips to utilize those observations for your writing:
- Take notes! Don’t rely on your memory. Keep small notecards or notebooks in your car, your desk, purse or bag and your nightstand.
- Take pictures! OK, don’t take pics of unsuspecting victims that may end up on YouTube. I’m talking about unusual sightings in nature while on a walk, or an intriguing storefront or billboard. It may be the start of a short story or news article.
- Take notice of people: for an entire day, observe the overall attitude of the people you see. Are they friendly? Rushed? Bitter? Is there a story in there somewhere? The frazzled mom in the checkout line can be a good main character, or inspire some research on your part for a “shopping with kids” article.
- Reread your journal entries: are there reoccurring themes there? Maybe one is worth conducting some deeper thought. Does the topic of your son being bullied keep popping up? Dig deeper. Maybe the fight you had with your sister is in every other entry. Write aobut relationships or forgiveness.
- Never stop. Observation is second nature to us writers – use it and use it daily!