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Becoming More Observant

By: Angelique Caffrey - Updated: 19 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Becoming More Observant

It's unfortunate - as we age, we innately learn to block out stimuli that might prevent us from efficiently getting from point "A" to point "B". Though that attitude is helpful in ensuring that we don't continuously get side-tracked, it also means that we stop noticing the "little things".

To write at your creative best, you'll need to readjust your mindset and begin allowing your brain to acknowledge and register the details you've been blocking out. At first, doing so might seem difficult, but with a little practice, a whole new world of inspiration will reveal itself.

Here are some terrific techniques and activities to get you started so you can begin to answer the question, "What have you been missing?"


For five minutes a day, become quiet. Don't talk, don't move, and don't work. Just sit and listen. Force yourself to really hear the world around you. Become aware of the sounds you naturally ignore, like the wind chimes of your next door neighbor or the low hum of your refrigerator. You'll be amazed at all the noises you've been missing. This exercise will help you get in touch with your innovative side by opening your eyes (via your ears!)


As you did with the "Listen" exercise, pick a short amount of time and allow yourself to observe something that's happening in front of you. It's no secret that many writers like to head to the park or the shopping centre so they can watch people. Alternatively, other authors prefer to observe nature in action and head into the hills to get closer to flora and fauna. Record what you see, smell, and hear during your observation adventure. You'll be shocked at how alive something as simple as a trickling stream can be!


If you're known as being a "home body" or "couch potato", you can boost your observation skills by just taking a stroll around your neighborhood. Remember - you cannot create in a vacuum. Even if your imagination is stellar, you'll still need constant stimuli and material to keep you at your best. By giving your body some much-needed oxygen and making your heart and muscles work a little harder than normal, you'll wind up refreshed and with a renewed sense of what's surrounding you.


When was the last time you actually allowed yourself to do something childlike or playful? As we get older, we all tend to distance ourselves from frolicking on a swing set or enjoying a batch of "naughty" sweet treats. This attitude is detrimental to you as a creative writer, because the ability to see the world through the eyes of a youngster can open a plethora of doors. Make the opportunity to "play", even if it's just with markers or clay. Observe how it feels to be a kid again, and get in touch with a "you" that's been buried under decades of adult concerns.

It's a tad bit ironic that through these deliberate and practiced techniques, you can loosen yourself up and open your heart to becoming a better observer and, consequently, a more appealing and accomplished creative writer.

      So… what have you been missing?

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