Listening 3: An Important Skill For Writers

We listen to obtain information, understand, to learn, and for our own enjoyment.

Being an active listener in a conversation can immensely improve your writing skills. When you engage with another person, they have knowledge, insight, and experience into things you may not know anything about. One conversation can trigger ideas for your own writing, help you solve problems with your writing dilemmas, and gather knowledge to make your writing more interesting.

Ideas can come from anyone and everywhere. The best way to be inspired and trigger your writing is to go out and experience the world, talk with people, and listen to what they have to say. Even listening to the news can give you a ton of writing opportunities. Just go out into the world and LISTEN to what’s being said out there. Anything that triggers your “aha!” or emotionally moves you or gets you excited, that’s your focus. From there, think about how you can incorporate it into your writing.

Listening Can Help Build Characters, Dialogue And Backstory

Eavesdropping is generally frowned upon, but it can be a source of many ideas for writers. I am not recommending that you go snooping about, but I do recommend that you listen to those conversations or conflicts that are very public and that you cannot help but overhear. So do…

To Be A Good Journalist Or Interviewer You Need To Hone Your Listening Skills

The journalist must be an avid and discerning reader and a practicing writer. But those are not the only skills necessary to become a competent, if not exceptional, journalist. For those who wish to enter the profession, the art of active observation and keen listening are also essential.
  •  ‘Smile and nod at your speaker and genuinely focus on what they are saying.’
  • ‘Listen to body cues, not just words.’
  • ‘Repeat the occasional phrase to reassure the speaker you are attending to their words, and empathize mildly, or clarify, when either task is required.’
  • ‘Develop the ability to probe into what a speaker is saying to get to some underlying information that has remained unsaid’
  •  ‘Listen instructively – interjecting comments to validate the speaker’s remarks; and the good listener understands the value of silence and pregnant pauses – and how to use both to their advantage without abusing the situation.’

Audiobooks Can Bring Authors’ Work To Life, and Listening To Other Authors Can Inspire Authors’ work

Hannah Mary McKinnon, makes some good points about authors and audiobooks…

  • ‘Authors don’t give their entire cast the same nationality, accent or speech peculiarities, yet listening to a narrator perform all the different parts makes this more obvious by far. Not only is it highly entertaining in a jaw-dropping “how on earth do they manage that” way, it also generates ideas for current or future characters, making them a more diverse, interesting and engaging bunch for the reader—or, case in point, the listener. ‘
  • ‘I’m sure we can all agree reading broadens your mind and vocabulary, but how to be sure you’re using—or pronouncing—those unfamiliar words properly? Listening can make all the difference.’
  • ‘I read my work out loud during the editing stages, and always while going over the last two or three passes. It helps eliminate repetition, improves flow and dialogue, and is a great quality-check for the novel’s overall cadence. However, it doesn’t eliminate every blind spot. While listening to my second novel, The NeighborsI noticed how often my characters clear their throats (ahem, too often), something I’m acutely aware of now, and therefore rarely use.’
  • ‘I believe reading is essential to being an author, but I sit for hours when working on my novels, and felt guilty about sitting even more when reading for pleasure. The solution? Audiobooks! I listen while driving, cooking, and at the gym.’

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