Why Do Writers Make Such Great Listeners

Picture courtesy of http://www.success.com

Let’s start at the very beginning. What are the things a great listener is doing differently than “normal” listeners?

One of the things is the focus. It seems many people are concentrated on what they will say, they forget to listen to what the other person says. Thinking during listening isn’t very helpful. Writers know how to focus. They know how to concentrate on the most important things, and they recognize a story and its thread.

But what do great listeners differently? They keep their mouth shut, they listen without judging, their entire body language is turned to the speaker, their facial expression is interested and open, only to name a few. Of course, now the important part starts, listening and taking in. By asking questions in our own words, to make sure we are interpreting the speaker’s words correctly, we are showing we absorbed the given information. Additionally, there’s one more thing: consciously memorizing.

Let’s say: we are listening to someone who tells us a story and we’d like to repeat it at some other occasion, we will memorize it. If the speaker is our friend and entrusts us with a problem or secret and asks for help and support, we will memorize it to give it some thought and come back later with a solution.

“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” Ernest Hemingway

I think it’s significant these words were spoken by a writer.

I’ve always been a very helpful person. It came naturally to me to listen to my friends’ problems, support them, help them. I was trained in memorizing what bugged them to be of the most effective help I could be. The best listener cares.

But being a writer taught me to listen to more. I’m taking in as much sound and noise as all the other people around me. But instead of blanking out some of the ‘noise’ I start concentrating on it. Occasionally I ‘threw a look’ over to the speaker who waved me over and included me into the story as an additional listener. And that’s what I do. I listen, I take in, I separate ‘nonsense’ from ‘maybe useful’ and I memorize.

I’m not only talking about ‘conversations,’ or ‘secrets’ I pick up. I’m as well listening to descriptions, of people, of landscapes, of personalities, even of cars. I never know when it comes in handy. Imagine one of my characters driving in some sports car; I might be using the description I heard of how the driving feels like.

I’m listening because I’m interested. I’m interested in people; I’m interested in helping. I will never use what I hear to expose someone. Not all experiences I hear are of interest to me. I’m writing fantasy and paranormal romance. Maybe an author of love stories or thrillers can use more of what he listens to. You might tell us below in the comments.

Sometimes Empaths can experience one of the ‘hard sides’ of listening. The emotional toll it takes on them. I was going through that before. Occasionally it still happens to me, even though with age I became more and more able to shield myself from that painful side effect of being helpful. So, good listeners might be aware that listening isn’t always about hearing secrets, problems, good stories or jokes. Sometimes listening needs guts!

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” Winston Churchill

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Weird Side Of Famous Writers – by Jack Milgram

 

How well do you know your favorite writers?

Have you checked out their biographies, or does your knowledge end at the list of books they’ve written?

Whatever the case may be, some writers have a side that very few people even know about. And it’s a pretty weird side. We’re talking about the strange habits and other quirks that some of the most famous writers have.

And we want to uncover some of them in our infographic. We’ve identified 20 famous authors who are known to have strange habits. This infographic clearly shows that sometimes it’s not only talent and outstanding work that can make people talk about writers.
Make sure to check out the infographic and you’ll surely learn something new about the listed authors you never knew before.

 

Author’s biography

I have been interested in writing since I made the acquaintance of pen and paper. My first letters were really funny, and my mom still keeps them as mementoes. However, as soon as I learned how to write words, I started forming them into sentences. And do you know what my first sentence said? “I love my words”. It was written so ineptly that it looked more like “I love my weird”. When I was younger and played in a band I also started writing poems, but to be honest, prose is much easier for me and I’m doing much better focusing on exactly that. I started writing, but often left unfinished, many of my essays at school, as well as my researches at college, where I studied psychology and education. I started freelance writing when I was a student. I have never found sitting in an office appealing, and a world traveler is actually my true alter-ego. That is why freelancing was my career solution. And now, here you are, reading my tips and guidance for my favorite occupation while I am actually doing what I love all over the world.

Contact Jack Milgram

Blog:  CW blog

Email: milgram.jack@yahoo.com

Twitter: @Jack__Milgram

Facebook: Jack.Milgram

Writers and their cats

Lately I found out that quite a few of the most famous authors in the world have or had cats. Some used them as companions, others as inspiration.

 

Among them was Ernest Hemingway, who said about cats: “A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.”

 

Joyce Carol Oates, award-winning novelist and Pulitzer price nominee says about cats: “I write so much because my cat sits on my lap. She purrs so I don’t want to get up. She’s so much more calming than my husband.”
Mark Twain used to say about cats: “When a man loves cats, I am his friend and comrade, without further introduction.” And “I simply can’t resist a cat, particularly a purring one. They are the cleanest, cunningest, and most intelligent things I know, outside of the girl you love, of course.”

 

Sylvia Plath, Edgar Allan Poe as well as T. S. Eliot were all known as cat owners.

 

William S. Burroughs was a devout cat lover who called them his “psychic companions,” and described them as “natural enemies of the state.” He wrote a book, The Cat Inside, where he wrote lovingly of his companions such as Calico Jane, Fletch, Rooski, Wimpy, and Ed.

 

Many more famous authors like Jean Cocteau, Stephen King and Jean Paul Sartre were inspired by cats.

 

What I was wondering about is: What is it with writers and cats? Why seem authors and cats connect so easily? There are as many theories as writers, I would say. A few possible explanations might be:

 

  • Cats lower high blood pressure

A study shows that people with high blood pressure who adopted a cat had been significantly improving. There are lots of theories, but fact is, nobody ever could explain biologically or medically why cats lower blood pressure. It is suspected that having someone on your side, someone non-judgmental, creates a psychologically beneficial atmosphere.

 

  • Cats help dealing with loneliness and stress

On days when you feel depressed, hopeless, down, lonely, sad, discouraged, or just have the “blahs,” spending time with your cat can be a real pick-me-up.

 

  • Cats purrs can improve health

When a cat purrs within a range of 20-140 Hertz, nearby humans may be therapeutically benefiting from these vibrations. Purring has been linked to lowering stress, decreasing symptoms of Dyspnoea, lessening the chances of having a heart attack, and even strengthening bones. Besides: purrs have a calming effect on most humans.

 

  • Companionship

As we authors know, quite often writing is a “lonely” business. While we might feel disturbed by permanent chatting, radio, TV sets, loud music and so on… very often we don’t mind a cat sitting on our desk and silently enjoying our company. In a situation like this cats don’t expect much attention. They just want to be with us, sharing the silence and once in a while carefully watching what we do. We all know they will have their few playful minutes, rolling across our papers or use their paws to throw our pens to the ground. But isn’t it just in moments like this time for a break?

 

To me these reasons might be as good or bad as any others. They might not even be particularly connected to authors. But it seems sometimes that an author’s cat is exceptionally deeply connected with the writer. The silent friendship they develop might be a reason for the strong mental connection between them. Maybe this is one of the secrets why the bond between an author and a cat becomes this deep and intense: the author’s gratefulness to the cat’s calming and naturally given presence.

 

I am quite convinced William S. Burroughs had it right when he said: “The cat does not offer services. The cat offers itself.”

And that Helen Thomson too knew what she was talking about: “A cat does not want all the world to love her — only those she has chosen to love.”

Picture courtesy of: http://www.buzzfeed.com/harpercollins/16-famous-writers-and-their-cats-9npd#.rgaoR0Zp6
Picture courtesy of: http://www.buzzfeed.com/harpercollins/16-famous-writers-and-their-cats-9npd#.rgaoR0Zp6