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
Kristen Lamb, expert in writer’s and author’s support and teaching, talks about 5 reasons why our novel is breaking down. Another very educating and humorously written blog post. Thank you very much Kristen!
If you’ve been writing any amount of time you’ve been there—STUCK. Stuck is the place we never want to be, but goes with the job.
Every writer at one time or another has experienced the literary doldrums. We hit a spot that, no matter how hard we try, we just cannot seem to move our story forward. Every word we write feels like pulling frogs’ teeth and we wonder why we ever thought writing a novel was a good idea.
Some call this ‘writer’s block’ while others claim ‘they’re only in a dry season’ or ‘going through a rough patch.’ Regardless what name we give this feeling, it all feels a heck of a lot like being STUCK.
Many writers, particularly new writers, see being stuck as a sign that they may be writing in the wrong genre. When they get stuck, this is a perfect opportunity to start working on something NEW. Story gets stuck, and this is SURELY divine evidence that the book really should have been a SERIES, not a standalone or a standalone and not a series.
From personal experience combined with my experience with thousands of writers the process from Start to Stuck can look like this.
Rachel Poli informs us about different conversations our characters can have. Thank you so much for this great post, Rachel.
Hellos & Goodbyes
This conversation is pretty straightforward. It’s an introduction or a see you later kind of conversation. Sometimes it’s quick, sometimes not. Sometimes it’s easy to say hi and bye and other times it’s hard for the characters. It’s a generic conversation but this can go in many different ways.
General conversations can be natural little quips here and there. It can be something as simple as two characters commenting on the weather. This kind of conversation can shed some light on the characters themselves as well as the setting and maybe some slight plot information.
Lenn Woolston write a blog post about handwriting your first draft. I found a link to his article on The Story Reading Ape’s blog. Since I am a big fan of handwriting my first drafts, I decided to re-blog. Thank you Lenn and Chris.
If you find yourself staring at a blank computer and the words aren’t flowing, maybe you are approaching your story wrong. Maybe you need to handwrite your first draft.
Every writer is different, and every writer will have their own writing style and routine. What works for one may not work for another. But if you’ve never thought about handwriting your first draft, it might be worth considering.
I have never handwritten my first draft, but I have handwritten difficult scenes. And it has been helpful. It’s a completely different way of writing so it makes your brain think differently.
If you are struggling to get started or finish your WIP, consider what Lenn Woolston has to say about why you should handwrite your first draft! She has some very compelling reasons!
Derek Haines not only provides us with a recommendation on using our competitor’s long tail keywords; he also delivers a complete ‘user manual’ on how to manage that. Thanks so much for all your work, Derek!
How to find the best long tail keywords and get your blog post to rank, immediately.
Have you noticed that some bloggers always seem to rank high on Google?
If you are blogging, or content marketing to make money from advertising, affiliate marketing or selling your products or services, you know that keyword search is vital.
Writing a long article and creating content without thinking about SEO keywords first is a hit and miss affair.
Perhaps you might get lucky with a few words and phrases that make it to a search engine results page. But usually, it doesn’t work very well.