My Intention this morning was to write a blog helps type post on what I’ve been learning about plugins, but frankly… that’s not going to happen. I am still playing catch up with some of the other blogging helps posts I’ve written. 🙂 THOUGH!!! positive thing here. I learned how to save to Amazon S3 so I’m not having to pay big money to save my backups to dropbox! (I can’t afford that right now) but doing regular backups is kinda important with websites in case of some catastrophic or annoying failure happening. More on that another day though.
Today I thought I’d how important it is as a writer to notice the world around you. It is so good to fill our lives with the things that inspire us, but if we do that and don’t pay attention to those things, noticing the details, responses, facts and what not about them, what’s the point?
Just think of the authors that you read how bring into the life scenes they are describing, or characters in their book, how they use words to convey the sights, sounds, smells and minutia of what you are learning about. How do you think they convey it so well? They do this by paying attention to the details.
How do you notice those details?
By slowing down and savouring the moment. I was reading an article the other day about a lady who chose to “eat like the French” using it as a way to change how she ate. She would take a bite of food and notice the flavours, texture, spices, smell, appearance.. everything she could. As a result she found that she ate less, enjoyed her food more, and found eating to again be a pleasure. She noticed everything she could about it. As a writer we can do the same. Taking our time to savour the things that inspire us.
Last night I was sorting through the commemorative quarters that the Canadian mint does. Deciding we didn’t need to keep ALL of them, but only the very best. As I did so I noticed things that normally I don’t pay attention to. The little divots that come from use, how colour can wear off unevenly, the bit of metal chipping, the light or heavy scratches, and wearing away from use from the raised edges. Sometimes I really had to look to see which of those quarters was the best to keep. At other times it was readily apparent. Not all quarters receive the same care in life and it made me wonder the story that each might have taken.
Find those details. Pay attention to them. Cement them deeply in your memory or jot them down so you can recall them when you need to. The jokes children tell, the funny words they use as they are growing up, the look of surprise on a rabbits face as you open a cage unexpectedly, the enjoyment on man’s face with a meal well made, the uplift of a face as a lad smells a favourite meal, the cat as it stretches out it’s claws to catch a favourite toy, the burnished look of copper on a well-loved antique, how dust settles on a precious moment figure even as it sits behind a dust cover… pay attention to these details. They will help your stories come alive.
How will you keep a record?
We all have our favourite ways to keeping a record of what we see. These record keeping ways may vary depending on where we are and what we are doing.
You might find these methods helpful:
- a small notebook
- tablet/phone using evernote, simple note, one drive, keep,
- 3 x 5 cards
- stick it notes
- audio recording
- video recording
- scrap paper
Do you want to practice how to pay attention, how to notice the details? I have made a printable to help you. You can find it here. Or by clicking on the image below.
Questions to ask yourself:
How do you like to record the details of your life and the things that inspire you?
What details most easily recall experiences for you? Is it sight, smell, hearing, taste, or touch?
How will you develop your ability to pay attention? What moments can you find to savour?