Why listening is great for writers
Okay the title might be wrong a bit, I’m sure someone there died from listening, heard the wrong shit and then boom.
Uhmm yeah of course listening is significant for everyone, it’s such a great skill to have, a skill that most people don’t possess; it’s not necessarily a crime, however if you are a bad Listener, I can tell you that you’re missing out on quite a lot.
So, why is listening an important tool or rather skill to have? Well, as writers we have the ability to transport people from a seat to a world they’ve never been into before, I mean in a sense that’s an artists job, we live and thrive on the idea that we take people to this reality that may or may not have existed.
As a writer you have so much you go through, in one lifetime you cannot experience all the emotions needed to write all these different emotionally driven characters, I mean damn, you also have your own personality, when do you get time to party like Van Wilder if you’re always stuck at home watching Harry Potter because you think it’s a great piece of work.
So then how do you write all these eccentric characters if you can’t experience their livelihood, well the best way is to live vicariously. To listen; listen to those that have experienced all these intriguing adventures, and live vicariously; that’s basically it, just sitting across different humans and listening to all their stories.
I recently found out information about Ramadan that I didn’the know, an emotional and psychological level that people who go through it, what they feel like. It was amazing really.
Listening takes patience, it takes interest, anybody can listen but also not everyone can be a great listener. One of my favorite South African writers Kgebetli Moele known for Room 207 and Book of the dead (favorite novel) in an interview said “My stories are mostly based on the character around my community, based is really an understatement, but my community doesn’t want me sitting around them anymore, because they say “ahh you, you will write about us in those books of yours” he laughs. I was there in the interview so I know he laughed.
While he was sharing this event, I could imagine him being outcasted in laughter by community, so in turn, I laughed at that thought. These characters we write, most come from reality, people that exist, only way you can write what an arsehole is like is if you’very been around one; same goes for depressed, wild, socially aware etc. you can’t experience all these things so, it’s not to say hang around these people but listen to them when you get the chance use it.
I sit quietly around strangers at most times, just vanish while sitting among them, what I am doing most time is writing character descriptions in my head, yeah of course to the viewer I am the quiet weirdo, but bare with me, I am at work.
There are a lot of videos out there teaching you how to listen better, as stated, a really important skill to have, Celeste Headlee probably still amongst my favorite talks on listening. So as an artist, as a writer, listen a bit more, just shut up and listen, respond of course but absorb it all in.