Writers Must See

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Walk slowly and your writing will improve. Do not always flitter from one place to another, flying as if you have wings rather than humble feet. Avoid following the hummingbird’s example. Observe your surroundings with care and curiosity instead of dismissing them as boring and unimportant. Look at every flower—not just the blossoming ones, but the wilting ones, too. Admire the sky. You may be surprised to discover that it’s not as unchanging as you thought. The clouds drift; they grow and shrink; winds and rains rush through. Even the sidewalk differs from day to day. Maybe you encounter a worm one day or step on a piece of gum that wasn’t there before.

You may not notice those changes immediately but if you diligently study your surroundings, you’ll discover that your world evolves more quickly than you likely imagined. Too often we take the appearance of our hometown or city for granted. But that’s only because we are not truly seeing what’s around us.

All writers must train themselves to observe things—even everyday, mundane things—more carefully than their friends and family do. Because all in all, life revolves around fragments, not momentous stories. Not everything can be huge or awe-inspiring. So look for poetry or humor or drama everywhere.

Take these words for inspiration, no matter how cynical you are.

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