It doesn’t have to be advice exactly. Listening is an important skill to have. It not only helps you, but others as well. By listening you give a chance to let others voice out their thoughts. It reassured them that someone is there for them. Listening can also give you an opportunity to learn things you wouldn’t expect.
I’m not telling you to eavesdrop on conversations. I just mean focusing on being a good listener when you do have a chance. Plus if you don’t listen, what if you miss something that is really important. Now you wonder what does listening have to do with writing. We use all our senses not only for every day occurrences but to give us a set of knowledge to describe to our readers. It can also help us bring inspiration to our writing.
Listening to others no matter who they are, can give you an advantage. Writers need to listen to their editors, and readers, to see what they can improve on and what works best. Writers also should listen to other writers. These writers can be part of a certain genre, location, age, etc. It’s not all about listening to feedback though that is very important. It can just be the conversation relating to writing, and their own experiences. This can be an even greater experience if the people are from a different age than you are, or write a different genre than you do.
This is why I’ve really have enjoyed being part of writer groups lately. I find it’s my chance to be around others who are like me, and want to talk about writing. It’s a chance to receive feedback on each others’ writing, but also a chance to experience other writing that you wouldn’t normally. Usually people grab the books that they are interested in through the bookstores, libraries, or because they heard something about it. What about local writers who don’t get a chance to have their own work shown as publicly? Sure, there is e-publishing, but even though it’s easy to publish and cheaper, it can be even harder to get a large amount of readers interested.
Today in the South Texas Scribes writer group, they mentioned about e-publishing (aka indie publishing, self-publishing), and how it is hard to find ways to get your work out there for people to read. It’s almost as if you need a platform to help you get recognized. For an example, a blog or a contest. They even mentioned how great it would be to have a local publishing company that could help them get published compared to those publishing companies in bigger cities. This sounded like a great idea because it would make it easier for those writers who want a personal interaction with the company but can’t really afford going to the bigger farther away companies. Plus it would help local writers learn a bit more about each others work, and have a common bond.
I recently started going to the STS meetings (which is the first Saturday of each month), thanks to NaNoWriMo, and I find it is one of the best decisions I’ve made. They have welcomed me into their group, and I’ve enjoyed being part of their conversations. Though at times I feel a bit of a novice around them. They have had more experiences in life, and in writing than I do, but it’s what makes the conversations even better for me. It makes me realize that no matter what age, we’re all struggling to work on our craft. We all have something to share from our own experiences, no matter if we feel like novices or experts. Though we can never really be complete experts because we’re not perfect, and we are learning every day.
It gives us a chance to share things that we notice about writing, and our own work. It’s amazing to see the great talent we have locally. To those who say this city isn’t interesting, it’s likely that they don’t explore enough. I love experiencing local creativity. Locals want to get their voice heard, but feel like they won’t get a chance. That’s one of the reasons why I love supporting them. I know the feeling too. It’s great that we have others to support us in one way or another.
Just remember to listen. I mean really listen. You will find that you’ll learn, and help others, without even realizing it.