Writing – Listening

keyboard garyrabbit

“Learn to listen, not with the intent to reply but with the intent to understand.”


This quote from Pears Before Swine was exactly what I needed the particular moment the article arrived. Typically my phone is set on silence while I work. I believe Providence had a better idea today.

I’d been working on a series that stirred deep, strong emotions, tripping over scenarios from decades before when my phone grabbed my attention. Needing a break, I immediately read the linked article for a breath of fresh air. The post brought another obscure, but important lesson to mind:

“Did you listen to what I told you?” Grandmother asked me. Truth is, I hadn’t. I was about five years old at the time. All I could think of was the sour balls. All I could see was the beautiful candy dish; the icon of a visit to Grandma’s house. But from that moment on, when Grandmother spoke, you can believe I listened. I listened to her voice, studied her face and her body language, took in the tone of the room and I noted to her every word. The candy was my motivation.

In today’s scenario I’d entirely left the point of what I’d been writing. I’d lost touch with my character and stopped listening. I’d been describing every unimportant detail of the scene, floundering aimlessly as verbosity took over. I’d left my motivation in the dust somewhere.

Shaking it off, settling in, I envision my cover art, my new candy dish. I listen carefully, and soon the right words flow again.





Filed under Notes from the Apex

7 responses to “Writing – Listening

  1. Listening is a skill. Once developed you can find a request and a silver lining in the nastiest rant–giving you the power to turn that situation around.


  2. Excellent point. In our fast moving society we tend to undervalue listening with the intent to understand. I myself have a habit of listening while anticipating what someone else will say which often results in my not completely understanding what they said. And yes, it happens with the written word as well. I will be reading a book and anticipate the words only to eventually realize that the event did not occur exactly as I had anticipated. Thank you for the reminder.


  3. Love the quote and the text that followers! As a teacher, I need to remember to listen and remember that I do not have to always reply to my students.


  4. Beautiful piece, beautiful words!


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