“You see, and yet you do not observe,” quips Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective. This idea of observation is not new by any means, and yet people, especially writers, need to be continuously reminded of its power.
Just mere observation can do wonders for a story or a poem or any type of writing. People watch, take in the world around you. Most writers do this by nature, but in order for us to use our observation to its highest potential, our observations must be conscious ones.
Observations and even just people-watching can help create interesting characters, plots and settings. You know that kid that sits across the room in your English class and how he always adjusts his hat before speaking? Or that girl you see at Subway all the time that orders a different sandwich for every day of the week? These traits you observe can add depth and originality to your characters and what is going on around them.
So take a minute and don’t see. Observe.