People watching is fun, very fun. Mostly, when someone says they ‘people watch’ it basically means that they look at the person and judge what they’re wearing; what they look like; and typically, they will guess their name. But when you really focus on the art of ‘people watching’ you begin to think about some deeper aspects of their character; where are they going? Who are they meeting? Are they an alien life form come to mingle with he humans? (no? just me?).
You begin to try and put together the entire life of this person, and that’s the fun of it all. Because usually, for me anyway, this is the beginnings of a story. I tend to watch people; listen to conversations, things like that and then get home and begin to construct a fictional character from this and put that person in to whatever story I might be writing at that particular time.
‘People Watching’ is very common and lots of people do it without even realising. However, for me at least, as a writer, this can sometimes be the most productive part of my day. I like writing, it’s what I do and if I could do it for a living then i’d be set. So when I go somewhere I believe to be particularly interesting I love to carry a notebook with me so I can jot down all the things I see, and then gather it all up at the end of the day in to something read-worthy.
This all stems from a project I did at University about four or so years ago. My lecturer told me that one of the best ways you will find inspiration for stories is by taking a notebook and writing down what you see and hear around you. This kind of just stuck with me and I’ve been doing it ever since. Trying to work out where the story of someone is going to go simply by jotting down a single conversation-of which you will often only hear half because the person will be on the phone- is so exciting; and it also means that you’re not trying to magically conjour up a story from thin air. See, that’s today’s top tip. Eavesdrop, it’s handy.
I guess it has become a habit of mine. But fortunately it’s not an annoying one, like when I bite my nails too much or when people have a habit of talking FAR too much, even through my favourite songs, at which point I have a ‘habit’ of telling them to “shut the hell up!” This is a nice habit which allows me to be far more productive than I would usually be. It allows me to make notes for blogs, stories, poems while I don’t really even realise it. I can chill out and simultaneously be doing work at the same time.
What I think i’m trying to say here is that people watching can be far more productive than you might first think.
Channel your nosey lifestyle in to something you can be proud of. Try it, trust me, it’s fun.
Until next time…