Sunday, April 09, 2006

Selective Listening

I know I promised to return to the dislikes of agents—and that will happen tomorrow. For today, I’m focused on a different matter.

Whether we realize it or not, each of us selectively listen to a conversation. I’m most conscious of this fact when I’m trying to write down material from an interview or record notes from a speech, then use those notes to write something at a later date. I can’t write fast enough to capture everything so while I’m making notes, I’m missing something.

Since college, I’ve been composing my words at the typewriter or keyboard. It’s the common way that people write these days but in the 1970s, it was an unusual method. It’s helped my production and writing that I gained this skill many years ago and have been consistently using it ever since I learned it.

When I read the newspaper, I always make a point to read the comic page. The only exception is when I read a newspaper like The New York Times or USA Today which doesn’t have a comic page. Today I loved the comic For Better or Worse. If you don’t follow this particular comic, Michael, the son has become a writer. His wife is trying to get his attention yet he is listening selectively. I’d encourage you take a look at this permanent link for this comic. I showed it to my wife and she wanted to save it (highly unusual for her). Consider how selective listening plays into your own writing life. It certainly rang true for me.

3 Comment:

At 7:31 PM, Blogger C. H. Green Left a note...

I certainly had to laugh when I read the comic. The only difference is that my husband is the one calling me to the table. He is usually irritated that he has had to pick up supper as well.
So many times in the last six months since I have started my novel he has reminded me of appointments and events that I have absolutely no recollection of us ever discussing. I think he is even secretly worried about me having an online affair. I don't have time for one. I'm too busy writing. Thanks for brightening my day.

At 10:17 AM, Blogger Bill Left a note...

Excellent post!

I read once that Ernest Hemingway said something like: "I've learned a great deal from listening. Most people never listen."

I think he knew what he was talking about, when it comes to listening!

At 6:32 AM, Blogger CindyT Left a note...

Selective listening? I call it being in the fictional world. I usually don't practice selective listening (that's my husband's realm), but if I'm in the middle of my fictional world (writing) or in someone else's (reading a well written novel) I jump out of my skin if someone interrupts me.

So few understand!


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