“Writers can fill their stories with as much ‘made up stuff’ as they like, but there is no substitute for astute observation. It’s the one thing that marks flat, boring ‘telling’ description from vibrant, rich narrative that shows the reader.”   A.J.Humpage at All Write Fiction Advice

Improve Your Observation Skills To Write Better

We know that writers need imagination. And the imagination is absolutely dependent upon observation.

If we want to  use our imagination in our writing, we need first to develop our observation skills.

Sadly, with our focus and dependence on technology, our powers of observation start to wane. Like any skill that’s unused, our observation muscle gets weak. But with practice we can strengthen our observation skills.

The best part of this practice is that we can do this any time and anywhere.


Some simple practices to improve your observation skills

Take a short mindfulness break

Take deep breaths. Relax. Now stop thinking and start observing things around you using your senses. What do you see, hear, smell, touch in your surroundings. Try to stay in this for as long as you can.

At the end of this practice, reflect and write what happened as you did this. Perhaps, you realized that it was a difficult exercise, because you were thinking too much.

But as you keep doing this practice, you’ll start finding it easier to relax and observe.

Observe an object – a flower, a leaf, a stone

Place the object on a flat surface in front of you or take it into your hands. For the next 20 minutes (yes, that’s right) observe and write down as many things as you can about the object. Remember to write observations and not thoughts.

Focused observation

Sit in a park or somewhere outdoors where there are people about and focus on one aspect of them. For example, notice only the style of their shoes. Keep observing and then try to recall how many types of shoes you saw. You could also look for different shades of a particular colour – all the shades of yellow  – you encounter on a walk. Observe, recall and write.

These are just a few exercises you can practice. There are certainly plenty more. The idea is to practice them regularly. Observational intelligence is a skill. It can be improved. And improving it will improve our writing.

What do you do to improve your observation skills? 



If you are new to Friday Reflections, here’s what it’s about. It’s the end of the week, you’re probably exhausted with work, and all you want to do is sit back, put your feet up, sip on some fancy cocktail or wine, and write away. Sanch of Living My Imperfect Life and Write Tribe give you writing prompts and all you have to do is choose any one of those prompts to blog about and link up between Friday and Monday. After you link up, be sure to spread the love by visiting other bloggers who have linked up too.

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Announcing our Featured Writer/s:

30 SeptShalini R Nair.

Oct 7Holly Jahangiri and Suzy Que.

If you wish to be a featured writer, join us in writing on the weekly prompts and wow us with your writing!

 ‘Write Tribe

This week’s prompts:

Prompts for this week:
1. What did you want to be when you were a kid?
2. Did you think you’d be doing what you’re currently doing in life? Write a personal essay.
3. What has really made a big change in your life?
4. “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr – Use this quote in your post or to inspire your post
5. Picture Prompt (copyright everydaygyaan.com )