Monday, March 6, 2017

Good Writers Are Good Listeners

I'm an introvert by nature, an exceptionally shy one at that, so I've always been more prone to placing attention on others rather than myself. I'm more than happy to have you talk about yourself for hours on end if that means no one's looking at me or expecting me to form sentences. Out loud.

I'm also a seasoned bartender (which many have confused for therapist over the years) AND because this shit runs in the family, I'm also the daughter of a professional Life Coach/ Counselor. My whole life, people have been coming to my front door (literally and figuratively) to spill their guts. Before it was to my mother, now, it's to me.

You can't begin to imagine the things people tell me. The stories I've heard. The things I KNOW about people I can never un-know. It's an honor to be allowed in and to be shown this intimate side of people's souls. A gift I never take lightly or for granted.

But, it's also an awesome responsibility, honoring people's trust, keeping their secrets. Especially when you're a writer and everything you come in contact with is potential writing material!

And it is. Writing material.

Hear me out.

To write honestly, to write emotionally and profoundly, you must be a good listener. You can only create multi-dimensional characters if you understand the multitude of dimensions human beings are made of. If you've seen below the surface. Heard their most personal stories and witnessed their private thought processes.

I don't share people's secrets in my writing. But, I harness their experiences in my own way, taking the emotions and consequent actions I've witnessed and recreating new characters and situations to apply them to, helping me create more genuine, more relatable stories.

I've been blessed with an extraordinary life. In my thirty-plus years, I've experienced more than most. Much of which has been heartache. Loss. And abuse. I've witnessed first-hand the damage of addictions and mental illness. I've become familiar with death and grief. I've been practicing since childhood. But, I've also traveled the world. I've driven across this country many, many times. I have been exposed to people of all cultures and beliefs. Have eaten foods in the countries they originated. I'm fluent in two languages and can muddle my way through more in a pinch. Lived in nearly every terrain. Been at home slinging drinks in the city of Las Vegas and felt completely in my element living life on a ranch riding and training horses day in and day out. I've been blessed. I can write about A LOT of stuff. BUT, I don't only want to write about me. My thoughts. My feelings. Diverse as they may be, they're still only mine.

So, consider this my warning as well as a thank you. Share. Vent. Cry. I'll listen. I'll support. And this is always a judgement free zone where secrets are treasured and trust is valued. But, those parts you share of yourself stay with me. They become a part of my human experience, twine in with my thoughts, my heart and my passion. My writing.

I craft stories by nature. I create from my heart. And what you've put there, comes out in a new form, with new life. I'll always be a listener. A watcher. An observer.

But I'll always be a writer, too.

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