“If a writer stops observing he is finished. Experience is communicated by small details intimately observed.”
― Ernest Hemingway
Hard to add onto or disagree with Hemingway.
But I’m going to try to add how I feel about this quote anyway.
I think it’s dead accurate. Observing is a necessary part of writing, whether it’s taking time to sit and people watch, or simply being open to ideas and images in the world around you.
I, for example, constantly try to imagine how I would write my daily life. What are the adjectives I would use to describe people? What would today’s weather tell the reader about the plot? How does this chair feel? This drink taste? By observing the day-to-day things, I have the images and ideas in my head already that I want to steal for writing.
That’s why openness is the key to observing. We have to constantly be open to the things we observe, and think of the ways we would steal them.
Good writing begins with good observing. So, when you step out your door next, think about what you see, and how you would retell it.