Writers Should Make Eavesdropping a Habit

A budding writer’s learning tool
that is as valuable as reading and observing

Text added to photo by FeeLoona from Pixabay

Listening, for writers, is as important as reading and observing.

For aspiring writers, it is doubly imperative to make eavesdropping, er, I mean listening in a habit.

Like reading and observing, listening will aid a budding writer in his or her aspirations. It’s a learning tool that pulls in new knowledge about issues with human-interest materials at the core.

But there is listening and there is listening

*In school, one listens to lectures for academic enrichment. One is invested to listen with as much focus as possible to be eventually conferred a diploma or perhaps a skills certificate.

*With nuclear family members, one listens to them with one’s heart as if life depends on it and often it does.

*With close friends and other people who matter, one listens to them with empathy. Their joy could be your joy, their pain your pain, their heartbreak or triumph yours as well.

The above kinds of listening involve personal emotion. The sort that brings out feelings and opinions that are private to the individual.

Growth in [academic] knowledge and maturity are achieved if one takes listening to the above in earnest.

Dispassionate listening

The type of listening to other people’s conversations that aspiring writers should accustom themselves with is listening without being judgemental.

Avoid the impression that you are eavesdropping (even if you are). Being seen as an impertinent snooper is a big no-no.

One should not be intrusive when listening in.

Check some examples of settings where one can listen in without being nosy:

When in queues –

  • at the airport check-in counter;
  • supermarket or shop check-out counter;
  • boarding a taxi, bus, ferry, train, plane;
  • book signings of your favourite author; coffee shop order counter;
  • entry for events like sports matches, book fairs, graduation ceremonies, film previews, product presentations and so on.

When “trapped” in a setting –

  • When someone talks (sometimes rather loudly) on the mobile phone in public settings, such as the examples cited above and below;
  • When part of an audience, e.g. sports matches, graduation ceremony, awarding and recognition, lectures, and so on;
  • When participating in an event or occasion, e.g. workshop, exhibition, marketing or job fairs, product presentations, meet-and-greet, conventions, school reunions, and so forth.


Listen in consciously without being snoopy.

There is much to learn from the sounds alone.

This includes the kinds of voices, manner of speaking, the accents, the nuances in communicating, and so on.

Take in and soak up all these new data in your memory bank for later withdrawal when writing articles or creating character sketches for your novel or screenplay.


Published by Creative Juice Publication on Medium.

Related readings:

What Makes A Writer’s Work Compelling

Skipping The Dreaded Writer’s Block

Writing Your Best While Another Takes The Credit

Know What A Writer’s Pet Peeve is?

Writers Are Keen Observers

Writers Are Avid Readers

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