I have one. Only one New Year’s Resolution, for 2019. That resolution is to listen, really listen.
As writers, we are supposed to listen. That is how we get our stories. Listening is how we obtain the quotes and pick up those one of a kind segues into events, that elude our competition.
But after the story, after the interview is done, we go on, and take off what teachers call “your listening ears”. Then once the conversation is complete, we, or at least I, go back to just paying half attention. At least, that’s what I did in the past!
The low down
I had one of those “Aha!” moments in a local restaurant a week or so ago. My husband Keith and I had finished our breakfast. During our meal, we had actually been talking about being interrupted, and we mentioned our frustrations.
Needless to say, the topic of listening was already in the forefront of my thought process.
Keith went out to bring up the car because it was raining and I was paying the bill. The young woman checking me out had to stop mid-check-out and answer the phone. “I wear a lot of hats and do a lot of things,” she said.
I responded she did indeed. Then I went on to say something. She finished ringing me up, looked past me, and stopped listening. She even ran out from behind the counter when she saw someone she knew, threw her arms around them and didn’t look back.
I realized right then that not listening is not just rude. It makes a person feel insignificant. It makes a person feel unworthy of your time, and I don’t want to be that person in 2019.
Listening I think takes a lot of time. I have a tendency to speed through life at a breakneck pace. Something happened this holiday season that slowed me down a bit. Overall, I think it was a good thing. I think it was a God thing.
I think God wanted me to take a look at who I am, and what and who I put first.
Sadly, the picture isn’t always pretty.
Onto that downside. Now that I have been honest I see its a bit of a nasty reflection. Not only do I ignore the people I love, but I find myself not taking the time to always listen to God either. How many blessing, how many trips, how many stories have I missed out because I have had my head buried in my phone or my own thoughts?
I also admit sometimes it is hard to listen when I am not interested in what someone is talking about. And, it is really easy to tune out and in a conversation with multiple people! I sometimes find myself doing this.
But then, what happens is you hear something that pings. Then I say, “Wait a minute, what was that?” It was something interesting, and often for this writer, something story worthy, or just worth knowing.
And, if I would have been listening, REALLY listening in the first place, I would not have asked them to repeat.
Listening and Travels
As I head down the road in 2019, I hope to bring back some amazing stories. Whether from around the corner, the fascinating Midwest, or the far flung corners of the world, I want to hear what people have to say. I want to hear their stories and share them with you.
I hope you will do the same!