How To Sharpen Your Observational Skills

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Good observational skills come in very handy for writers. If we are able to observe things well, we can then recreate these moments in our novels, which helps immerse our readers in the worlds we have created. Observing the way things look, sound, taste, feel is so important for writers, so practicing sharpening those observational skills can really help to improve your craft. 

Here are some ways you can make sure that your observational skills are always razor sharp!

Research and learn about your subject

The more well-versed you are in any given topic, the better you will come to understand it when you observe it. This may sound strange, but taken objectively and it can apply to almost anything. If you are writing a great love story, take the time to research and learn about human behavior communication, and action, particularly when in love. Then when you observe people in love, you will understand the ‘performance’ better and be better equipped to recreate this in your work.

Slow down and open your eyes

Use mindfulness techniques to focus your attention and remain in the present moment. It’s so easy to cruise through life without paying any attention to it. If you take the time to stop, breathe, and really look at what is going on around you at any given moment, you can suddenly start to notice the little details of things that make reality so, well, real. Capturing these details will make your fictional world come alive. 

Try new things

If we push ourselves outside our comfort zone or test our boundaries or do something that makes us feel a little scared, the rush of adrenaline can help to heighten our senses. In fact, trying anything new that takes concentration enhances your focus, which means you are more likely to absorb more details about it.


Minimizing distractions is an obvious way to help us focus and remain aware of our surroundings. Turn off your phone, stop notifications, and go somewhere where you know you won’t be disturbed. 

Keep your brain active

Take the time each day to do some mental workouts to keep your brain active and youthful. Try memory games or brain teasers and you’ll stay mentally shape and better able to concentrate on your experience. 

Get rest and exercise

You’ll find it far easier to be observant if you aren’t exhausted or are feeling sluggish and slow. So make sure you get enough sleep and stay healthy too.!

Make a note of your experiences

Always having a notebook with you is good advice for any writer, but if you hope to become better at observing things, take the time to record your observations, but also to consider them, comment on them, expand upon them and recreate them. You can do this right now!

The more your practice honing your observational skills, the better you will get at being able to focus and retain events that occur all around you each day. 

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