A Strategy to Improve My Observation Skills as a Writer

Day 15/31: Blog Your Own Book Challenge

Parag Shah
3 min readAug 18, 2020

This is my fifteenth post for the Blog Your Own Book Challenge. In the previous post, I began addressing my weaknesses as a writer. I delved deeper into each point to understand where I was coming from and where I stood at the moment.

It was a very helpful exercise to understand my own background and where I stood in relation to my weak points as a writer. It was also overwhelming to know how much ground I still had to cover but I have learned, after stumbling several times, that the best strategy to deal with the overwhelm of upskilling is to focus on getting 1% better every day and then let the process do its magic.

To retain the context of the previous post, I’ll begin by listing all the weaknesses that I want to address in order of priority.

  1. Observation skills
  2. Ability to clearly know what I’m feeling
  3. Vocabulary
  4. Power of expression
  5. Confidence
  6. Scattered journal entries
  7. Formal grammar

In this post, I have described how I plan to improve my observation skills.

Strategy to Improve Observation Skills

I believe good observation is the foundation of good writing. That’s the reason, I want to focus on improving my observation skills before working on other skills that are directly related to writing.

Sometime back, I came across a course on SkillShare — Creative Writing for All: A 10-Day Journaling Challenge — which has a strong focus on improving your observation skills. The teacher, Emily Gould, begins the course with this description:

The course is designed to unlock your creativity by getting you to notice new details about your world.

I am grateful. That’s exactly what I needed. She asks participants to journal to a simple prompt for 5–10 mins for ten days. The prompt is:

Today I noticed…

She also gave several useful suggestions to help in being more observant. The one that spoke to me was the suggestion to slow down by doing everything at half speed. I loved this suggestion. When I tried slowing down, I realized that it opened up space for awareness for me to notice how I was feeling and what was going on around me.

This is a lovely practice. I’m thinking of making it a daily practice along with my morning pages.

Try it and see if it helps you improve your observation skills. Take a piece of paper and a pen. Take a few deep breaths to clear the mind. Then write the prompt: Today I noticed… and continue writing for 5–10 minutes.

You can write about anything you noticed. It could be an inner experience like a thought or a feeling. It could be your own eyes or hair or toes. It could be something related to your life, like a recurring pattern. It could be something in your house, like your flowers, the patch on the wall, or just a new way of looking at your writing desk. It could also be something outside, like the sky, or the road. It could anything that comes into your field of awareness.

If you have a hard time being aware then try to do your activities as you go about the day, a bit slower to open up space for more awareness and observation.