Listening during writing class sharing

Day three of the “listening” series – we’ve talked about sharing and feedback. Today, it’s about listening itself. (It amazes me that it’s taken me two other blog posts to actually get to this.)

From the outset, let me caveat by saying that everyone listens differently. We listen for different things and different material resonates and catches our attention. Even within a single day, I may be listening for content, or feeling, or word play. It depends on both the piece itself and the space I’m in.

EarThat said, I tend to listen for words and the way that they are strung together. Turns of phrase, the way something may catch me off guard. It’s where I also tend to focus my attention when I’m reading, too.

If I’ve had a powerful writing session and keep finding myself going back to the stress of sharing (or not), then that impacts my listening. I’m not able to sink in to the piece and accept it for itself. (Hm, this reminds me of what I’ve been reading about listening as a counselor, too.) I may revisit if and when I share if this is the case.

Being able to be present and listen as someone shares that newly born writing in writing classes is a gift. It requires me to take off my What I Know Ears and put on what I’m coming to know as my Curiosity Ears. Not what can I get out of this, but what am I experiencing? What am I noticing?

In part, this is another practice in awareness and compassion – just like sharing and feedback. Listening, too, is part of our practice, as much as the showing up for writing.

How do you approach listening?  Where do you tend to focus your attention?

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3 thoughts on “Listening during writing class sharing

  1. Oh, this is a great question. Whenever I listen to people, I try VERY HARD not to interrupt them.

    Once I started doing this, I started to learn who could stand their own ground with their words. There are people in the world who will not stop talking until you talk, and I think these people are an anxious-nervous type.

    Then again, there are also people who will quickly interrupt you and tell you that you are the interrupter.

    Allowing someone to tell their story or rant or what have you to it’s end is paramount. When we do this, it is amazing how much more of the story we get.

    I try to live my life knowing that eveyrone else’s story is always more interesting than my own, and I think when I do that, it’s easier to become a better writer.

    • I really appreciate the statement, “it’s easier to become a better writer,” when we listen fully. I think it’s one of the (many) reasons I love writing classes like the ones I talk about here. We allows others (and in return, ourselves) to be heard through. It’s such a pleasure and such an honour to be able to do that.

      Do you have specific methods or ways to work with not interrupting, to getting that full story from someone?

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