Increase Your Power of Observation with Field Trips

So far June is turning out to be the month of field trips for me, which is a good thing. In 2008, I guest blogged about how I think more reporters should venture out from behind their desks to cover stories. Everything I said still holds true, and now I see the value in other areas as well.

Field trips increase our power of observation. All too often we overlook the things we see every day because they’re routine.  This month’s field trips have included taking in the Beach Boys 50-year-reunion concert with my mom, my recent journey to New Jersey for a writing conference and covering a press conference in downtown D.C.

Henry James said, “A writer is someone on whom nothing is lost.” I agree. By observing and noticing the little things, we become better storytellers. And whether you write fiction or non fiction or newspaper articles or novels, the details are what make your story come alive.

At the Beach Boys concert, the band was great and they played all their hits, but the best part was watching how generations of families showed up together. If I were writing an article about the concert, I would have included the four-year-old little girl who danced and clapped for two hours straight and then fell asleep on her grandpa’s shoulder. He carried her out during Surfin’ Safari, and I pictured both of them snuggled in a quiet spot while the rest of the family continued to cheer and sing.

Field trips can encourage us to start up conversations and make new connections. I’m a firm believer in writing conferences. My recent trip to New Jersey gave me concrete ideas on how to improve my craft, but more importantly, I walked away with a handful of great new friends I’m continuing to connect with online. That initial conference registration fee is going to continue to pay dividends all year.

The few hours I spent covering a press conference last week gave me enough material to file a story that day and I jotted down a list of story ideas that will come in useful for several months. The conference speakers were interesting, but they were just part of the experience. Some of the best learning took place during the casual lunch that followed the event. You never know where you’re going to find your next great idea or that one thought that makes everything click.

Field trips don’t have to take us far. Even checking out a new restaurant or grocery store can exercise our observation muscles, and the more we use them, the stronger they will get.

26 thoughts on “Increase Your Power of Observation with Field Trips

  1. Hi there! Do you know if they make any plugins to safeguard against hackers?
    I’m kinda paranoid about losing everything I’ve worked hard on.
    Any tips?

    Feel free to surf to my weblog built

  2. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really
    well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it and return
    to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post.

    I will certainly return.

  3. Hi! I understand this is kind of off-topic but I had to ask.
    Does managing a well-established website such as yours require a massive
    amount work? I am completely new to blogging however I do
    write in my journal daily. I’d like to start a blog so I will be able to share my own experience and feelings online. Please let me know if you have any kind of suggestions or tips for new aspiring bloggers. Thankyou!

  4. But fraud and a lack of HUD oversight on the projects turned a unique poor credit loans scams into a thing of
    the past. Therefore, wherever and whenever possible, try to
    avoid any misfortune. Between 2002 and 2004 the interest rates will be through the roof.

    Have a look at my web blog; Bad credit auto loans

  5. Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite
    justification appeared to be on the internet the simplest thing to be aware
    of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people consider worries that they plainly do not know about.
    You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a signal.
    Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *