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Overheard

This week’s writing challenge revolves around my favorite inspiration: eavesdropping.

My mother would be horrified at my bad manners. When I hit the wall with my writing and need motivation, I go to my local coffee shop, and listen in on the conversations around me.

At my cafe, I’ve heard some great chats — from awkward first dates, to job interviews, to one-sided cell phone arguments. If a particular tidbit excites me, I’ll use it as a line of dialogue, as the first line in an essay, or as a writing prompt.

Here are a few examples of what I overheard today while I sipped my green tea:

“He didn’t even cry when I told him. I hate him even more now.”

“Cashiers can’t be drunk, but they’re not as strict with the baggers.”

Phone rings. “Hello?…No, you still have the wrong number, and if you call again, I am literally going to go insane.” Seconds later, the phone rings again.

I nabbed the second overheard statement, and used it as the start of a short story. There was no way I could pass it up.

Style and genre are entirely up to you.

Fiction, political rant, photo essay, poetry, personal reflections…the world is your oyster. Regardless of what and how you blog, your inspiration will be the voices around you. Can you hear what the strangers on the train are murmuring? What your coworkers are complaining about in the break room? What your kids are conspiring about when they should be asleep? If a snippet of conversation ignites your fire, take note of it, and use it to rock your next blog post.

If the government can do it, so can you: tap into your inner spy. Listen in on a conversation, and get blogging.

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  1. I love to listen to conversations between strangers or just to watch them and imagine their lives. Who they are, what they do and where they plan on going next. I create my own version of a conversation between them and often laugh at the conversations I create.

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  2. I’ve done this before for creative writing classes and it definitely is a great insight into the way people are. It also makes for great entertainment sometimes!

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  3. We are social scientists and we appreciate this post so much! Our inspiration definitely comes from the world around us–for our fashion choices and our research. Enjoyed reading your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a great post! I love to do this very thing: go to a coffee shop to think, listen, people watch. Sometimes I just try to feel warm, relax, breathe, run away to an alternate reality. Other times I read, write, and seek my own voice among the many. Right or wrong, just call me Harriet the Spy, Mermaid, or Super Why.

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  5. What a great idea. Of course, there is no way to NOT hear some of the conversations around us. Keep it anonymous, but make use of great material whenever you can! You just inspired me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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