Thursday, November 26, 2015


By Janice L. Dick of Canada

Our pastor spoke last Sunday about prayer. He suggested that in large part, prayer is (or at least should be) listening.

I think that in order to write effectively, to make a difference in the lives of readers, we need to learn to listen. When I look around me, I fear our society has lost the elemental art of listening. It’s rare to see someone sitting alone without reading or keying on a smart phone. Groups of people at lunch will be having private conversations via handheld devices instead of listening to each other.

Right now at my writing desk, I can hear the resident birds having an argument in the snowball bush outside my window. I can hear geese forging their way across the autumn sky to warmer climes. Downstairs, my oldies station is airing the news, and soon I’ll hear my husband’s vehicle drive into the yard for supper.

All these sounds draw me from my self-imposed world of imagination and creativity, and reconnect me with reality. I want to connect with my readers in a real way, even if I’m writing fiction or fantasy. I want to help them feel comfortable in my story world or in the ideas of my non-fiction. My experiences color my writing, adding sensory details and credibility. I need grounding in the real world in order to pass this along to my readers.

As I listen to God, to others, to my own inner voice, I grow as a person and thereby also as a writer.

I believe I will set this as one of my goals for the new year: Learn to Listen!


  1. I agree Janice, people have lost the art of listening to God and to others at times. Good post.

  2. Pertinent post, Janice, for we writers as we create and for all of us as we journey through life.

    Listening is one of life's great challenges. It takes time and we can't control when the speaker is going to speak. Developing that hunger to really listen to what the Lord wants to say is a life-long discipline.

    1. I'm ashamed to admit that sometimes I say to the Lord, "Okay, I have five minutes and then I have to go. Please speak to me." As you say, we can't control when the speaker is going to speak. Thanks for that reminder.