A Writer’s Eye

Ernest Hemingway wrote:
“A writer’s problem does not change. It is always how to write truly and having found what is true, to project it in such a way that it becomes a part of this experience of the person who reads it.”

How then to find what is true and write about it?

Over the years I have heard my writing coaches and creative writing teachers repeat over and over that in order to write well one has to have a writer’s eye. They claim that professional writers have special eyes with special analytical visions. They have the ability to see things that other people miss. A sort of an inner sight to people’s minds and hearts. In the words of Jack London:

“Great shining eyes that gazed beyond the veil of sound and saw behind it the leap and pulse of life and the gigantic phantom of the spirit.”

They go on to say that while writing you must employ all the sensory powers of the body. That your eyes must not only see, but also hear, touch, taste and smell. In other words the eyes of a writer must be different.

Do you have a writer’s eye? Do you see, feel, hear things others don’t? When you are in the company of other people do you notice something about them that your friends miss? You don’t have to be psychic to recognize if someone is sad and hurt, or happy. You don’t have to be a psychologist to notice how your date, who is really nice to you, treats the waiter differently. The little things that make our day, that make our life. It’s those details, the feelings that you get when you are somewhere or in the presence of someone, that distinguish you as a writer.

All the places that I have been to, all the events that I have experienced and all that has happened to me, I remember because of what they made me feel at the time. Sometimes it was a certain smell or a certain sound that touched me and made me feel content, or scared or sad, or even disappointed and heartbroken. And if I remember those scenes with the same in-depth completeness of when it happened, if I can project those feelings truly in my writing and make the reader be able to see, touch, hear, smell the scene with me then I have succeeded as a writer. As Jack London wrote:

“He did not merely feel. Sensation invested itself in form and color and radiance, and what his imagination dared, it objectified in sublimated and magic ways.”


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8 Responses to A Writer’s Eye

  1. johncoyote says:

    I agree with your thoughts in the blog. A writer’s must live the story. Hemingway is a prime example. He served as a Soldier and as a Journalist. He saw terrible things and I believe effected his life. The writer’s who follow sadness and war are the real hero’s. Without them we would be blinded to the real world. Thank you for the blog.

  2. Great quotes that certainly get down to the crux of the matter. I love how you are able to weave them into your posts to help illustrate your points. You truly have the writer’s eye to see how other authors’ words fit your vision. 🙂

    • chichikir says:

      Thanks Susan. I guess it’s my mathematical training. As a teacher of maths when I had to explain a rule or theorem to students I had to back it up by examples and vice-versa. It kind of helped with my writing too I suppose. Anyways thanks and have a great and productive week!

  3. Pingback: The Biggest Mistake New Writing Teachers Make « That Writing Lady

  4. Our words must create the feelings and sensory details in our readers – that is our art, our skill.

  5. Pingback: My Writing Really Sucks « Jeannine Vegh

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