I have a confession to make: I’m a spy. Well, kind of. I’m an Introvert to my core. So in most situations, you’ll find me happily on the sidelines. Watching.
I love to people watch.
We (people in general) are a funny lot. I’ve written things down that I’ve found amusing, poignant, or angered me to use as inspiration when I write a scene or a character.
So, I started thinking—I know, a dangerous thing for me to do—how many writers people watch for inspiration? I mean, how can we see something like this…
And not use it somehow in a book. I mean, really. What the heck is going on there? And then there’s this kid…
Yeah. That doesn’t need an explanation. But then, there’s this photo…
And this one…
If I wasn’t watching, I would have missed those moments. Oh, and while the last two photos are of my dad and daughters, the first two photos? No relation. Whew.
I carried my digital mini-recorder with me everywhere I went before it broke. I used it to record thoughts and ideas as they came to me, but I’d occasionally record something I’d seen or heard while shopping or sitting in a waiting room. Now I type out a message on my cell or use its recorder feature. And, bonus, I can also snap a picture. That’s not creepy, right?
I’m not the only one who does this either. I mean, there’s a Twitter hashtag devoted to people watching. There are songs written about it:
wikiHow has a nine-step process teaching people how to people watch that includes setting parameters, natural observation, location, and recording thoughts.
Foursquare will tell you the best places to go to people watch. You just have to search by location. Amazon has books to help you learn to read their body language as you observe the people you
stalk watch. And BuzzFeed has an article on the 12 best games to play while people watching.
Does that make you uncomfortable? To think that people are sitting back with a Starbucks macchiato and playing a game while they watch you from a place they searched out on BuzzFeed?
Um, it kinda does me. But, honestly, not enough to stop watching them. After all, they’re already watching me. I might as well have some fun and grab some inspiration while I watch them back.
So what about you? Do you people watch? Have you ever used what you’ve seen or heard while out and about as inspiration or are you one to mind your own business and come up with inspiration elsewhere?
Hey, everyone! Don’t forget to check out my latest novel, The Stock, at Swoon Reads! You can read it for free, along with other great books! Then, cast your vote for it to when a publishing contract with Swoon Reads, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing. I’d be so grateful! Happy reading!