Writing is about observation first. The words come second.
Observation is noticing and perceiving life in action. If we can't see, smell, hear and touch—or worse if we don't do those things—our words won't connect with our audience. Readers always compare a book to their own observations of the world.
Life can be observed by listening to others. When I began writing in junior high, I created sages and wise men who I wished would offer life-changing advice to another character who needed a life-change. However, I did not have the knowledge to make a wise man actually sound any wiser than a 15-year-old. Where could I get some inspiring quote? My option was listening to others. I listened carefully and wrote down what I heard.
“Rarely is character forged in the cool breeze of abundance. It is usually wrought in fires of difficulty.“ Reverend Brett Fuller
“Stay curious and you will travel to the ends of the earth.” Sun-Maid Raisins Box
“If you know anything about fairy tales, you know that a hero doesn’t appear until the world really needs one.” The narrator in The Tale of Despereaux.
“You seldom see what you’re not looking for.” Bill Johnson, speaker
“There’s something in human genes that drives you to explore, the sense that you’re seeing a part of the planet that no one’s seen before.” Graham Hawkes, submersible designer
“Guests are like fish. After three days, they both begin to stink.” Grandma
“It was so cold we dressed in front of the oven.” Larry Rusch, an uncle
“Rebellions are built on hope.” Star Wars: Rogue One.
Sages who can't change a life are sages in name only. Writers who don't observe are writers in name only.