Listening is one of those skills rarely associated with men. Guys tend to let their minds wander when their ladies start talking, and I’ve found myself doing it on many occasions.

When I have a head full of ideas, worries, and things to think about, the last thing I want to do is hear what my wife has to say. It’s difficult to listen when she’s talking, as I’m thinking about all of “my things”.

But thanks to the time I’ve spent writing, I’ve learned to listen. It seems an odd connection to make, doesn’t it? Here’s why…

When people hear that I’m a writer, they often begin to talk about their “awesome” ideas for a novel. They talk about how they wanted to write, or how they plan to write their own book. When interacting with other writers, they’re as interested in sharing their stuff as I am in sharing mine.

To keep any sort of relationship alive, there is a give and take needed. You have to listen as well as to speak. Since I am trying to establish a base of fans and people interested in what I am writing, I have to increase my network and build new relationships. This means that I have to LISTEN to what people say.

People often have great ideas when it comes to writing and stories, and I’ve found that listening to these ideas sparks something in my head. For example, I talked to my teenaged children about ideas for a story I’m working on. Their ideas were NOTHING close to what I actually needed, but they made connections in my mind that led me to developing the current storyline.

When I hear other people talk, it helps my brain to make connections that I would never have thought of otherwise. Their ideas may have nothing to do with what I’m writing or thinking about, but they give me a new perspective that gives me a new angle for my work. Thanks to the listening skills I’ve developed, I’ve come up with many new creative ideas, and I think my writing is much better.

Bonus: My wife likes me much better because I listen to her now!