Friday, November 18, 2016

The Writer's Eye

A wonderful writer who reported for and had a long-running column in the Kansas City Star passed away a few days ago. Yesterday, the paper ran a heartwarming farewell article featuring him and his writing. C.W. Guswelle was one of those writers who had the natural gift for the craft, even though he had to hone it and allow it to grow in the early years.

Mike Francher, who wrote and edited at the same newspaper was quoted in the article when asked about Guswelle. He said, "His writing talent and powers of observation were so good, he could've gone anywhere to live out his journalism career."

The phrase that jumped out at me in the quote was powers of observation. He did have a great talent for writing in a simple way that caught his readers in a net and kept them there until he was finished with what he had to say. His many books and myriad columns were made possible by those strong powers of observation that he had.

I'd guess that he had the writer's eye very early but that with each increasing year, he fine-tuned that ability until he achieved the 'master writer's eye.' That's something we writers should all strive to do. First to find your writer's eye and then to let it grow to maturity. You want to be able to use those powers of observation wherever you go. Use it when on a trip to a foreign country or when taking a walk in your neighborhood. Practise it at the local grocery store or when attending a symphony performance.

The more we sharpen our powers of observation, the better writer we will become. We have to see before we write. It takes practise to walk down the street and see more than a sidewalk, some trees and houses in a row.

I hope you'll click on the link above and read some of Guswelle's columns about his beloved hunting dogs, his family and other simple things in life. Whenever I read his columns, I felt like I was actually there--whatever place he was writing about. A gifted writer for sure.

What about your writer's eye, or powers of observation? How good are they? Would you like to make them better? Start looking around you more carefully than you ever have. You might be surprised at what you see.

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