Writers are Observers

19 Nov

003Welcome back to Artistry with Words.  I’m  your host, Bill Holland, and for the next few minutes I’ll be tossing ideas at you and hoping some of them stick.

Let me begin today by telling you that yesterday I went to the Laundromat.  Trust me, this will tie into writing if you just bear with me for a few.


You can observe a lot by watching.

Yogi Berra
God bless Yogi!


Okay, back to the Laundromat.  Our dryer gave up the ghost and went to that huge appliance store in the sky, and that meant Bill had to go to the laundromat. Now there was a time in my life when I would have dreaded that particular trip, but now I’m a writer and I see it for what it is…a great opportunity to observe.

If you want to see “real people,” and a great cross-section of America, go to a Laundromat.  There is every type of human creature at a Laundromat, no matter when you go.  I’m talking about fascinating, and if you are a writer it is an experience you really owe yourself.

I don’t know how many times I’ve had writers tell me they have trouble with character descriptions.  I had one writer tell me that all of his descriptions sounded the same and for whatever reason he simply could not make his characters come alive.  That’s where the Laundromat comes in handy.

I was there an hour and I literally spent the hour writing people descriptions in a notebook.  My fellow laundry people gave me some great stuff to work with, and you can bet a few of them will show up in future stories and books.


Either go to a Laundromat or go to WalMart.  Either one will be invaluable.


I’m going back to work, part-time, starting next week.  I’ll probably be gone three days a week, so obviously that will severely cut back on my writing, but….oh well.

Why am I doing this?  Well, we need a new dryer for one. LOL  Seriously, we have had some unexpected expenses and I need to make some more money, but the other reason is because I’ve spent  the better part of four years tied to my desk churning out thousands of articles and four books, and this writer needs to step out into the real world and find out what life is all about.  Being “isolated” is not good for this guy, so I need to “go public.”

I just mention that because my exposure online will be limited as long as I’m working this new job.

And yes, I’ll miss our daily interactions.

But I’m not dying; I just won’t be here daily to bug you.

Thanks for dropping by!


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”


25 Responses to “Writers are Observers”

  1. Janine Huldie November 19, 2015 at 7:50 pm #

    Aw, Bill excited for this new chapter in your life and wish you tons of luck next week at your first week on the new job. That said, I haven’t been to a laundromat in years, but have gone to Walmart recently and you are right about the people you come into contact with there and could probably write a whole book on that alone. But still great advice and always appreciate it. Have a wonderful rest of the day now!! 🙂

    • Billybuc November 19, 2015 at 8:35 pm #

      Thank you Janine! If nothing else, it will be interesting. It’s been quite awhile since I rubbed shoulders with the masses. 🙂

  2. ruchira November 19, 2015 at 7:51 pm #

    Good luck with your new gig…going public will help you observe the behavior of humans and write even better 🙂


    • Billybuc November 19, 2015 at 8:35 pm #

      We can always hope so, Ruchira! Thank you!

  3. denisewa58 November 19, 2015 at 7:55 pm #

    I wouldn’t consider your daily chats with writers “bugging them,” rather I would consider it “hugging” them! We love you, Bill! You have been an encouragement and strength to many, and if going back to work is what is needed in your life, so be it! We wish you the best!

    • Billybuc November 19, 2015 at 8:36 pm #

      Thank you Denise. That is very kind of you and I feel the same way about all of you.

  4. marlenebertrand November 19, 2015 at 8:14 pm #

    People-watching! One of my favorite activities. Have you ever noticed that in every crowd there is one individual who is loud or commands attention? I always have fun watching people’s interaction with that individual.

    • Billybuc November 19, 2015 at 8:37 pm #

      Marlene, I have noticed that. I guess it’s just the pecking order of our species being established. 🙂 Great observation, my friend. Hey, I hope you are feeling better.

      • marlenebertrand November 19, 2015 at 8:42 pm #

        Thank you, Bill. I am managing some minor complications, but overall doing well.

  5. Sally November 19, 2015 at 9:19 pm #

    First of all Billy, my best wishes for your venture out into the big wide world next week.

    Your laundromat reminds me of the trip I took into town on public transport today. I listened and observed and I came home armed with some interesting material for a hub. That was the positive side of today.
    I am not into buying new appliances, it seems to me that they lose their value the minute they walk through your door. Don’t you have a freecycle in your neck of the woods?

    • Billybuc November 20, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

      Hi Sally! I’m afraid I don’t know what a freecycle is….we do have an indoor clothesline in the garage, though, so we will dry them the old-fashioned way until we can buy a used dryer. 🙂

  6. marcoujor November 19, 2015 at 10:03 pm #

    All the best in this new chapter, dear Bill.

    Wishing you and Bev a peaceful Thanksgiving as well. Love, Maria

    • Billybuc November 20, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

      Thank you Maria! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, and love always


  7. Audrey Howitt November 20, 2015 at 1:45 am #

    I think Libraries are good for that kind of thing as well–enjoy your time in the real world! And have a wonderful holiday!

    • Billybuc November 20, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

      Oh yes, Audrey, libraries are marvelous.

      Thank you and Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.

  8. Melanie November 20, 2015 at 6:51 am #

    Haha! So funny you mentioning the laundromat… when we were in San Francisco, we had to make a trip to a self-serve one (the drop off and go ones are crazy expensive!!). That hour wasn’t as long as I thought it would be because of the people watching! Such interesting characters you find in the laundromat…. it’s such a cool place, because people really let their guard down and tend to be themselves.

    Enjoy the start of your new part-time job, Bill! Great time to start – near the holidays. 🙂

    • Billybuc November 20, 2015 at 2:45 pm #

      Thank you Mel! I’m glad you had a chance to visit some real people at the laundromat during your stay in the States. LOL I hope you are well, my friend.

  9. phoenix2327 November 20, 2015 at 11:10 am #

    Thanks for the tip, Bill. This has just given me an idea for padding out my characters.

    Another place to go is a sidewalk cafe. My husband and I do this when the weather is nice. As we sip our coffee, observe people going about their business and regale each other with little stories about what they’re up to, what sort of people they are etc. My husband can be such a devil sometimes but it’s good exercise for my creative muscles.

    Good luck on your new job and keep us posted. I bet you’ll meet some interesting characters there and I can’t wait to read the stories you’ll come up with.

    • Billybuc November 20, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

      Thank you for the tip, Zulma! Sidewalk cafes are great places for people-watching. Bev and I do the same thing and yes, I’m the devil with my descriptions to her. 🙂

  10. Greg Boudonck November 20, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

    You are so right Bill. I often just view people and the ways the react and interact. It can provide so many ideas. Thanks for the reminder, and good luck on the new job.

    • Billybuc November 20, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

      Thank you Greg! As always I appreciate you.

  11. Dee November 21, 2015 at 3:31 am #

    Hey, Bill, I admire you for stepping up to help out with expenses. It’s the reason I teach part-time. Like you, I have collected some really good notes for future writing. Whether it’s the laundromat or a high school classroom, the characters are interesting. Today I discovered the Lion King movie still brings tears to the eyes of a 12th grade student (some openly wept while others silently dropped tears onto their notebooks). Best wishes as you open a new chapter in your life. Have a great Thanksgiving and God bless you and Bev.

    • Billybuc November 21, 2015 at 5:00 pm #

      Dianna, I’m not surprised at all that high school seniors cried watching that movie. I’ve seen the same reactions in a classroom. Some things are universal.

      Thank you for your kind thoughts. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  12. Billybuc November 22, 2016 at 6:42 pm #

    thanks for reading


  1. Writing Scene Descriptions | Artistry With Words - November 22, 2016

    […] Writers are observers. We observe for our readers and then share with them. […]

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