What is it? A jellyfish or a ??? A leaf or a ???

How often do you take a really close look at things?  What do you think this image is?  Think of three things you think it is likely to be before you continue reading.  No cheating!!  Consider it a bit of mental exercise.

What about this one.  It’s a leaf right?

Take another look.  Are you sure?

You must choose ONLY one answer for this one before you keep reading.

Practicing the art of observation and taking a closer look at everyday things and the world around us requires us to step beyond ourselves and really take the time to notice the details. This exercise helps us in many aspects of both our creative and everyday  lives.

Enhanced Awareness

When you begin to practice close observation you will become more aware of details and you will find yourself living more fully in the moment.  Time will slow down as you watch the butterfly hatch, the path of the bird across the sky.  You will see beauty in everyday objects, like the curve of the candlestick, the intricate details on a drawer handle.

This heightened sense of awareness will increase your sense of enjoyment and wonder in your daily life and the world around you.

Art and Writing

Close observation will also lead to more ideas for your art and writing and improve your work itself.

The more you observe people and and the world, the more information you will receive. This will in turn lead to more ideas for your creative outlets.

Another way noticing details will help is in your writing itself. We all know the show don’t tell principle. Being aware of details will make it easier to do this. Instead of saying; ‘James was angry. He glared at me and…’  You will be able to show this based on your observations of real life situations; ‘The tic at the corner of James’ eye started to twitch. I could see the vein in his neck pulsing as he ground his teeth.  He narrowed his eyes and…’

Activity 1

Take a walk around the block or down the street. (Or go into your garden and look at the world from the height of a 5 year old). Take note of the details you see. When you get home look at your details and come up with 3 story ideas based on one of the details you noticed.

Activity 2

Take your camera and take photos of 3 things you can see in your garden or in your house.  Put them on the computer and zoom them in on one section. Choose one of your zoomed images and use it as a starter for a piece of writing.

Activity 3

Go somewhere where there are lots of people – library, bus station, supermarket, playground and observe just one person.  Write down as many details as you can. At home create a short story based around the character you have observed. Use your details to bring the piece alive.
With all of these activities the most important thing is to have fun…and make sure you be subtle when observing in public otherwise you might get some funny looks or be asked to move on.
And finally to reveal what the pictures are…

Photo 1:

 taken by me.


Photo 2:

taken by my daughter


Have fun everyone,





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