Most famous writers have this in common: they are insatiably curious about the world around them and what makes people tick. When asked about their craft and how they find the amazing stories they tell, they frequently remark that they just listen for them.
A good writer trains himself to see things that are happening for what they really are, and that usually has little to do with what’s occurring on the surface. There’s always something else going on — hidden — just below.
The truth is it’s really hard to listen when you’re talking. So, as parents and spouses and co-workers, we might try this little trick: Think of yourself like a writer of a script instead of an actor in a scene. Refuse to dismiss the other person’s fears or arguments as silly. Listen for what’s NOT being said; listen for what’s REALLY going on.
Also, don’t ignore your own anxiety or frustration. Listen for why your button got pushed. Be as curious about what makes the other person (and yourself) tick as a writer is with his characters. You might be surprised at the new stories (maybe even happy endings?) you can create.