How to Become a Better Writer by Becoming a Better Noticer

Let’s take an example from one of the greatest noticers in history, David Foster Wallace. In his famous commencement speech, “This is Water”—which is about the power of noticing—Foster Wallace recounts the experience of going to a grocery store on a stressful day. A less skilled noticer might write, “You go to the store and it’s crowded. The cashier looks angry and the shopping carts are broken.” Now see how the same moment comes alive in Foster’s prose through better noticing: