Look Up!

by Karen Ball

Two young women talking outdoor

A friend shared the video at the end of this blog with me in response to what I wrote here last week. I love the message, not just for me personally, but for anyone who seeks to touch people through their writing. Because really, how effective can we be in what we’re doing as writers if we don’t see and spend time with the people around us? We write about our “core audience” in our proposals, but have we spent time with them lately? Talked with them? Listened to their hearts and fears and joys? Do we really know them?

So here are my challenges for myself. And for you:

Look up.

Meet someone’s eyes.

Chat with a stranger.

Chat with your family!

Tell someone your story.

Listen to them tell theirs.

Be present!

I’m going to try these things. And when my head starts to turn down, to look at that screen, I’m going to condition myself to think, “Look up!” Because I don’t know about you, but I don’t want life and friends and family to pass me by because I’m too busy looking at Facebook, websites, blogs, games, Twitter, or anything that isn’t…human!

Look up, friends. There’s a wonderful world waiting for you. And engaging in it will only make you a better writer.

Enjoy the video.

8 Responses to Look Up!

  1. Rudy u Martinka May 21, 2014 at 5:47 am #

    I added your post as an added perspective to my post. If you prefer I delete, let me know and I will do so.

    Regards and good will blogging.

  2. Andrea (Wood) Nell May 21, 2014 at 5:51 am #

    So true, Karen. It’s too easy to get sucked in by the digital replacement for communication and connection that we are missing opportunities every day to have something real. Great reminder! Thanks!

  3. Patti Jo Moore May 21, 2014 at 7:22 am #

    Excellent reminder post, Karen. So very true (and I love that video – – a friend had posted it on Facebook too)- – gave me goosebumps! 😉

  4. Jeanne Takenaka May 21, 2014 at 8:05 am #

    Karen, what a great video. The message is so needed today. When I flew a few months ago, I tried to be available to talk with the people around me. I had the privilege of engaging in some very interesting conversations, and even having the chance to broach the topic of Jesus with someone. So many people around me were glued to their iPads, either playing a game or watching a movie. It was a fascinating, if sad, study of our culture.

    I’m taking your exhortation, especially as my kids come home for summer, to LOOK UP. Thank you for this.

  5. Elizabeth M Thompson May 21, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    Wow! What a great reminder. It’s so easy to get caught up in our digital reality and miss what really matters!

  6. Karen Ball May 21, 2014 at 11:01 am #

    I saw this illustrated last night when we took my husband out to Red Lobster for his bday dinner. There was a couple seated behind Don, so they were in my direct line of sight. They were sitting at a beautifully set table, each with a glass of wine, waiting for their meals. In my mind’s eye, this was clearly a romantic dinner…but instead of holding hands or gazing into each other’s eyes, they were both sitting there, heads down, staring at their respective smartphones. Not a word was spoken between them from the time they sat down until their food came. The phones only went away because they’d both ordered crab legs and had to use their hands to crack the crab! Happily, they did talk and gaze at each other during the crabfest, but still…

    I’ve decided I refuse to let those moments pass me by any longer.

    • Mary Albers Felkins May 21, 2014 at 2:42 pm #


      One of the best messages I have read/heard lately. I have tried to make a point to go out into the world in small ways and collect things to write about for the same reason. A visit to the nursing home, chat at the gym, a casual hello for the cashier and – BAM – there’s a story, inspiration, blessings.

      Thanks for sharing this!


  7. Katie Vorreiter May 24, 2014 at 7:25 pm #

    This is such a terrific message. A while back our church did a series on this: Notice, Listen, Pray. The emphasis was on being present for others we come across in life. Only by getting to know them and understanding what is going on with them can we pray with specificity or go on to form real relationships.

    But I’ve also found this process orients me squarely in the world. I get out of my head and become present. As a person who can get real stuck on the cerebral hamster wheel, it benefits me just as much.

    A side note: That summer we took the message on our mission trip to Cuba: notar, escuchar, y orar. Globally applicable!

Get New Posts by Email

Get New Posts by Email

Each article is packed with helpful info and encouragement for writers. You can unsubscribe at any time with one click. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!