Engage Your Senses: Getting the Words to Flow

Sunday, October 27, 2019
There are times that even if you don’t feel like writing, you need to get words on paper. Maybe it is because you are taking part in NaNoWriMo. Or you might be facing a deadline. Or you get to write two hours a week while your partner takes the kids to the park and that time is NOW. Fortunately, engaging your senses can help the worlds start to flow.

Sound. We often think of reading and writing as visual but before we wrote stories down we told them to each other. Whether you listen to an audio book or a podcast, listening to something for ten minutes is a great way to ease yourself into the world of story. You can also seek out relaxing sounds. For me, that would be rain on a metal roof. For other people it is flowing water, wind chimes, or the crackle of a fire in the fireplace. Sound can both prime the creative pumps and set the mood for writing.

Smell and Taste. Another way to set the mood is through scent. Mint is a stimulating smell so a cup of mint tea can help wake up your brain. I know a lot of my writing friends choose tea but I tend more towards coffee, a deep espresso roast. For scent, my personal preference is a licorice candle. The slightly sweet, full smell tells my brain it is time to get to work because I only light this particular candle when it is time to write.

Sight. In a blog post, Author Rosalie Morales Kearns looks at art books when she needs to fill her writing well.  She doesn’t read the text but simply gazes her fill. I do something similar with Pixabay, checking out the newest images. I also go online and shop for yarn, beads, or antique china, taking in the rich hues and textures.

Touch and Motion. For me, touch is about relaxation as much as it is about getting ready to write. But sometimes I need to relax so that I can write. That yarn and bead shopping I mentioned? I knit, crochet, weave, bead and do hand sewing. I put together jigsaw puzzles and bake bread. A friend of mine is highly kinetic. She has a yoga routine that she does when she needs to get to work. I don’t have a routine but Moon Salutation can be helpful.

Do you need to engage all your senses? Eventually. After all, it is something you want your readers to do when they experience your work. But you will find that some things work better than others so don’t just go with what I do. Explore and find a combination that works for you.

After all, NaNoWriMo is coming.


To find out more about Sue Bradford Edwards' writing, visit her blog, One Writer's Journey.  Sue is also the instructor for Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults. The next session begins November 18th, 2019.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Yes, Novemeber 1 is coming in just a few days.

It's funny. I knit (used to hand piece and hand quilt) and I always thought of it as a way to take a break from my writing, but I never thought of the sensory aspect, how the feel of the yarn and the needles (or the pull of the thread, the feel of the fabric) could help engage my writing brain.

Sue--as usual, thanks. Your thoughtful posts, windows into YOUR writing brain, help me reflect upon my practice.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Sioux, Thank you. I love learning what works for other writers. And thank you for your many book recommendations! You keep the librarians at my branch busy.

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