Tap Into Your Senses to Improve Your Writing

– By Beth Carter

A creative writing class I took in college many years ago has always stuck with me. The professor, Jo Van Arkel, was a talented writer and a caring teacher. She had the ability to make a rock creative (and I told her so). I took three of her classes–Expository Writing, Creative Writing I, and Creative Writing II. I adored the challenge of each class, loved writing essays, short stories, fiction, and non-fiction. But one of the exercises really stood out as a way to strengthen my writing by simply looking, listening, touching, smelling, and tasting. Here it is:

Observation Exercise

Choose a location–indoors or out–quiet or noisy. Notice everyone and everything around you. Tap into all five of your senses for an hour minimum and write everything down. (There was probably a bit more on the instruction sheet but this is the gist of it.)


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About Beth Carter

Multiple award-winning novelist and children's book author. Former bank VP and hospital PR director turned pajama-wearing writer. Find me online or at Starbucks where I'll be writing while sipping a skinny vanilla latte. If I'm not there, it's possible I'm at T.J. Maxx. Happy reading! 2017 Raven Award Runner-Up for Favorite Contemporary - SLEEPING WITH ELVIS; 2015 RONE Winner and 2015 Best Debut Author - THURSDAYS AT COCONUTS.
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