Senses working overtime*

Lately I’ve been catching up on some writing related podcasts. This has included a binge-like session of the ‘Your Creative Life’ podcasts with Vanessa Carnevale. The format of this podcast has recently changed with the addition of a co-host, Kimberley Foster. This has allowed for an expansion of the format with the podcasts now starting off with a chat between Vanessa and Kim, talking about the writing process amongst other things.

Recently they compared notes on influential writing books that they’ve read. My ears pricked up, not least of all because a book I’d recently picked up but hadn’t started reading was mentioned. It is Writing from the Senses by Laura Deutsch.

The title appealed to me as it is a frequent encouragement to write where possible using all of the senses. Sight is the most obvious sense used, but a greater depth can be added to your writing by engaging all of the senses. The book is divided into sections which provide outlines and examples of how to use the various senses in your writing. The examples are a mixture of excerpts from the author’s own writing and samples from work completed by students in her writing classes. These provide a wide range of writing styles and some really interesting ways in which to include senses in your written work. The examples are vibrant and engaging, and there are exercises to try at the end of each chapter.

While I am still making my way through the book, I found myself feeling hyper-alert to all things sensory after reading it. I have been travelling lately, seeing towns and cities that were new to me, and whilst this would in itself create a heightened sense of awareness, reading Deutsch’s book has really encouraged me to take the time to write these details down, the snippets which capture the essence of what I am seeing, hearing, tasting, feeling and smelling around me. Apart from hopefully improving my writing, this has also helped me feel more engaged in the world around me.

How do you get your writing senses working overtime?

* Taken from Senses Working Overtime by XTC

[Photo: Horizon in sight from Mt Tomah Botanical Gardens]

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