The Writer’s Senses

I am told as a writer to engage all of the senses and relate these to the reader. A more complete image will form in his or her mind. It is difficult sometimes to describe the smell of snow and air that is not tainted by pollution; or to describe silence which fills the entire being with peace; or to find words to paint a picture which is beyond the imagination. Although I am not a poet I do love reading poetry and can imagine how difficult it can be to identify that one perfect word which will fully embrace the thought, the senses and still fit into the pattern comfortably creating harmonious verse.

This photo was taken in the Canadian Rockies, well known for its beautiful landscape. I found it impossible to describe it properly to people after I returned from our trip. We had wonderful photos but they did not convey the sense of wonder or peace or awe I felt. This is my struggle as a writer.


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9 responses to “The Writer’s Senses

  1. This is so true. Sometimes there really aren’t any words adequate to describe something, and yet… I’ve found that when I get really frustrated by my lack of ability to articulate something, there comes a point where you just have to tantalize your reader’s imagination and they will do a remarkable job of filling in the rest. It might not be exactly what you were hoping for… but then, it could be better.

  2. Those mountains are wicked cool.

    And as for what rich said, I appreciate it myself. I’m constantly struggling with words, and quite possibly, berating myself for my insufficiency at finding the words to describe how I feel or what I sensed.

    I was going to try to form my own words based on that picture, try to evoke the senses and test myself. I already thought ahead about it and formed the words, “As I breathe in, the crisp air cuts through my nose and goes straight to my chest”. Everything else I was going to continue on that line.

    Being right, finding the right words, has become so important to me. It’s still important. But I already know I’ve gotten past the hard part. I used to be horrible at writing. I used to be so quiet, you might think I was mute. I’ve grown. Now my aim is to continue to grow.

    Let me finish the thought above.

    “As I breathe in, the crisp air cuts through my nose and goes straight to my chest. I breathe in, deeply, feeling the swell of life fill me, intoxicate me. I look around. The trees and the mountains, the beauty of nature. I’m grounded on the solid rocky ground, yet this place makes me feel like I’m floating in air.

    “This is the beauty of the world. This is what we should aspire to. The clean air on my tongue is so rich, and I’m connected to the ground again. I can smell the strong tang of pine and the soft iciness of snow. I can hear nothing but the gentle whoosh of the breeze and the dull thud of my heart beat.”

    Oh, I feel so fulfilled. This is actually based upon a memory of my own. Thanks for this.

  3. the important part is not that you didn’t find the words. the important part is that you knew there needed to be words. not everybody gets those emotions and desires to write and describe something. it starts with the urge and need to tell people something. the words can always come later, but no words will ever come unless you first have the ability to know that words are needed.

    that’s the first step to writing. knowing that something needs to be told.

    • Thank you Rich. I appreciate this comment and feel inspired by your words. Regards.

      • that’s what i was aiming for. a way for you to see that you already have the hard part – which is probably something we’re born with. finding the words, that’s the easy part that comes with time and practice and reading and reading and more reading.

  4. I find interesting descriptions fascinating when I read. I sometimes find myself pausing and considering the words, sometimes I will try and make the expressions and movements that are being described… maybe I’m just weird!!

    • Thank you for your comment. It is really important to me to know that my deliberating over descriptions are worth it if the reader considers the words as you tell me. Kind regards.

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