It’s been a while since I wrote about writing related books here, so I thought I’d share with you about a book I just finished reading – Writing from the Senses. This book fits in with with previous posts observation and mindfulness that have been published here.
Writing from the Senses
60 Exercises to Ignite Creativity and Revitalize Your Writing
by Laura Deutsch
Shambhala Publications, Inc.
The sensory details that infuse our everyday experience—the smell of a favorite dish cooking, the texture of a well-worn coat, hearing a song that reminds you of a person or a time in your life—can be used to add richness and spark to what we write. Whether you are a professional writer (or want to be one) or someone who enjoys just writing for your own personal fulfillment, Writing from the Senses will show you how to tap into an endless source of engaging material, using your senses as prompts. The exercises will stimulate you to develop stories, imagery, and details that will allow readers to see, taste, hear, smell, and feel that they’re in the scene.
Writing from the Senses:
•Provides 60 prompts and creative writing exercises organized by sense;
•Presents engaging narratives, personal essays, and instruction to entertain and inform readers and illustrate the effectiveness of each exercise;
•Helps writers recognize the sensory prompts that surround them daily and use them to trigger their individual stories; and
•Shows how free writes from the prompts in this book can result in publishable pieces.
About the author
Laura Deutsch is the author of Writing from the Senses, published by Shambhala in 2014. A world traveler, Laura leads writing workshops from Tassajara to Tuscany, and has taught writing at the University of California at Berkeley, San Francisco State University, Book Passage, Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, Green Gulch Farm Zen Center, in southwest France, and in Tuscany, Italy. Her popular workshops include Writing from the Senses, Personal Essay and Memoir, Writing as a Spiritual Practice, and How to Get Into Print. Laura’s coaching clients have had their work published in top-tier magazines, newspapers, books, and other media.
Laura’s personal essays and features have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco magazine, MORE magazine, Time Out, Eating Well, and many other publications. Her writing has been published in several anthologies, including Best Women’s Travel Writing and Leave the Lipstick, Take the Iguana, and has aired on public radio.
Following her graduation from Bryn Mawr College, Laura was a guest editor at Mademoiselle magazine. Her studies included a year in Europe and a year in Mexico as a Fulbright Scholar. Laura holds a J.D. degree from the University of Chicago Law School. Prior to specializing in writing and teaching, she served as trial counsel, corporate counsel, and law clerk to a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Sample exercises from Writing From The Senses
Paying attention to how much food we take in—its tastes and textures, chewing sufficiently, and swallowing—helps us be in the present moment and explore the entire sensory experience.
The book has some exercises that I’ve come across before and there’s too much emphasis on the author’s own experiences, but it’s important for us as writes to become more aware of ourselves and allow our senses to guide us in our writing.