Member Update: Lean Into Your Senses

3 minute read

One of the things that will make you a better writer is getting in touch with your senses.

When you provide your reader with sensory descriptions, you give them the feeling of having the experience you’re describing. In fact, when you read or hear story, your brain responds to the sensory information within it as though you’re having the experience firsthand.

That means learning to describe sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile sensations can help you connect better with your reader.

And honing that ability starts with paying more attention to what’s happening around you, at least some of the time.

Try this exercise.

Go to a park, to a coffee shop, or out on your own front porch. Take a few deep breaths to relax and focus… and then check in with each of your senses in turn.

Take in More with Your Eyes

Your eyes see so much more than you actively think about.

You see light and color. You see shading… movement… texture… depth… shapes…

From your chosen vantage, pick one thing in your line of sight and make a list of all the visual descriptors you can apply to it.

Listen Carefully

After you’ve spent a little time looking more closely at your surroundings, close your eyes and listen.

Make a mental list of the sounds you hear and what’s making them. Listen for differences. Do the leaves rustling on one type of tree sound different from those on another? Can you hear differences in car engines?

In addition to identifying sounds, ascribe qualities to each one you hear. Soft. Silky. Low. Shrill. Dull. Roaring. Harsh.

Breathe Deeply

One of the most ignored senses is the sense of smell. But it’s also one of the best for stirring emotions and calling memories to mind.

Take a deep breath. What are some of the things you smell? Do you smell earth? Fresh cut grass? Coffee brewing? Sawdust? Flowers in bloom? Engine oil? Food being barbecued on a grill?

And how do those things smell? Pick one or two scents and describe how they smell.

What Do You Feel?

Your ability to feel tactile sensations is almost as broad as your ability to see.

You can feel hot and cold… wet and dry… hard and soft… the movement of air currents…

You know the drill. As you’re sitting, getting in touch with all the things you’re sensing, take a moment to pay extra attention to what you feel, and describe one of two of those sensations in detail.

Taste the Air

Unless you have something else to take a taste of… maybe a little snack, a bite of pastry, perhaps.

Savor whatever you sink your teeth into and describe those taste sensations.

If you need a little help with this exercise, you can find a boatload of sensory words in this post from Smartblogger.

The more often you pause and describe to yourself the different sensations you’re experiencing through your senses, the better you’ll be able to describe those same experiences in your writing… and then the more you’ll engage your reader, and on a deeper level, too.

In Case You Missed It…

Pricing your services is complex. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. Your rates will be unique to you and based on a variety of things from your confidence levels to your years of experience to your industry, and more. But in the end, your goal should be to create sustainable and mutually beneficial relationships with your clients, and how you price your services is part of that. In this Reality Blog, Jennifer Ayling explores this complex topic in more depth.

Have you ever considered presenting your copy to your clients as it would appear on a web page? By learning your way around a website builder, you can! This is easier to do than you might think, and the advantages are huge. In her newest Web Content & SEO column, Jonna Jerome walks you through how and why to use a website builder to write even stronger copy.

Even if you don’t want to be in front of a camera, you can still use video in your digital copywriting business, and for your clients. There are a ton of possibilities for how you might use video to grab attention and add value to your services. Even better, there are a ton of tools that make it easier than ever to use video. In the most recent Trends & Technology column, Jennifer Phillips April shares four ways to use video and eight tools to get you started. Check it out!

Mark Your Calendar

August 24: The landscape of SEO is changing, but there’s still a big role for writers to play. In this event, Rebekah Mays, an SEO content writer and strategist, joins us to talk about generative search and to show you how to approach writing projects to help your clients rank in the age of AI. See all the details here.

3 Things You Might Enjoy…

Need some fresh ideas for your social media posts? Hootsuite shares 17 ways to give your social media strategy a boost.

And if you’re looking for some fresh ideas to market your business or to help a client market theirs, HubSpot shares 50 ideas perfect for small businesses.

And finally, a few fresh thoughts about work-life balance

That’s all for now. Have a great week!