Use Seven Senses to Spark Your Writing

Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison
Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison
"Use Seven Senses to Spark Your Writing" by Joan Y. Edwards

In learning how to write better song lyrics for the musical movie I am writing, I ordered about 6 books about how to write or improve your writing of lyrics from the library. Much to my surprise, when I read Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison, I was amazed that he gave his readers exercises that would not only improve the writing of lyrics, but any kind of creative writing, you might pursue.

He suggests that for ten minutes - only ten minutes a day - not a minute longer to do an Object exercise.
Use seven senses: (There may be more, but Pat Pattison only emphasized seven)
  1. Sight- What you see and what it looks like
  2. Hearing - What you hear with your ears and what it sounds like.
  3. Taste - What you taste and what it tastes like.
  4. Smell - What you smell and what it smells like.
  5. Touch - What you touch and what it feels like: hot, cold, prickly, smooth.
  6. Inside Body Functions (Organic) - Your awareness of inner bodily functions. For example: heartbeat, pulse, muscle tension, stomach-aches, cramps, nausea, and breathing, pain, poisons. Concerns the movement and function of the physical organs insights and senses inside your body. 
  7. Kinesthetic - Sense of motion, speed of motion, balance, gravity. Use of the body to do something or create something, to move. 

For ten minutes you write freely. The only thing is you write sentences or phrases about the object. Tell something you remember about this object. Show us in as many ways as you can. Use your senses. Make it personal to you or write as a character in a story. You are free to include who, what, when, where, why, and how to your writing during the exercise. I think it would be a good idea to read over the different senses described here before you begin to write.

Pattison says that each time you do it, you'll dive deeper into your subconscious mind and get all those treasured word jewels hiding out in there. Each time you do it, you'll get more relaxed and able to dive down sooner than you did the last time. You can pretend you are a character seeing or using this object.

Pattison says not to spend longer than ten minutes a day doing this. He warns that people stop because they say it takes too long when they spend more than ten minutes. Or they say, I did 30 minutes today. I can skip Thursday and Friday. When you do it regularly, you reap the benefits.

I'm going to put a word here: SALT. I'd like for you to share what you wrote about it during your ten minute exercise as a comment. If you don't want to share your writing, just tell me how and why you think this will lead you to improved writing.

Here are five other words you might like to do a free 10 minute exercise for 5 different days:
  1. sand
  2. clock
  3. concrete
  4. beret
  5. refrigerator
I did a 10-minute writing exercise for the word Salt. I will post it in the comments area. I may not have used all 7 senses, but I had fun writing it. If you like these kind of exercises, let me know. I'll try to dream up or find a few others to try to help us improve our writing.

Celebrate you
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards
Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

Pat Pattison. "Writing Better Lyrics:" 

Never Give Up-Joan Y. Edwards
My Books:
Flip Flap Floodle, even mean ole Mr. Fox can't stop this little duck
Joan’s Elder Care Guide, Release date June 2014 by 4RV Publishing


Heidiwriter said...

This is excellent, Joan. Using the 5 senses has been ingrained in me and I try to relay their importance to my students and editing clients. This gives us more to think about! Thanks.

Magdalena Ball said...

Use of the senses is so critical, Joan. I think it's often the difference between good, and great writing. Thanks for the reminder and for the helpful exercise.

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Heidi,
Thanks for writing. I'm glad you liked the additional senses to focus on describing in our writing. It definitely adds depth, I believe. It's great that you share your wisdom, knowledge, and skills with your students and clients.

Celebrate you.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Magdalena,
Thank you for writing. You are right. Use of the senses is critical. It may indeed be a gauge to distinguish between good and great writing. You're welcome for the reminder. I'm glad you like the exercise.

Celebrate you.
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Here’s my 10 minutes writing results about salt:

I remember one time when I was about ten years old. I spent the night with my friend, Franny Layman. She lived two doors down from our house on Birch Street. For breakfast after the sleepover, I fixed myself a bowl of Wheaties, Breakfast of Champions.

On the table was a tiny fancy glass bowl with a white textured crystals inside it. I thought how cool. A little container for sugar. I put a spoonful of the substance on top of my cereal.

I went to the refrigerator and got a bottle of milk. The paper stopper and removed the paper stopper from the top. I poured the smooth textured milk on top of my cereal. It moved and covered all of it.

After Franny used the milk, she put it back in the refrigerator. She ate Fruity pebbles. She didn’t need any sugar.

We didn’t ask the blessing. Perhaps that might have been a sign. However, I took my spoon and stirred the cereal so that the sugar would get mixed in thoroughly.

Then I was ready to eat. I put a spoonful of the cereal in my mouth.
“EE-UU. Yuch. What a bad taste!

Mrs. Layman came into the kitchen. She said, “What’s wrong, Joan?”
I said my cereal tastes terrible. It doesn’t taste sweet at all. I used the sugar from this cute container here.

Then Mrs. Layman and Franny laughed and laughed. Mrs. Layman said, “Joan, that was salt. The sugar is in the big sugar bowl in the cupboard.

I laughed then, too.
The End of the Ten Minutes -That’s when the timer went off. I’m not sure how many senses I used. But it was fun going back in time to the experience with the salt.

Feel free to post your passage about SALT here. I would love to read it.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Great exercise. I have used similar techniques when I'm feeling stuck and uninspired.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mary Jo,
Thanks for writing. I'm glad you are able to find exercises to help you when you are stuck! Good luck with your writing.

Never Give UP
Joan Y. Edwards

Karen Cioffi said...

Joan, what great information. This is actually a writing exercise I'll try out. I love short and easy. Oh, I've written two songs, lyrics and music. Interestingly, I can write fiction and nonfiction without that special spark of inspiration, but for creating music I need that spark.

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Karen,
Thanks for writing. I'm glad you believe this is great information. Let me know if you liked doing the exercise. It was fun for me.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Melanie said...

Great article, Joan. Thanks for the reminder of how important it is to include the senses in our writing.

Margaret Fieland said...

Joan, I took a songwriting course from Pat Pattison through Coursera, and used Pat's book. The book and the course were absolutely amazing. Love the exercise. Thanks for posting it.

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Melanie,
Thank you for writing. You are right. It is important to include the sense in our writing. Good luck with all your writing goals.

Never Give Up

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Margaret,
Sorry I missed responding to your comment. I'm glad that you enjoyed a songwriting course with Pat Pattison! How exciting!

Never Give Up

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