Sensory Experiences in Writing

It’s sooo important to add sensory details to your writing. These details are the enticements which pull the reader into your story, smells and tastes that trigger memories, sights and sounds that bring the words to life, and feelings, universally known by our human species (and possibly others as well.)

This week is all about the senses. Today and later in the week, I’ll be sharing some sensory experiences inspired by common objects and places. Today, senses and objects.


Listen. Outside, the wind is blowing, and inside, hanging from the wall by the string that ties their stems together, is a pair of gooseneck gourd maracas, intricately carved and painted with nature’s colors – black, brown, and orange. Inside the gourds, the dried seeds cry to get out.

I listen to the maracas rattle in the wind, each seed striking the gourd skin and each other; snapping, toneless bells invite me to dance. Skirts swirl; hands clap.

This sound is happiness.


Sniff. I’ve just brought in my hiking boots. Three smells separate and rise in the air pulled around by the ceiling fan. Leather twitches my nose, brings thoughts of cattle and horses, animal warmth. The sandy remains of the desert trail recall the rocky winding trail through cedars and pine, the glittery bits of mica in the boulders. Finally, sweat reminds me of the hot day, the feel of my leg muscles, pulling me up the slope, slowing me as I return down the hill, working, pulling, keeping me upright, helping me to balance on the uneven earth.

This smell is freedom.


Touch. I close my eyes and reach for the journal. Smooth and rectangular: front, back and spine. Sensitive fingertips tingle, pushing into the front, trying to decipher the dips and rises of the words embossed on the leather. A basting stitch runs along three of the edges. Inside the front and back covers are thin paper pieces, bound together at the spine. Pages and pages, uniform in size and shape and feel. Pages for a pen or pencil. Pages to write and read my words.

This feel is adventure.


(Check back on Friday for more sensory experience of place)

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