Writing Through the Senses of a Child

Have you ever watched a toddler explore the world? Whatever circumstance we place before them, they move about touching, seeing, tasting, smelling, and hearing their way through their environment. They sample everything and turn their experiences upside down and sideways, often wedging themselves in the least expected nook to see life in a way their eyes have yet to behold. I’m convinced if that toddler were capable of writing their encounters in words, we’d have some of the best poetry and prose the world has ever seen.

Somewhere along the way to adulthood that desire to thoroughly investigate our surroundings springs a leak. Maybe we become lazy or get bogged in the mire of disappointment and forget how to enjoy the adventure. Or maybe we form prejudices and borrow the narrow opinions of others instead of reaching for the ideas dangling from our own study and observation.

Life is tough, no question about it. But should we allow our weariness or indifference or slothfulness keep us knee-deep in the mud? As writers, taking time to explore our world in new ways is vital to our success. We must feel the textures of our thoughts, smell the meaning of the moment, taste the laughter and tears that living life rains down upon our literary tongues. As we seek new angles of our existence, somehow we have to clutch the vision and translate the data into words that others can hear in their hearts.

How do we lick life and explain the flavor on the page? Some of my favorite techniques are analogy or metaphor. Imagery can draw pictures in the mind and help the reader see what we’re trying to say. But maybe this post tastes too sweet or smells too flowery for your liking. That’s okay. We can choose from a variety of methods to decipher and explain our corner of the world. Please share how you delve into your part of the whole and how you translate your inner thoughts into the written word? I bet we can learn incredible things from each other.


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