Ten Minutes a Day to Good Writing Using Seven Senses


Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison

Writing Better Lyrics by Pat Pattison

“Ten Minutes a Day to Good Writing Using Seven Senses” 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. Organic – Your awareness of inner bodily functions. For example: heartbeat, pulse, muscle tension, stomach-aches, cramps, and breathing. Concerns the movement and function of the physical organs insights and senses inside your body. Knowing when you’re hungry, sweaty, thirsty, etc. Receptors: control the breathing rate, tell if there’s not enough oxygen, then sense of suffocating; Receive inputs from poisons, drugs, and hormones and communicate with vomiting center; tell too much sugar; can tell if you’re blushing; your esophagus senses if you’re swallowing, vomiting, or having acid reflux; the pharynx in your throat can give a gag reflex if you’re choking; urinary bladder and rectum sense fullness; stretch sensors tell when blood veins dilate and cause a headache; Pain;
  7. Kinesthetic – Use of the body to do something or create something, to move. Sense of motion, speed of motion,  balance, your relationship with the world around you. Sense of gravity. If they have a glittery disco ball with lights shimmering across your eyes and body, you might feel a little disjointed and dizzy. Riding a roller coaster gives you a different view and feeling about your surroundings. Anything to do with the movement of the body, like recognizing that to get into the tunnel you have to crouch down low if you’re tall. Anything to do with the body parts. Knowing how to place your hands, feet, and arms to hit a golf ball is kinesthetic sense. Sports, acting in a play, juggling, riding a skateboard or surfboard, playing music, molding pottery, performing surgery, driving a car, riding a bicycle are kinesthetic exercises.

There are other senses, too.  Perception of time passing, space sense, distance perception. When he mentioned the last two senses, it shocked and surprised me. I’d never heard them mentioned in this way. I had to do a little research to explain it in a language I understood.

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.

Pat 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.

Pat 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.

It has over 200 pages of tips about Writing Better Lyrics. Some hints will help with writing poetry and other creative works. I highly recommend it.

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. I’ll choose a random person who leaves a comment before midnight next Wednesday, March 13, 2013 to receive a free pitch and 1000 word manuscript critique or a copy of my picture book, Flip Flap Floodle.

Reference:

Pat Pattison. “Writing Better Lyrics:” http://www.amazon.com/Writing-Better-Lyrics-Pat-Pattison/dp/1582975779/

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 posted it in the comments area. I don’t think that I used all seven senses, but I had fun writing it.

Celebrate you
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

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30 Responses

  1. Hi Joan,
    I’m liked to participate, but I’m swamped.
    The book sounds interesting. I’d never heard of the last two points. 🙂

    Like

    • Dear Tracy,
      Thanks for writing. It’s okay that you’re swamped and won’t be able to participate. But perhaps these two new perceptions will help you with your writing and with your art work, too.

      Celebrate you and your positive way of looking at life
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

  2. Actually, Joan, there are 12 senses. The skin has separate and distinct sense organs for touch, shear (deformation), hot, cold and pain.
    🙂
    Bob

    Like

    • Dear Bob,
      Thanks for writing. Goodness! I always included those just in the skin, itself. I’ll have to change my thinking on that. Thanks for sharing this information with me. Hope you’re doing well. I enjoy hearing from you.

      Celebrate your wisdom
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

  3. The exercise fired me up @ 7 AM, Joan! I enjoyed my ten minutes of concentrating on the senses. But I had a hard time distinguishing the difference between Organic and Kinesthetic. They seem to overlap to me. Thanks so much for sharing what you’re learning.

    Like

    • Dear Juliana,
      I’m glad the exercise fired you up at 7AM! Yee Haw for you and for the exercise. I’m trying to sort those las two out myself. Think of organic as anything going on inside your body. Touch is how things that touch your body feel. I don’t exactly have this second one down pat, yet. Think of kinesthetic as how your body responds in relationship with the world around you.
      Let me know if you have any other thoughts about this. I’m going to write my ten minutes about SALT in a few minutes.
      I hope a few people or more will share what they wrote.

      Celebrate you and your enthusiasm
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

  4. I haven’t done this exercise yet, but I will, and I will remember the 2 new senses I just learned about. I write mostly non-fiction, but non-fiction readers like sensory input, too. Because I believe that my writing grows out of my relationship with Christ, I always hope it will touch a reader’s spirit, not just her intellect. Thanks for sharing this great exercise.

    Like

    • Dear Katherine,
      It’s good to hear from you. I’m glad you are going to try this exercise and remember the two new senses. You’re right. You can use these in your non-fiction writing. When you touch the senses of the reader, you also touch the emotion, and therefore you touch their spirit, too.

      Celebrate your gift of explaining the world in view of your relationship with Christ,
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

  5. Here’s my 10 minutes about salt:
    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.

    Like

    • Wow, you wrote a whole story involving salt. My ten minutes amounted to simple lines focusing on it. Things like: soft swish as it’s poured into a measuring spoon, sharp pain as it’s rubbed into a wound, satisfied cravings after a hot summer day spent sweating, ocean waves knocking me over, etc. I think I could write a song about one of those images…

      Like

      • Dear Juliana,
        Thank you for writing and sharing the fruits of your SALT 10 minute exercise. What wonderful phrases you came up with. They are very lyrical. They would be great for a song! I am proud of you.

        Like

        • Thanks, Joan! I’m thinkin’ country western?

          Like

  6. thanks for this post. Last 1 is new to me. Will incorporate this into my Writing wikis.

    Like

    • Dear Carol,
      Thanks for stopping by. You’re welcome for this post. Isn’t it exciting to learn something new? I’m glad you’ve found a great place to store it as a resource for your writing.

      Celebrate you
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

  7. Dear Juliana,
    A country western song sounds great! “Don’t add salt to my wounds! Be the salt of my life.”

    Celebrate you and your gift of sharing ideas
    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards

    Like

  8. One of the best ways to keep readers’ interest is to Include experiences based on our senses. No doubt about it, our writing will benefit.

    Like

    • Dear Linda,
      Thanks for stopping by. You’re right one of the best ways to keep readers’ interest is to include experiences based on our senses. You do a good job of that in your writing. Enjoy your day being your sweet self.

      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

  9. Joan, great exercise. I’m going to try it.

    In the coincidence department, I just purchased this book for a songwriting course on coursera.org, which I just started (we’re in week 2).

    Like

    • Dear Margaret,

      What a nice coincidence! That you’re reading the same book for a course. Good luck with your lyrics. I am excited and happy for you. I checked that site you listed. Pat Pattison is teaching some of the courses.
      Share your lyrics, if you like.

      Celebrate You.
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

    • Margaret, you’re indefatigable–always extending your creativity.

      Like

      • Dear Annie,
        Thanks for leaving a comment to cheer Margaret on! What a good friend you are! I noticed you put the Never Give Up – Build it One Block at a Time on your blog, “Slow and Steady Writers.” Thank you. I am honored.
        Celebrate you today.
        Never Give Up
        Joan Y. Edwards

        Like

  10. My ten minutes–had fun and the same difficulty separating organic and kinaesthetic–looking forward to trying again tomorrow. Buzzing with what I could have written now…
    chose refrigerator because I can see it from where I sit.

    It hums perpetually in the background–an engine in gentle exercise mode–a sound that is loud in the quiet day and lost in the sounds of evening: the clattering of pots and pans, the chopping of vegetables, the frying pan sizzling and the television news at full blast.

    It’s small, sits slim in its space between the pine cupboards, old now and a yellowing cream spattered with mud splashes from dog and wellington boots.

    It’s too small, we have to curl over in a C-curve to open the door, hinge from the hips or even kneel, knees painful, feeling the bones on the dirty quarry tiles, to reach the vegetable tray. More often than not the bright coloured carrots are no longer the wonderful colour they had in the shop but faded, soft, and bend, pliable as plasticine –still edible but unappealing.

    I open the fridge with anticipation, stomach looking forward to some unmissable treat and sigh as appetite slowly disappears faced with a range of good-for-me foods.

    Like

    • Dear Annie,
      You did a great job of describing things in this using your senses. I especially liked “lost in the sounds of evening: the clattering of pots and pans, the chopping of vegetables, the frying pan sizzling and the television news at full blast.” I also liked
      “It’s small, sits slim in its space between the pine cupboards, old now and a yellowing cream spattered with mud splashes from dog and wellington boots.”
      Thanks for sharing with us. I appreciate it very much. It makes the exercise more “doable” when we see what we do in comparison to what you did. It also makes my blog more fun to read.
      Celebrate you and your love of writing.
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards

      Like

    • Dear Anne, This is beautiful, poetic language. Thanks for sharing!

      Like

  11. 1. Tracy Campbell
    2. Dr. Bob Rich
    3. Juliana Jones
    4. Katherine Harms
    5. Carol Baldwin
    6. Linda Andersen
    7. Margaret Fieland
    8. Anne Duguid

    Above are the names of the people who commented. I had random.org choose a number between 1 and 8. The winner was number 3.

    Number 3 was Juliana Jones. Hurray for all who commented. I appreciate you very much. A double Hurray for Juliana Jones. Hurray Hurray! She won the free pitch and 1000 word manuscript critique or a copy of my picture book about a little duck, Flip Flap Floodle, who never gives up even in the belly of Mr. Fox,

    Juliana please leave a comment here or on the separate post I’ll put about you winning. Let me know which your choice. Celebrate you.
    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards

    Like

    • What, me? I won? I really won? I never win anything!!!! I choose the free pitch and 1000 word manuscript critique. Can I have a couple days to get the pitch ready? Thank you so much, Joan. Oh, happy day!

      Like

      • Oh, and is there a word limit for the pitch?

        Like

        • Dear Juliana,
          The longest pitch I’ve seen was the one for the Amazon contest of 300 words. If it’s a pitch to use in a query letter or as a blurb, in my opinion, it needs to be between 50-75 words. Your choice…from 50-300 words for the pitch.

          Celebrate you and winning
          Never Give Up
          Joan Y. Edwards

          Like

      • Dear Juliana,
        Of course, you can have a few days for your pitch.

        Celebrate you.
        Never Give Up
        Joan Y. Edwards

        Like

  12. Dear Juliana,
    Yes. You. You really won. You really, really won. I’m glad you are so excited. You made me smile. The longest pitch I’ve seen was the one for the Amazon contest of 300 words. If it’s a pitch to use in a query letter or as a blurb, in my opinion, it needs to be between 50-75 words. Your choice…from 50-300 words for the pitch.

    Celebrate you and winning
    Never Give Up
    Joan Y. Edwards

    Like

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