Random Ramblings, Writing, Writing Exercises

Writing Exercise: Descriptions

A few months ago, I got out my own way and joined…a local writers group!


So far, it’s been fun.

It took me years to find the courage to do this, to look people in the eye after they’ve read my words. But honestly, everyone in the room is going through the same thing, with the same fears and insecurities. I think every writer secretly thinks all of their hard work is rubbish, and if they share it with a room full of strangers, all of their fears will be confirmed.

And then what happens?

I don’t know.

When you’re a writer, your words are your heart and soul, ripped open for anyone to see. But still…they’re just words. You can’t edit a blank page. You can’t improve without feedback.

Today, we tried a writing exercise that I’d love to share with all of you.

Here it is:

  • Visualize a place that feels like “home.” (This doesn’t have to be the place where you live. It can be a place you spend a great deal of time at, like a workplace. It could be a place from your childhood or a vacation spot.)
  • Write 2-3 bullet points visually describing this place.
  • Write 2-3 bullet points describing the sounds in this place.
  • Write 2-3 bullet points describing the textures in this place.
  • Write 2-3 bullet points describing the smells in this place.
  • Write 2-3 bullet points describing interaction in this place.
  • Now, pull it all together into paragraphs. You don’t have to use all of your descriptions. Pick and choose what works for you.

Using this exercise, here’s what I wrote today:

My grandmother’s kitchen was cozy and dark, like a coffee scented cave—if that cave had been built in the 1940s. The counter made a peninsula, filling up the middle of the room. Mismatched chairs gathered around it. A clock ticked off the seconds on a wall, one more piece of bric-a-brac amoung Victorian prints in gilded frames. School buses rumbled along the street outside. My feet sank into the impractical shag carpet, the color and texture of a woolly sheep, which covered the floor from one end to the other.

Grandma pulled sweet vanilla wafers out of a box and arranged them on a flowered plate. She didn’t bake fresh cookies. She hadn’t baked anything in decades. I settled down into my favorite chair—more living room recliner than kitchen furniture—and poured myself a mug of coffee.

This was a LOT of fun to write. It only took a few minutes, but it certainly brought back memories of my Grandma.

I really enjoyed this exercise! I think this could be a valuable tool for any writer who is struggling with descriptions.

Have a great weekend and if you’re feeling brave/creative, feel free to try out this exercise in the comments below!

xo Juli

(Image courtesy of Wikimedia, CC)

7 thoughts on “Writing Exercise: Descriptions”

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