Write like a…DOG!!!

I love my early morning walks with our sweet cockapoo, Sophie. For me, it’s a chance to get some morning exercise and enjoy the freshness of a brand new day. I often have my camera with me so I can snap pictures of glorious moments – like spotting a purple orb – or discovering sidewalk chalk art drawn by a child. But for Sophie it’s all about scent and sound! Indeed, it’s first with nose and ears, not eyes, that she notices a cottontail bunny or crinkling leaf or sweet clover.  She even sniffs out long forgotten, and apparently smelly, tennis balls, hidden deep in our pachysandra.

Just for fun, I sometimes close my eyes and try to soak up the world from Sophie’s perspective. When I do, it’s amazing how heightened my other senses become. Here are some of the things I’ve noticed:  flags flapping, gate hinges creaking, wild onion smells so pungent you can almost taste them,  fresh coffee wafting out the neighbor’s kitchen window, the tickle of a lady bug bare skin, and the coolness of wet grass between my toes.

As writers for young children I think we could all benefit from closing our eyes sometimes.  I don’t mean burying our heads in the sand so that our writing is sappy and disconnected from reality. Of course not. What I mean is that my writing, at least, tends towards the visual if I’m not careful. But when I’m intentional (and close my eyes) my other senses kick in and my writing is enriched. Using multi- sensory imagery is especially important in picture books and other illustrated pieces, such as poems for magazines, where the illustrations already provide plenty of visual detail. So, go ahead, close your eyes and feel those other senses kick in. That’s my plan this week. Happy writing all!

13 thoughts on “Write like a…DOG!!!

  1. Laura, my granddaughter Kara is staying with us this week. We enjoyed reading Little Ewe together yesterday. She loved it! And she helped me by reading sight words.

  2. I always wondered about the phrase “work like a dog,” because it could not have come from the adorable pooches I see walking their humans around here. I like “think like a dog” much more 😀
    And, YES, anything a writer does to enlarge perspective is a bonus to the reader.

  3. Even though I don’t have a dog I know what you mean. I love to hear the birds early in the morning. I wish I knew enough about them to identify what each chirp and twitter comes from. Walking in the morning leads to interesting things, especially sense appeal. I don’t do it enough, but I’m going to change that. Maybe I’ll take my camera too. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Sounds wonderful! It’s early morning here right now and I can hear the birds chirping. After I finish my tea, I’ll be taking a walk with Sophie before it gets too hot. There will be lots of sniffing!

  4. Wonderful post, Laura! I love the description of everything you notice when you’re out with your dog. I walk my cat most days when it’s nice, and it’s astounding what I see when I really look where he’s looking. Thanks for the reminder to use all the senses.

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