Quick write: Tap into sound to wake up your writing


When I lie in bed on a lazy Sunday morning pretending to sleep so that I am not disturbed, I hear my family rouse from their beds. One by one they roll in their beds, rumble to the door and then make their way to the bathroom or downstairs to the kitchen or to my door to listen for me.


Flickr: Mary Madigan

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Without hesitation, I know each of their movements by sound. I know which child stirs. I know the staggered footfalls of my youngest son. I know my eldest son’s lumber. I know my daughter’s scamper to find the cat.

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In a similar way, I have come to know my co-workers’ footsteps as they trudge down the hallway, knowing who I will see when the door swings open to the office. Some are hurried; others are hushed.

Sound is often a forgotten sense. And yet, it can offer a powerful tool for writers who strive to evoke feelings of intimacy in their writing.

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Think about all the sounds that happen in your life. And if you are not aware of them, close your eyes and let your mind absorb the sounds. What do you hear? The hum of the refrigerator? The swish of passing cars? A soft breeze tickling some chimes?

Take a moment to listen and then write. Describe the sounds and see them live on your page. Then, look for places in your current writing project where you can inject this most intimate, but valuable sense.

Kerri S. Mabee is managing editor at and founder of Breeze Media & Communications. Learn more about her at

Kerri S. Mabee

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