Writing Styles and the 5 Senses

By: Marilyn L. Davis


Excellent Writing Stimulates Our Senses


“I realized that the good stories were affecting the organs of my body in various ways, and the really good ones were stimulating more than one organ.

An effective story grabs your gut, tightens your throat, makes your heart race and your lungs pump, brings tears to your eyes, or an explosion of laughter to your lips.”―Christopher VoglerThe Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers


Styles and the 5 Senses


Writers understand the importance of using an authentic voice. Just as importantly, we need to write in styles that help our readers understand our information. We have five senses: 

  • Seeing
  • Smelling
  • Tasting
  • Feeling
  • Touching

Content that incorporates all five senses engages readers regardless of their learning style. Giving descriptors that reference the five senses builds a bond with readers while establishing empathy. This bond helps ensure that they understand ideas and internalize the message. Your style captures your readers, engages them, and helps ensure that they make it to your killer end sentence.

Reducing styles to the three main categories, of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic, means that you can find the most authentic way to present your information. Click To Tweet


Visual Writing and Learning



Visual writing is enhancing your written word with images that support your ideas, concepts, and topic. A visual reader gathers information effectively through:

  1. Charts
  2. Tables
  3. Images
  4. Visual correlations with the written word

Engage them with words like see, look at, notice, and observe.



Auditory Writing and Learning


Can you hear my voice, my tone, or words? Auditory writing lends itself well to poetry and dialog in fiction. Auditory learners must be able to hear something in your article, either through clips, videos or from your description of the subject, to understand. They may have difficulty with solely written instructions or explanations. An auditory reader gathers information effectively through:

  1. Clips that reinforce your article’s content
  2. Videos of you explaining your message
  3. Questions within the article to help them think and hear your words

Engage them with words like:

  • Speaking of, listen, take notice of, pay attention to
  •  “… it’s merely writing, but you have to adjust your ear – I speak quietly – I sob – I whisper…” ―John Geddes, A Familiar Rain


Kinesthetic Writing and Learning



Kinesthetic (also known as tactile) writing appeals to the “doers.” Because of this, they benefit from:

  1. Anecdotes
  2. Examples with universal appeal

Engage them with words like touching upon, emotionally speaking, and strong action verbs.



The 5 Senses Relate to All Writing and Learning Styles


For instance, I want to write an article about Baking Bread. Which, although tedious, is a title. It is uninteresting, especially to the auditory and kinesthetic readers, even if you have a visual clue such as an image of a loaf of bread. I have to paint a picture, tell a story, and draw the readers into the post.


Hide and Seek and Find the Flour’


I thought of my grandmother today, and I realized how much I wanted to bake bread. I am always pleased when I have this kind of time to feed my family something nourishing.

It also gives me the time to reflect on the childhood memories of my grandmother.

Baking bread with my grandmother was an adventure. She made a game of hide and seek for our ingredients, asking me where I thought the flour would be. Sometimes, I would answer “the pantry” as the logical place. We would look, and it would not be there. Then we would imagine where a container of flour would hide.

“Is it under the cabinet?”

“What about the top of the refrigerator?”

“Do I see it behind the teakettle?”

My grandmother had hidden the flour before I got up, and when we finally found it, she would take her time, precisely measuring the flour and letting me use my “special knife” to level the dry ingredient. Then we measured the sugar, again getting another special knife.

Years later, I asked her why so many details, and she said she was proud that each of her grandchildren knew how to bake a loaf of bread. More importantly, each child had their own special knives for this, and so these knives made it a unique experience for each child.


Rituals for Another Generation


Some days my grandchildren help me bake bread. Each of my four grandchildren has their special knives. I have to remember which is theirs. On days when I bake by myself, I still gather all of the ingredients with care:

  • flour
  • salt
  • sugar
  • water
  • yeast

Putting the ingredients together, I am always amazed that the off-putting smell of yeast can create something so satisfying as it begins to bubble and foam. 

It is magic to me how transformed yeast is one of the most delicious smells on earth when baking in a low-temperature oven.


Always Write from the Heart – Readers Understand Passion


If my readers are still with me, it is because I have engaged their senses.

We’ve been gathering, reflecting, doing, smelling, with my senses stimulated, which in turn might stimulate theirs or inspire a reader to bake bread. 

One of our objectives is to get our readers educated or motivated to do something anytime we are writing.

When we present our information using various writing styles and cover the five senses, more of our readers finish the article.

Writing about subjects that we are passionate about helps engage our readers. Sincere and authentic interest and delight in our subject are evident to our readers. 

Even if we are neutral about our topic, find one aspect that generates enthusiasm, and it will come through to readers.

And even if the readers aren’t motivated, I’m going to bake some bread. 




marilyn l davis two drops of ink editor-in-chiefMarilyn L. Davis is the Editor-in-Chief at Two Drops of Ink and From Addict 2 Advocate. She is also the author of Finding North: A Journey from Addict to Advocate and Memories into Memoir: The Mindsets and Mechanics Workbook, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indie Books, and Books A Million. 


Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing


  • What stories can you tell that engage our senses? 
  • Do you have some problem-solving ideas for writers and bloggers? 
  • Care to entertain or enchant us with your poetry? 

Consider submitting a guest post today. You’ll get backlinks to your blog, books, other writing, and social media. You’ll also get exposure to a new audience, and our readers will get a new voice. 






  1. […] Before you decide that memoir is just isolated and random snapshots of the writer’s life, rethink this. Because each life contains so many memories, it’s necessary to find those moments that the writer can describe in rich detail. This is what broadens that narrow focus.  One of the ways to enhance  isolated memories is to write using the five senses: […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.