In all my search for inspiration to write, create, or complete, I hadn’t considered that the key to abundant inspiration lay, quite literally, right under my nose.
It was a school-wide project that each student and teacher at my job participated in that reawakened the stories, strengths, and inspiration that our five senses hold. Our classroom was assigned the sense of smell. Immediately I thought, “lavender.” The more I collaborated with the students to gather their thoughts, the more their inspiration grew, along with my own. Quickly our satchels of scent blossomed into different textures, colors, and feelings as we added dried oranges, cinnamon, clove, pine needles and pine cones to our collection of smells. Soon I realized how meaningful the scent of smell was. Not only can it soothe our emotions and stimulate the brain, but it is also much more interconnected to the remaining four scents than I had noticed before. Bringing feelings of joy, mixtures of various colors, soothing sounds when held, and most definitely the longing to taste all the delicious smells.
At the completion of the school project, I saw the magic of the five senses come to life in new and unique ways. This experience ignited new perspectives of the senses and equally, the lack thereof. I carried this with me and embedded the newfound appreciation the five senses highlighted into my writing and creative projects.
I found that the best way to do this is by actively tuning into each sense when struck with creativity or trying to get inspired. In your writing or creative process, for the sense of smell, how would the setting, characters, or tone smell? What would that add or take away to the story? Additionally, what thoughts or emotions does that provoke? Now we can also begin to take away some senses, like sight. What would be highlighted, any feelings, sounds, smells, or tastes? In what way does this change the dynamic of the story? We can even use this process when it comes to coming up with a new idea. Taking a look around you now, which sense is the strongest? If it’s sight, what is the most vivid thing around you? Most dull? What feelings do these colors provoke? If it's a smell, where does this smell come from? What does it look like? Feel like? What place does this smell take you? If it's a sound, what are you hearing? What would it look like? Where does your body resonate most with this sound, in the head, hands, feet? These thought provoking questions work for any and all senses and are the perfect way to get, and keep, those creative juices flowing.