One thing I really value in books that I read is effective descriptions of items, characters, environments, etc. For that reason it is important to me that powerful imagery should be a strength for me in my own writing.
When I say “writing blind,” I am referring to a strategy I have found that helps me visualize what I am trying to describe and then put that visualization down on paper.
I found that before I discovered this method, I was coming up with some garbage descriptions. For example, if I just try and write a description while looking at my monitor and typing what comes to me like anything else, I get the following description of my Jack Russell named Attie:
Attie is a small, black and white colored Jack Russell terrier. She has a spot over one eye and short fur. Her tail is just long enough to wrap four fingers around.
Now, I try the “writing blind” method. I close my eyes, and for a moment I don’t type anything at all. I picture what I want to describe, down to the smallest details. It is important to picture it in my mind instead of looking at a picture, because each element you picture demonstrates that it is important. Here is the same dog, using the “writing blind” method.
Attie is a small Jack Russell terrier that stands about 18 inches from the ground at her head. She is about the length of the small white laundry basket like she loves to lie in, about two feet. Her face is lean and always has a big ‘smile’ made from her tongue hanging out of her mouth. She could be a perfect show dog if it wasn’t for her overbite, hilariously apparent when seen from underneath. Her hair is short and wiry, and is mostly white except for some random splashes of black. Her pink collar scruffs the hair on her neck, and the silver metal of her tags jingle as she races through the house. Whenever there is a sound, her ears move around like pointed radar dishes scanning to pick up a signal.
Ok, I actually cut myself off there because I think I was able to make my point. When I don’t use the method, I struggle thinking of things to say. Picturing it in the blackness of my imagination leads me to things I normally wouldn’t notice.
I’m not formally trained in writing by any means, and it probably shows in my writing, but I prefer that way regardless. My “writing blind” probably has a name, and there might even be better ways to go about describing things. For now though, it is mine and I like it! I hope you like it too and it helps.