Writing Tip: Think Small…Write Big

Photo 2Last week I stumbled across a magnificent picture of the galaxy above the plains of Africa with Mt Kilimanjaro in the distance. No city lights. No human presence. It was nature in all of its spectacular glory. If the picture took my breath away, I can only imagine what it must be like to see such a sight in person. To stand beneath those billions of stars while the vast jungle stirs, and being watched by one of the tallest volcanoes in the world. I would be a small girl in a very big world, surrounded by an even bigger universe. I stared at the picture for a long time and wrote until I ran out of ideas.

We look up to the stars, always wondering what may be out there, and the writers of many science fiction novels and movies have given us an abundance of possibilities. The galaxy is still a place beyond our comprehension that we may never fully explore. But what about some of the places you have been, or wish to see if it were possible? The Earth is large enough as it is, with many majestic places easily accessible.

Grand Canyon

Excerpt from The Grand Canyon by Henry Van Dyke

Think about that moment when you first saw the Grand Canyon. Where were you standing and what could you see from that position? How long would it take to see the entire canyon? Imagine being lost where the river flows beneath, or the sounds you hear after the sun goes down. The canyon is such a colossal place, think about the tales you could tell from the mysteries and conspiracies that lie within.

How about the Great Wall of China? Have you ever stepped upon the stone and bricks that make up this giant fort? Imagine the journey one can take and the sights seen along the way. Take yourself back to the Ming Dynasty and picture what the construction site looked like. Think of the lives lost during its creation. Visualize what it must take to maintain the wall as it crumbles with age.

Silversword plant

Silversword plant

Often I will revisit photos I took from my trip to Maui. The island is such an amazing place, with quite a few diverse landscapes. One side of the island flows with lush foliage, fields of pineapple and sugar cane, and high surfing waves; while the other is barren, with a rocky coastline and black sand beaches. Driving to the top of the Haleakala volcano, it becomes another world. I understood why many describe it like the surface of Mars. With crimson soil, scattered cinder cones and the silversword plant (native only to Haleakala), spending a few hours here will leave you speechless. You really do feel the power of the mountain when you are standing on it.

Haleakala Volcano

Haleakala Crater

Some of us don’t have the luxury of traveling to such exotic places. We have to rely on photos to be inspired by the natural wonders of this world. So why not use our imagination to put ourselves into places we might not get to visit in our lifetime. Do some research on a place you wish to see: its construction or creation, the battles fought or the native people from the land, and what secrets are kept about this place? If you can’t picture yourself there, write from the perspective of a bird flying above, or a river as it flows through. The narrator can be the volcano waiting to erupt or the polar bear stranded on a glacier. Think of being a small entity in these monumental places and write big and bold, so your audience will feel as if they were there too.

Written by: Donna J. Sanders

Donna is a freelance writer and blogger in West Palm Beach, FL. She is the author of Ataraxia – a poetry collection about the struggles we face, the state of the world and how to see beauty in the simplest things, and Cardboard Signs – poems to bring awareness about homelessness, mental illness, self-esteem and the injustices many face.

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Photo Credit: © Donna J. Sanders

Categories: Writing Tips

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4 replies

  1. Thanks for this.

    Liked by 1 person


  1. Writing Tip: Think Small…Write Big – TheRaven6825

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