Five and Go, or alternately, Five Senses, is a game I’ve played with many friends over the years. My cousin who lives in Kentucky could tell me about the sunrise, my friend who lived in Arkansas described the sensations at 3 am on the overnight shift, and a friend in England for a year could help me see through her eyes.
Because I can be a very slow person at times, I didn’t realize until later that, in a way, it was a writing exercise.
The way it works is exactly as it sounds. You take several minutes and write at least one sentence about what you’re experiencing through each of your five senses at the moment. You can write more if you want, but it has to be at least one. You can even wrap it up with a sentence about how you feel emotionally.
Here’s mine as an example:
I can hear cars rushing on the highway and my landlord’s cat crying endlessly upstairs.
I can see early sunlight pools on the grass, the breeze lifting branches, the glow of my lamp.
I can smell cold air, which has a scent that is completely distinct from other air- a kind of sharpness. And my shampoo.
I taste caramel cream slithering through my hot coffee.
I feel the soft couch under me, the keys at my fingers, the damp weight of my hair.
This is great for you, as a writer, because it forces you to engage with the world on a basic, sensory level. It keys you in and encourages careful attention. You can also do this on behalf of characters, to get you in touch with what sorts of things they tend to observe. Remember that how we experience the world is largely dependent on who we are and what mental/emotional state we are in.
Last, you can get other people to do these five senses for you- it lets you be a part of a tiny piece of their experience, and gives you character fodder to boot.
Give it a try in the comments below!