How Object Writing Can Bring Your Songs To Life Tuesday December 21 2021, 3:38 AM
Yona Marie
Singer, Songwriter, Producer.
How Object Writing Can Bring Your Songs To Life

What Is Object Writing?

Object writing is one of my favorite songwriting exercises that has helped me through some very tough writer's block moments.

Coined by Berklee's stand-out professor Pat Pattison in the mid-90s, object writing is an exercise that encourages you to use all 7 seven of your senses to describe an object.

You may be wondering, when did we get seven senses? While we have more common senses, including sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing, you will also want to consider organic and motion senses. 

Organic (or body) senses deal with the feelings that our bodies go through, like a racing heart, tired muscle, or chills that are a reaction to a certain object.

It slightly differs from the sense of touch since it's all going on in our bodies without us needing to touch anything. 

Motion (or kinesthetic) senses are also similar to the sense of touch since it deals with how we feel in our bodies as well as in our minds.

A motion sensory feeling could be the sense of being trapped, floating, spinning in circles, running, or something similar. Motion senses are very often used in creative writing in the form of songs and fictional writing in the 1st person. 

Objects You Can Write About 

Object writing can be as simple as finding an object in the room, like a chair. Start simple with an immovable object in comparison to trying to use a person as your object.

The object can be any noun you think of, and it is encouraged to try several different types of nouns once you really get into the process of object writing as a recurring exercise.

This type of writing can be done with any object or prompt, ranging from everyday items like a cup or a pencil to more abstract concepts like love or fear.

The wide range of objects allows writers to explore various subjects and expand their creative repertoire while honing their descriptive abilities.

The emphasis is on capturing sensory details using all five senses—sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. The goal is to engage the reader's senses and create a vivid and immersive experience through words.

You can start writing about abstract ideas, general locations, collective nouns, and much more. The possibilities are really endless! 

Related Post: Tips For Getting Over Songwriter's Block

How To Start Object Writing

The first thing you will want to do when preparing for an object writing session is to find a space where you can be undisturbed and in the zone. You don't want to go into this process with any outside noise or distractions.

The best time to start the process is when your mind is most alert, which is often the first thing in the morning for many creatives, or it can be in the wee hours of the night if you keep a crazy schedule as I do. 

Once you find a good time and space to get in the mood for some creativity, set a timer and limit yourself to around 10 minutes.

You don't want to overthink this process, and it'll be great to get into the habit of doing this a few times a week if you want to see long-term results in your creativity and clarity.

The next step is to find your object and start jotting down ideas from every one of the seven senses. 

Remember to try to see things from your own perspective as well as a universal perspective that many people can relate to.

For example, if you're writing about that chair in your room, you can begin to describe it as a place where we, as people, lazily watch tv, or you can take a very personal approach and describe it as the place your grandma used to cornrow your hair. 

Or if you're outside, write about the sun or the moon and how they rise and set like seasons in your life.


When it comes to object writing, the goal isn't to write down everything that's a gem.

It's more of a freewriting process where you will jot down several ideas and begin to piece some together into a potential song, while most of the content will be something that you can throw away.

Unless you're just in a zone where you struck mental magic, and you really get the inspiration to write down perfect lyrics that come out rhyming and everything.

If not, though, you don't need to force rhymes or even force a cohesive story, yet when you're just jotting down your senses in relation to the object you choose.

The goal is to get great details and great metaphors for a potentially great song of yours. 

Related Post: 10 Songwriting Tools That Can Come In Handy

Object Writing In Popular Songs 

Katy Perry's hit song "Firework" is a great example of songwriting that was done with object writing in mind. The writers of this hit took the object of a firework, a plastic bag, a lightning bolt, and so many more lifeless objects.

They described them in a way that we, as humans, could objectively relate to emotionally. The descriptions were visual, motion, organic, and much more.

The lyrics, paired with her emotional delivery, really add depth to this song that would otherwise be generic. 

Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" took the idea of joy driving and put an entire tragic love story in the background with visual, organic, motion, and audio sensors.

While object writing can make for some fantastic metaphors, sometimes it can just link a simple object to a very compelling and relatable story that we can all easily cling to as music lovers and people in general. 

Related Post: 10 More Fun Song Exercises For You To Try

Object Writing is a valuable tool for writers looking to improve their descriptive writing skills, evoke emotions in their readers, and create more vivid and immersive storytelling.

By regularly practicing this technique, songwriters can enhance their ability to engage listeners' senses and create powerful, evocative lyrics.


Yona Marie

As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 300 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!

If you are in need of singer, songwriter or song producer services, see what Yona Marie can offer you on her services page.

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