Experiencing vs. Writing and Showing vs. Telling

As it turns out this hasn’t been the best season for writing – not summer-wise or life-wise.  But that’s okay, ya know? Some days are meant for experiencing instead of documenting. My arsenal of ideas is full to overflowing by now…if only I had the time, brainpower, and wherewithal to actually sit down and write.


For instance, I’m fairly certain by now I could write a pretty legit romance novel after seeing the lovely wedding and life-together planning going on around me. But, since that’s not my preferred genre that idea is a little obsolete.

In the midst of all the busyness going on around me though, I have set aside a few minutes each day to focus on my writing. And while focusing, do you know what I’ve discovered? That I have a nasty habit of telling instead of showing. Yes, now, even after over a decade of writing. Say what?

So, recently my hundred words that I write each day have started out with me jotting down a scene as it comes into my mind, and then stopping, squinting, and then re-writing those same words but with showing instead of telling. As it turns out, it’s a pretty productive exercise for me.

Here’s an example with my hundred words for today:

I watched as she lifted her head and looked me straight in the eye. This was not going well, I could tell by the shiver going down my back. Why had I not listened to Nicolette? She would have warned me – I mean, at least if she knew what I had been planning.


She sat up straighter and looked me in the eye – a shiver ran up and down my spine. Okay then, this was not what I’d bargained for. Where was Nicolette with her wonderful advice when I needed her? I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to recall if Nicolette had ever given me advice for this particular situation. She probably had, and I’d probably refused to listen.

Do y’all have trouble with telling instead of showing?

2 thoughts on “Experiencing vs. Writing and Showing vs. Telling

  1. Emily says:

    Yes! I see what you’re saying. I looked at the most recent bit of story idea I had written down…and I could work on showing instead of telling.

    As far as experiencing and then writing goes, I have felt unqualified to write because of my lack of experience. Maybe that’s just insecurity, but it is important to take the time to experience things (or at least research them), and know what you’re talking about before writing. But then, J.K. Rowling was never really a wizard…at least not that we know of : )

    Liked by 2 people

    • Lydia Howe says:

      Oh goodness! I always figured my imagination made me more qualified to write some things than un-imaginative people who have experienced it in real life. Of course doing a lot of fleshing-out and research when possible helps a ton. 😉


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s