Forest for the Trees


Try this writing exercise. Stand very close to the trunk of a tree. Observe closely any details you see. Write down these details using color, size, and shape words to give your reader a clear picture of what you are seeing.

Take two steps backward. Again observe what you about the tree and record it.

Take two more steps back and repeat the process. Although you may be able to see much more of the tree, try to focus your attention on a specific detail like a branch or a leaf.

Continue stepping backward and writing until you can see the entire tree.

Finally, observe how the entire tree fits into the landscape as a whole and record your observations and thoughts.

* Use these observations in an essay. The essay might be about trees or a forest or your neighborhood or something entirely different. Let the connections that come to mind as you are observing lead you into larger subjects and details from other aspects of life.

* Try writing a poem from these observations. Combine them with other thoughts about people or an event in your life.

Keep the observations in your writer’s notebook. They may be just the words you need for an essay on an entirely different topic.