Amidst sensory overload, the holidays provide valuable details for authentic storytelling. Have a journal handy, because proof of holiday writing inspiration is in the Figgy Pudding!
The holidays are a time of whirlwind activity, when writing often gets pushed to the wayside with the onslaught of baking, wrapping, socializing, and schlepping. But step back a moment to appreciate the frenetic scene and you’ll find valuable fodder for authentic storytelling. Grab a journal and pen or even a recording device, because there’s no way you can make this stuff up – or pass it up!
Do you see what I see? Grandparents playing with grandchildren, Dad’s crinkly brown eyes, holiday lights on houses, herds of people at the mall, Christmas trees splayed on sidewalks after New Years. WRITE. IT. DOWN.
Immerse yourself in sound: Aunt Pat’s raspy cackle, cousin Ben’s crude jokes, latkes frying in the pan, the chink of glasses toasting to a new year, the slice of skates on the ice rink, the gasp of surprise when a gift’s been opened or a loved one’s stepped through the doorway after far too long. WRITE. IT. DOWN.
Smells & Tastes
Feast your taste buds on this most delicious time of year! A Ginger Baker Fizz cocktail, Nana’s famous spinach quiche, your signature banana walnut bread, actual chestnuts roasting on an open fire. WRITE. IT. DOWN.
Notice what actions invoke a memory or stirring emotion: the blaze of the fireplace on your cheeks, the nip of wintry night in your lungs. A beloved blanket, a satin ribbon. Palms against a windowpane, arms around an old friend. A cup of cocoa in hand and a kiss under the mistletoe. WRITE. IT. DOWN.
Thoughts, Memories, & Feelings
Pay close attention to what sentiments the holidays evoke. One day your heart may be light; another, more melancholy. Writing of any kind must stir the heart and delight the mind. Every sensory detail worth remembering conjures an intense emotion, however fleeting or lingering, warm or frosty. Those emotions are connected to our deep-seeded thoughts and memories. Capture these moments honestly and accurately, in vivid detail, so that emotional undertones seep out of the spaces in between your words. There is nothing in literature more profound than authenticity.
A final thought…
Details bring writing to life, and details can come from anywhere. Live in the moment this holiday season. Tap into this burst of activity and emotion — this poetry in motion — by keeping your senses sharp and your notebook nearby.
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