1. Make a list of ten words and/or phrases that stand out from the past few days. This will be more effective if you choose words and phrases from one event or moment, not several.
2. Take each of these words or phrases and write a sentence from it.
3. Look at each sentence for the following:
- A word that suggests a taste, touch, sound, sight, or smell
- A word that describes or suggests an emotional state
- A verb—an action, a movement of some kind
If these components are missing, then create them.
4. Trim each sentence until it contains only
- an action, and
- either a word suggesting one of the senses or a word suggesting emotion.
5. Read each sentence aloud and circle the word or phrase that stands out the most to you. Now make that word or phrase the central element of the sentence, even if that means deleting most of the rest of the sentence and creating new words around the central element.
6. Now put the sentences into an order that makes sense to you or that simply feels right.
7. Read the sentences aloud and change the order of them according to what sounds best.
8. Now trim the sentences again, this time making them consistent in the number of syllables; try alternating—for instance, the even-numbered sentences are eight syllables and the odd-numbered are twelve. This will probably mean deleting some words, rearranging them—in general, revising the sentence.
9. As you trim, read the whole piece aloud and change words that don’t sound right or that don’t really say what you intended.
10. If it helps the overall effect, group the sentences into pairs, threes or fours, or some combination.
Congratulations on creating a Christmas poem from your own memories of the holiday!