This is an idea from a book called The Open Door. The exercise is written by a poet named Michael McGriff.
This is a timed exercise, so open the clock app on your phone or your web browser and set it up for the times listed below. It is important to stick to the time limits, so you don’t overthink it.
List 1: Important Objects
Make a list of at least fifty objects that are important to you.
These don’t have to sound special or “poetic.” They just have to be important to you.
Be as specific as possible with your list. There are no right or wrong objects to include.
If you have more than fifty, then even better.
List 2: Memories
Make a second list for the memories associated with the objects.
List the first twenty memories that you associate with the objects on your list.
List 3: Details
Select two or memories from second list.
For each memory, make a list of as many sensory details as you can think of.
Remember, a sensory detail is a detail that pertains to how something looks, feels, tastes, sounds, or smells.
This exercise may lead to new poems. Or it may not.
The important thing is that you are processing some material that will be more available when you are writing.
Feel free to repeat this exercise or expand on the items in your first two lists you didn't write about this time.