In an essay by Jack Prelutsky entitled: In Search of the Addle-paged Paddlepuss (included in an anthology entitled: Worlds of Childhood: The Art and Craft of Writing for Children; edited by William Zinsser), he says:
One of the main differences between a poet and a non-poet is that a poet knows he is not going to remember what happened. Therefore he is smart enough to carry a notebook and write it down....Another secret of writing, along with taking notes, is keeping your eyes and your ears open, keeping your mind and your heart open, and being aware of what's going on around you.
I think it's important for writers to pay attention to the extraordinary in the ordinary - to notice the small things around us that the average observer might not notice or note to memory.
And when you notice those small things, WRITE THEM DOWN.
Now, granted, I have to write down, "Get up in the morning," but, still....I try to write down the little things that catch my attention.
Example: While visiting my friend, Dolores, last week, she told me that when she was a little girl, she loved going to visit her aunt in Vermont. One of her most vivid memories about those visits is what her aunt always served her three things - one of which she loved and two of which she hated.
The three things were:
Now, I don't know about you, but I find that pretty interesting.
And as much as I'd like to think that I will always remember that, I wrote it down.
Some day, I will need to draw from my well of extraordinary things and there will be that list.