Sometimes we fall into convention. An exercise I'm doing in my own writing is keeping track of typical conventions per genre, ie.: Horror - someone always goes into the basement. It's usually someone who deserves it and on some level I'm like "yay!". But so like here we are, it's Christmas/Chanukah/Fill-In-the-Blank-Holiday-So-As-Not-To-Offend-Anyone and say in July you're writing about this time of year. Most likely you'll write about what you think are the memories of what this time of year yields (trees, ornaments, tree shopping, gift wrapping, snipping at a loved one...) but in the midst of it, there are unique, atypical or less referenced memories, moments, sights, sounds, feels.. that occur. In that handy notebook you bought at the candy store for writers (Staples) jot down little specificities. Because, and perhaps you've noticed this too, it's beyond refreshing when you go to a movie or a read a book or a pilot and have that feeling of: "That is so true."
The words "That is so true!" only emerge when something stands out that you've never seen before or has never been referenced before. The writer has expressed an experience that is rarely if ever on the page or screen. My guess is while it's happening within the story, it really, in some way, happened in real life. It's true. It's real. It's unique.
Think about what makes certain movies more timeless than others: "It's a Wonderful Life" and "A Christmas Story." There are layers to the magic that culminates into the success of these stories but the unique qualities (Ju-Ju's petals, dancing in the gym with the moveable floor, the knob that comes off the staircase rail, the tongue on the pole, the kid who hides under the sink because, "Daddy's gonna kill Ralphie," putting the kid in the snowsuit) are rooted. The details feel true. They're real.
So I urge you, while you suffer and experience joy this holiday season, take notes. You won't regret it. And if they're in your computer, have a key word to indicate what it's for, (ie.: Christmas). You'll never regret having helped out your future writer self who wants her/his writing to stand out and have a little bit of truth.
Merry Everything and Happy New Year!
Writer, Writing Coach, Writer Supporter.