The Portuguese poet Manuel Maria Barbosa du Bocage (1765-1805): Joaquin Pedro de Souza, from História da Literatura, ed. José Marques da Cruz, 1942
Look around the room you are in or imagine another room. What is happening? Take some notes.
(But be sure not to include the circumstances that allow you the leisure for this sort of idle contemplation)
What causes the noises (or silence)?
(Adopt, for the sake of the internal demand to be writing something, a theory of causality)
What causes the light and shadows: Full moon? Bedlamp? Clouded sunlight?
(It will probably help to be a bit unclear about the light source, so as to eke out as many speculative projections as possible, thus adding the requisite dash of sensibility)
What effects does the light have on objects in the room, and on you?
(Don't attempt to fool yourself into thinking this matters to anyone, but keep in mind the fact that subjective impressions will add nuance to your expression)
Make a list of everything you can see and hear outside.
(Again, no one cares, but it's this sort of harmless cultivated irrelevance that helps reassure one's patrons)
What makes it light or dark out?
(Obvious questions deserve complicated answers: remember, this is poetry, stretch things as far as you can, and then a bit further)
Are there trees outside? What causes the leaves to move and change their colors? What effects do they have on birds and the sky and you?
(Keep in mind that everybody knows the answer to the first two questions, and nobody cares about the answer to the third -- but elaboration is to be desired, at any cost; after all, what better way is there to waste the time, while accumulating a few more lines?)
What person or event does the room remind you of? Why?
(This should be easy, like pinning the tail on the donkey, and then picking the name of someone wealthy or powerful or some event of curious yet slightly arcane significance to give the donkey)
What time of day is it?
(Don't just settle for looking at the clock, try to scrape up some aesthetically "interesting" atmospherics)
Look at one object inside or outside and describe its shape in detail. (Exaggerate if you wish!)
(No, hold that, in this business lying is everything -- exaggerate whether you wish or not!)
(And then hold your breath, make nice, and await the arrival of the good fairy...)