"In dwelling, be close to the land.
A key to writing is observation, the continual practice of sharpening one's perception of the world and experience.
"Shasei," the technique that Masaoka Shiki (1867-1902) advocated involved an observation of the external world. Shiki felt that since the external world was always changing that the variety of scenes would keep the tanka interesting just as Monet's changing gardens would attract the viewer. Indeed the verse created by this technique can be interesting, but the problem is it doesn't engage us deeply into the artist's internal state and consequently into the connection between man and nature's experience.
As a teacher of Western literature, I have always been drawn to the works of writers like Toni Morrison, William Faulkner, James Joyce, etc. These writers use stream of consciousness and shifting viewpoint as methods of "engaging" their readers into the narrative and characters. Instead of passively reading a narrative, one must search for the reality, the truth, the motivations because the author doesn't tell us.
Similarly, modern waka asks the writer and reader to become "engaged" in the poetic process. Instead of simply describing the external world, modern waka is about exploring the external world of nature and the internal world of the writer. The reader is asked to make the connection between the two experiences, in essence, to transcend the world of appearances into the "forces and laws" that govern both man and nature's reality. This is spiritual practice based on Eastern philosophy and practice but open to all regardless of their religious orientation.
The practice of observation results in a perceptual change. Not only does the ability to see greater detail in the external world become strengthened, but the ability to see the external and internal world in new and more intimate ways becomes greater.