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Writer’s Residency: Day 9 – Memories

August 29, 2013

Wordsworth describes recovering memories or ‘spots to time’ as a means to repair and renovate our selves. Today we completed a series of exercises designed to generate creative energy for writing.
We began by listing what we did yesterday. A task which is harder than it seems as it can take a while for our brains to switch into short term memory mode.
We considered what themes or categories the items on our lists fell into then moved to an exercise to encourage longer term memories to surface.
If you would like to have a go at this you need 20 small pieces of paper and a pen. Write down 5 people, 5 places, 5 key events and 5 objects from your life. Once you have assembled all 20 look for links, connections and themes which they have in common. Then free write on that theme.
We also practiced bubble-writing techniques using dates stamped on coins selected from a bag (you could pull one out of your purse, wallet or pocket). We wrote the date in the centre of a sheet of A4, drew a bubble round it and a line from it to another bubble in which we noted down the first thing that came to mind about that date. We continued to fill the page with up to 20 bubbles.
If you are trying out this exercise, remember to trust your imagination and intuition when writing in the bubbles.
Once you have filled the page with bubbles, turn them into a creative piece.
These are a few examples of ways to trigger memories for creative writing. You could also use: photos, diaries, letters, music, address books, souvenirs, medals, school reports, certificates, family trees etc.
The trick is to find out what works for you.
Once you have triggered a memory you will find that others follow. If writing a life story or memoir it’s best to write them down as they present themselves to you and worry about putting them into some sort of coherent order later.
If this post has inspired you to write more of your life Story you might want to read Sophie King’s ‘How to Write Your Life Story’ in Ten Easy Steps (How To Books: 2010)

  1. Thanks for the wonderful exercise. It will be my Lake District simulator–but I don’t have an ingenious sister as Wordsworth had. Oh, well, I’ll make do.

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