by Chara Kramer


One of the easiest ways to become a better writer is with your memory. Memory can be one of the most important tools in writing, regardless if it is nonfiction, fiction, or poetry. We all draw from real-life experiences, even if we are writing fantasy or science fiction like Harry Potter or Star Wars. The characters all still have real emotions, and things from our lives still squeeze their way into our writing, whether on purpose or on accident.

Remembering and recalling details will help your memory, and therefore help your writing. It may be like keeping a journal, if it is something you enjoy and do everyday. But stories are all about those little details that get put into writing. So try this little exercise to improve your memory and your writing!

If you are in high school, try writing about a time from middle school. Include every detail you can remember from an event, a dance, a show, even a favorite classroom or a day you won an award.

If you are in middle school, write about something you remember from elementary school. This could be a field day, a field trip, or a special holiday like Halloween—can you remember what the kids in your class all dressed up as?

If you are in elementary school, don’t give up just because you are a little younger! Write about your favorite outfit, a birthday, your favorite lunch, your first memory, even a first day of school one year.

I’ll give you an example: As a college student, I know it can be difficult to remember sometimes. But as an example from me, there is one thing I remember from all the way back in kindergarten. After I met my two best friends who lived down the street from me, I remember walking to their house with my mom in a little red raincoat and purple leggings. As soon as I saw them playing outside, I remember that I ran the rest of the way, with my orange-pumpkin bucket, filled with chalk, swinging back and forth in my hand. And if I can remember all of that, there is no stopping all that you can remember!