Saturday, 14 April 2012

M is for Memory

We bring so many skills and experiences to writing. Even if we are writing complete fantasy or science fiction, we are still drawing on our own experiences of people, emotions, places, situations. So can I suggest, if you don't already do this, that carrying a journal is incredibly helpful? In the same way that an artist might carry a sketchbook, I find it helpful to paint word pictures of people, places, overheard or observed moments in other people's lives. Words and phrases that pop into my mind end up there too...Borrowed Time was born out of a simple sentence, the first in the first draft. I collect photographs, and look through pictures and websites for inspiration. 

I have also met loads of people. This is one benefit of working in a therapeutic environment, you see people at their wits end, all politeness burned away, the quirky bits underneath. So many people go through life feeling like they are the only weird one and everybody else is 'normal'. This is not true, we're all weird! 

This is something you find out as you get older, and that is something that is not celebrated enough. Older writers have so much experience of people to write about. We have more memories. It seems ridiculous to me that some writers are at a disadvantage getting published because of their age. We have more experience, often more time, and are free to develop those quirks and eccentricities that seem more common with each decade. The only problem is retaining those memories...which is where the journal kicks in. If I could only remember where I left mine...    


  1. "We are all weird" !!

    My new mantra.

  2. I like weird. That's what the editor of Mslexia called my book. 'Your book is really weird,' she said. She said it twice. I'm hoping that's a compliment!