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Mapping Memories

Most writers need to see a memory before they’re able to write it down. In order to visualize your memories, try mapping them out first!

For this exercise, you will need a box of crayons, a large sheet of paper, and a big table on which to work.

  1. From memory, draw a detailed map of the neighborhood where you grew up. Make sure to include all of the places that make your neighborhood unique. Draw the hidden nooks, crannies, and out of the way places. Don’t leave anything out!

  2. Label your map with a pen, describing each important location with a few sentences off to the side. Write these descriptions as if they were intended for a complete stranger who wanted to explore your neighborhood.

  3. Now, for each important location on your map, write three memories of things that happened to you in those places. Fill your map with experiences!

  4. If you need to go back and illustrate some of these memories with crayons, go right ahead! You could even create symbols to represent your most vivid memories. Add a key in the bottom left corner of your memory map that explains these symbols.

  5. Hang your memory map in a prominent place near where you write! Now draft a memoir based on the memories you’ve mapped

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