A great way to evoke memories for your memoir or personal journal is to think about the past (of course!) and to pick out specific events that happened. You may only write a sentence or two about them but what I have found is that sometimes they turn into something more.

Timelines

When I write out a timeline starting from my earliest memory at age 5 or 6 – my younger brothers christening (right now I can’t actually remember how old my younger brother is – shame on me!) – and I walked into a room. My dad was in there sitting on his bed looking into the cot admiring his new baby son. After three daughters I think it was a bit of a relief. It was the day of his christening and everyone was downstairs enjoying the party while my dad was alone upstairs. I remember walking into the room and seeing him there.

As you write out a timeline (for me it will be aged 5 – to my present age 🙂 ) you can focus on each year and see what comes up for you. Anything memorable that might have happened.

Photo albums / Yearbook

These are great for evoking memories. Add a photo of yourself to your journal and write about when the photo was taken and what you remember about that time.

Draw a map of your past

This was always a great personal growth technique to look at where you had come from and where you were going in this present moment. It is also great to help you evoke memories of your past. Draw the street/neighborhood you grew up in and then write different stories based on that. What is your earliest memory? Something great that happened? Something sad that happened?

I remembered a story of my young brother almost being knocked down and how my mom went crazy angry because she was so scared. I remember by older sister kissing her boyfriend in what she thought was a place to hide only for my dad to leave our house and go get her. I remember playing cricket and football (I was a tomboy), the time when a guy stopped me (I was around 15) and I had my walkman on at the time. He asked me what music I was listening to and when I said “Madonna” he looked at me in disgust and walked away.

So many memories from drawing a map of the streets I grew up on…

The above provides you with three great memory prompt to include as you write a personal journal. Do you have any others? I am always interested in finding ways to prompt my memory for things that happened in my past.

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