8 Great Ways to Jog Your Memory for Creative Non-fiction Writing! by Julie Guirgis

8 Great Ways to Jog Your Memory for Creative Non-fiction Writing!  by Julie Guirgis

A few months ago, I attended a creative writing workshop where I learned many valuable tips on the subject. Some of these were to use anecdotes, thoughts, and observations, and how to entice the reader using emotional engagement and intriguing questions.

Other tips were to tap into my creative self through memory by:

• listening – to music of a particular era
• reviewing photos – as memory joggers
• remembering/eating particular foods – such as childhood foods or foods from other countries to bring back memories
• smelling –  such as flowers, perfumes, clothing
• touching – dresses, ornaments, jewelry, etc.
• reviewing – pictures or maps to activate different parts of the brain
• holding objects – ornaments, mementos, story objects, sentimental, etc.
• reading books – poetry, nursery rhymes, other

To put what we learned into practice, the teacher asked us to visualise our childhood home, and to draw a layout of it to create a visual map. She then gave us a few minutes to write a short story using the senses.

This is what I wrote:
On a warm spring afternoon, I feel a surge of nostalgia run through me. While pondering the seasons of my life, childhood memories flicker through my mind. I reach for an old family photo album now gathering dust on the bookshelf. Thumbing through its contents, I search through the photos like I’m on a treasure hunt, eager to find hidden clues. The ones that resonate with me, I remove from their plastic-encased film, gripping the edges reflectively to examine them more closely. I spread them out on the bed in a chronological sequence.

My eyes wander eagerly though the photos but I am fixed on one in particular. It’s a black and white photo of me as a baby. My eyelids are closed against the dim light of dawn. All the muscles in my face are at peace and I am deep in the throes of slumber. Dark strands of hair as soft as feathers adorn my tiny head while my skin is as smooth as a perfect peach.

The class helped me develop my creative writing skill further, and gave me the confidence to continue writing the story which, after editing, got published twice. The class and the exercises it taught have encouraged me to continue writing creative non-fiction. And, my success has continued!


Julie Guirgis is an international freelance writer living in Sydney, Australia. Her writing has been published in several publications. Some of these include Transition, Majellan, Madonna, Eureka St, The Nathaniel Report, Signs of the Times, Adventist Review, Unity, Significant Living, Caring Times, Vibrant Life, Alive Now, Now What?, Insight, Guide, The Aquarian, The Edge, Creation Illustrated, Kaleidoscope, Insights, Compass, Writer’s Weekly, Coffee House for Writers, Author’s Publish Magazine, Splendry, Woman Alive, Spotlight on Recovery, Friend and has upcoming work in The Narcissist’s Playbook Anthology.


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