Process Post: The Elements of Memory

I feel like nothing I write here should be new to anybody—we know how to remember things, and we know what makes us forgetful—but I feel like finding out the reasons why we tend to remember or forget things can be incredibly helpful. Why do we forget things? Because it costs a lot of calories to remember everything, and our brains already use a disproportionate amount of our daily energy…so, by design, we forget.

There are things we do remember, though, no matter how unreliably we remember them, and writers can tap into the same tricks that everyone else does, to make something memorable.

One caution, though: if you write convincingly and memorably about something, people are going to assume that it’s secretly about you. I wouldn’t say that you need to limit your writing to things that you identify about yourself; just be ready to separate yourself from your work. “That’s the character, not me. Sometimes characters do what’s logical for them. I can’t really control it!”—That sort of thing seems to work pretty well!

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