You remember more than you think you do. It’s all there in the recesses of your mind, and will return through the very process of writing. Writing is the trigger you use to release your memory. Don’t worry about precise names, places, facts and dates. It is the memory of your feeling and the incidents you have chosen to write about that can be truer, more significant and more interesting than chronological facts. (They can always be checked or reconstructed later.)
Keep a notebook in your car, in your handbag, in your pocket and on your nightstand to record random memories and thoughts. It is important, because these flashes of memory or ideas can otherwise drift through your mind and vanish like a dream. Catch them and write then down.
Then set aside time during the day or evening to write. Write and write with no judgement about the results. Write and write freely and recklessly. Write and write even if you hate what you’ve come up with. Most professionals keep only about ten percent of what they produce, but they understand that writing the discarded ni
nety percent is how they will get to the buried memory, the treassure, the sentence or paragraph or passage that says what is in their heart and mind. It’s a wonderful feeling when it happens—like hitting a hole in one, playing a grand slam, winning a lottery. It’s what keeps writers writing.