Mapping Memories

When I began writing in earnest, I read about a technique that helps writers recall memories–mapping. Draw a map of your childhood home or neighborhood and label it. Add notes about things that bubble up as you study it. You’ll be amazed at what comes to mind! It won’t mean anything to you, but here is what mine looks like:

This map shows both levels of the house where I grew up, with additional neighborhood notes around the perimeter. As rough as it looks, it is a treasure map to me. It’s been the genesis of several stories and poems. The events it evokes from my past make it almost like a time machine. I’m transported back to that small midwestern town and am able to tap into the feelings of the child that was me. It’s important to reach back and feel those feelings so I can write in an authentic voice. Of course, I have to balance it with observations of children today. Both perspectives inform my writing so readers can connect to it. Try sketching your own memory map. You’ll soon be digging up nuggets of childhood gold.


I am a picture book writer for children.

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