Today I had reason to really go through my memory and remember as much as I could as accurately as possible about conversations from the last three weeks or so... holy cow! I didn't realize how hard it would be and while I was writing it I realized something else. Since we only have our own experiences to draw on we as writers need to cultivate one very, very important thing.
What's going to happen if you go through somehting that you really, REALLY could use when writing a novel say four or more years down the road? What if you can't remember that specific anymore or the thing that really tweaked you out. What if you can't even remember the event but if you could it would help you out of the bind that your writing's in? I can't believe how important memory is when you're a writer, and worse I can't believe I didn't realize it until right this moment. I always knew that it had to be good of course. I need to remember character names and little tidbits of information and the like but that's what my notebook is for... well duh!
There was my head slapping moment! that's why so many authors do write journals. Yeah sure, a lot of it's going to be dull because let's face it, 90% of our lives are probably very routine. But if you've gotten into that routine of writing down your day imagine what happens when something incredible comes around! Now, not only do you have some really interesting insights into something you might not have otherwise, you'll also have a record for it so you can compare notes at different times in your life, utilize it for different characters or even use it as a whole new jumping off point for another novel!
I know I'm seriously considering actually starting a daily journal. I've started it before and never quite managed to get in there EVERY day, but if you work on your memory then you can fill it in a heck of a lot faster than I sometimes do. So working on your memory to remember vividly everything you did that day and then keeping a journal to help out your long term memory's specifics seem like a REALLY good idea to me! Hopefully you'll realize the same thing as me but it won't have to be with your own D'oh! Moment!
PS. Sorry this post's so much later than normal, I wasn't able to get on to write it until now!