My Memory and My Writing

Having a good memory is a curse.

My Mom was blessed with a not-as-good-memory. She often tells me how she wishes she could remember stuff the I can: phone numbers, song lyrics, birthdays, people's names...

But as a writer, I'd prefer to not remember a thing.

They it takes about two days for your mind to fully detach from a piece of writing - to forget what was written - so that the writer might look upon it with fresh eyes. But, with a good memory, this time is doubled if not tripled.

I memorize what I write as I write it; the rhythm of the words, everything.

I would much rather forget.

Once I had finished my book (Enslaved) the program I had used to help me write it suggested that I wait about a week to detach my mind from the story, thus editing it more objectively. They pushed for three weeks (I didn't have the time - the deadline was in two); but they said one week should be fine.

But, for me, it wasn't.

I was shocked at myself as I went back to read over my novel. 350 pages, and I had it all practically memorized.

Not good.

How this hurt me during the editing process, I don't know. I haven't read my novel since then - have hardly looked at it. Hopefully, with time, I'll forget most of what I wrote, and be able to bare the sight of my words.

Does this happen to anyone else? Or am I the only writer who prays for a bad memory, when it comes to my writing?

Though, I suppose, if I had a bad memory, I might forget to write at all.


  1. Ditto. =) It's insane--waiting to completely forget my book so I can pick it up again.

    By the way, I didn't know you renamed your book! How long ago was this? :D And why did you?

  2. Yes! It takes so long to forget! And it's very annoying. But I still love my characters, which I suppose counts for something - I'm not annoyed with them, just with my writing.

    And yes, I changed my novel title (though I didn't change it on the OYAN forum because I didn't want to confuse people). Although I loved the previous title (Free as an Eagle does have a nice ring to it) it didn't seem to fit the genre. 'Free as an Eagle' sounds more like a character-driven novel, not an adventure novel. But I do hope to eventually write a character-driven novel as a prequel to 'Enslaved', and perhaps it will have this title . . .

  3. *Wails because of the name change*


    Anyway, good post. And so true. Although I've been 'blessed' with a not-so-good memory, it can still be hard to go back to a project that's quite engraved on your heart and have to read it as if you didn't know the story.

    Quite frustrating indeed.

  4. Thanks, Miguel. Do you agree, though, that this title more aptly fits the story?

  5. Yes.

    ...but very begrudgingly ;)

  6. Wow. I've never thought about memory being a problem like this, but now that you mention it, it makes sense. Good luck editing anyway!

  7. Thanks! Yes, it can be quite a problem, though I don't know if I would abandon my good memory because of the problems it causes. I'd have to think about that one...