Improve Your Memory and Memoir: Cluster Your Thoughts on a Topic-Part 2

Choose a key word or phrase then write associated ideas and words in clusters around it. Now start with one idea and write …

This process inspires connection between ideas often forms new ideas. The process is similar to brainstorming in that as you jot down ideas on a piece of paper using words or short phrases. Use different colored pens as ideas seem to suggest themselves in groups. Don’t bother to organize too neatly because that can impede the flow of ideas. Don’t cross anything out because you can’t tell where an idea will lead you. When you get a few ideas written down, start to group them, using colored circles or whatever. Draw linking lines as connections suggest themselves.


  • Choose one idea from the cluster and begin writing. Choose the idea you remember most vividly, for example driving your dad’s new car.

  • Include your five senses — touch, smell, taste, sight, sound and color. When you drove your dad’s new car, how did it feel to get behind the wheel? What did the new car aroma smell like to you? How did the engine sound when you started it? How did people look at you when you drove by? What color was it? Associate colors as you remember them. Stick with colors readers will know, like crimson, scarlet, vermillion, barn red, sage, heather, sea foam, teal, emerald, or spring green. Let the reader see, smell, touch, taste, and hear as you have.

  • Recreate the stories and scenes as you remember them. What happened the first day your showed your friends your dad’s new car? Paint a scene for your reader.

More on this technique in a next post.