So, you want to build a story from personal experiences but you didn’t keep a journal? All is not lost.  Memory triggers, or journal prompts can help you remember and rebuild past events and moments. Look at the list below, add some additional categories and then begin brainstorming. You might be surprised at the discoveries you make, recalling memories you thought were lost in the noisiness of life.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


– Places you have lived

– Scars and how you got them

– Best friends

– Embarrassing moments

– Songs you love and song you hate

– Smells

– Family vacations

– Teachers you’ve had, in and out of school

– Bedrooms you have slept in

– Accidents you’ve been in, or near-misses

– Awards

– Illnesses

– Items you have lost

– Crushes

– Jobs, volunteer or paid

– Holiday traditions

– Times you have been scared out of your wits

– Long and short term goals you have made

– The worst thing you have ever done

– The biggest lie you ever told

– The most fun you ever had

– Pet peeves

– Childhood games you played

– Famous or infamous family members

– Your first car, apartment, kiss, or job

– Losses and regrets

– Compliments you have received and given

– Secrets

After you have created a list based on a trigger, record the details and craft a story from it. The key to building a good story out of this brainstorming is to record the details as you recall them and then use these events and details to create meaning.

If you want more ideas for memory triggers, create a timeline of your life events.  The timeline doesn’t need to be elaborate or detailed, a simple rough draft can help trigger old memories and help you organize them.

Here are some places you can go to find additional journal prompts and timeline ideas:

What are some of your favorite prompts? Share them with us.