Wednesday, July 14, 2010

On a Writer’s Memory

010 The inspiration of this post comes from the fact that I got up this morning and looked at my calendar, thinking, “Okay. It’s Wednesday.  Where am I blog touring today?”

And today was a day I hadn’t scheduled a tour stop. :)

My calendar is in the picture. It’s a disaster area.  It has to-do lists and the entire agenda for the family—whether it’s the kids’ scouting stuff, dental appointments,  manuscript deadlines, the dog’s heartworm pill reminder—whatever.

I’d like to say that my memory has gotten bad because of all the things I’ve stuffed inside my head to remember and do. But this really wouldn’t be true—I was born with a defective memory. (Thanks, Daddy!) :)

And a couple of you know that when I screw up and forget something, it’s in pretty spectacular fashion.  And you can’t drop hints that I’ve forgotten something—I don’t pick up on tips…I’m really completely oblivious.  No, you need to tell me outright so I can make some kind of reparations.

These are some of my lines of defense to prevent memory-fail on my part:

Calendar.   I have to check it several times a day.  And I have to figure out what day of the week it is—in the summer, it’s hard to tell.

Phone.  This is for really big reminders of extremely important things.  Because the phone scares me to death when calendar alarms go off.

Computer.  I have Google calendar reminders and Outlook reminders.  I pretty much do what my computer tells me to do every day.

To do lists.  Everything goes on these lists—from vacuuming, to phone calls I need to make, to grooming appointments for the dog. The list is updated every day and prioritized.

Other people.  I usually ask blog hosts, etc., to give me a reminder a week out if possible.  It makes me feel more secure that I won’t forget.

Manuscript-related.  I have reminders each morning for where I need to pick up the story from the day before.  This way I won’t reread material I wrote the previous day (and try to edit it instead of moving forward with my writing.)

Series bibles.  I do have cheat-sheets since I have a couple of series I’m working on.  These cheat sheets remind me what secondary characters look like, their backgrounds, etc.

Talking points for interviews.  These keep me from rambling and keep me on task for talking about my book or my writing process.  I do the same thing for any workshops or panels I do.

Children.  They’re good to remember that they haven’t had lunch yet. :)  And that I promised to take them somewhere.

Friends.  I’ve confided in them that I have memory issues and to remind me of things we’re supposed to do.  My good friends know that hints are totally lost on me…they have to say, “Elizabeth?  I’m at the deli right now.  Are you on your way over?  Because we’re supposed to be having lunch.”  Nebulous statements like “Wow. I could really use a sandwich right now…oh look! I’m right here at a deli.  Think I’ll go in…” will not make any kind of an impact on me at all. 

So I’m curious.  How do y’all keep from dropping the ball?  I can always use new arsenal in my battle against memory loss. :)