Blog Writing

How to Write a Letter to Yourself: Capture a Memory

Not sure how to write a letter to yourself? Read on to find out how you can capture a memory to send to the future.

Published Mar 5th, 2022

Memories can be funny things. A lot of the time, if we recall our favourite memories, the scenes come through quite cloudy. We remember the big things, the main details. It’s generally the feeling of the memory that is the strongest element. But what if you could capture your favourite memory in exceptional detail to send yourself in the future?


Let’s look at an example…

Is Christmas a special time of year for you? Maybe the one just gone was particularly good. Perhaps your family is at that stage where your siblings are having their own kids. Maybe it snowed and thanks to that, everything became that little bit more magical (or stressful). Maybe the kids were loud, everyone had a great time and ate way too much.

That’s a great memory, no doubt about it. But imagine if you captured all those little details on the day, to really relive it 5 years from now. Don’t fancy yourself that kind of writer? Here are some writing prompts to help you write a letter to yourself that captures a memory in vivid detail.

WRITING PROMPTS

  • What is the memory?

  • Had you been looking forward to this day for a while or was this an unexpected event?

  • Where did the memory take place? What’s the weather like there and what about your surroundings can you describe?

  • How did you get there at the start, and how were you feeling then?

  • What about this situation made it different from a normal day?

  • Who else was there? Provide a short update on them.

  • What small events happened that made you feel happy, excited, grateful or annoyed?

  • What big events happened that made you feel surprised, confused, frustrated or happy?

  • What are the other sensory notes you can make? Smell, sound, taste, feel...

  • How did this experience end, and how did you feel then?


Head to our homepage now to capture a memory to send to yourself in the future! Still not sure about diving into this? Here are some additional writing tips that might help.

WRITING TIPS

  • Capture memories like this when they are really fresh in your mind.

  • Don’t worry about using fancy language, just focus on observing and capturing what’s happening around you.

  • Don’t stress about how it reads — this is for your eyes only.

  • Focus on the small details to make your memory more tactile.

  • And finally, just get started. That’s the hardest part. Write your first sentence: I drove to Christmas at mum and dad’s place in 2021 and I felt… You might be surprised how easily the words start flowing.

NEED AN EXAMPLE TO HELP YOU MORE?

Check out the example below for a bit of inspiration before you go on to write your own.

  • What is the memory?

Christmas with the family, 2021.

  • Had you been looking forward to this day for a while or was this an unexpected event?

I’m always a bit stressed buying presents and getting myself back home for the Christmas break, but as usual, once you get there you wouldn’t have it any other way.

  • Where is the memory taking place? What’s the weather like there and what about your surroundings can you describe?

Being back at the house we grew up in is always great (and it seems to get smaller every year somehow). The weather this year is bitter cold, and they’re predicting storms come Christmas Day.

  • How did you get there at the start, and how were you feeling?

I drove here last night. Got here just in time to crack into a bottle of wine with Jeremy and Christine, but thankfully I wasn’t too dusty this morning. I always sleep so well back at home.

  • What about this situation makes it different from a normal day?

I love Christmas together. It’s just nice not to have any other commitments. The only thing anyone else has to do is be here. We put our phones away. We make food. We watch Christmas movies. The kids make a mess. It’s great.

  • Who else was there? Provide a short update on them.

Jeremy and Christine were here with the kids — they’re 3 and 5 now and they seem to have really found their voices. Amy gets bolder by the day and Josh is way too smart for his own good already.

Mum and dad have been working hard as always. Mum’s candle business is going well — the house smells like someone dipped it in salted caramel but, you know, could be worse. Dad’s Sudoku obsession has reached new levels.

  • What small events happened that made you feel happy, excited or grateful?

The coffee this morning tasted like it came directly from heaven. Jeremy had used these beans he bought from a new roaster near his place. I swear I took the first sip and felt that stuff in my brain. It was amazing.

After breakfast Amy wanted to draw, so we sat on the floor in my room and scribbled away quietly. I drew a horse that she didn’t think was very good. She drew The Incredible Hulk, which she thought was exquisite.

  • What big events happened that made you feel surprised, confused or frustrated?

At one point I managed to spectacularly knock over mum’s bottle of olive oil that smashed into a mess of oily shards in the middle of the kitchen. Future me, I hope you are less clumsy. After we cleaned up the mess (which took AGES) I jumped in my car to go get some more and the damn thing wouldn’t start. Future me, I hope you have a better car, finally. If not, I’m impressed that thing is still going. Perhaps you traded it in for a glorious donkey?

  • What are the other sensory notes you can make? Smell, sound, taste, feel...

Come night-time, Christmas Eve, it was time for a big sleep-inducing dinner. Mum pulled out all the stops. I made my pumpkin pie (may have overdone the cloves but no biggie). We sat around afterwards feeling like content festive whales and listened to this Australian band called The Teskey Brothers until dad started to snore (about 12 minutes).

  • How did this memory end, and how did you feel?

Christine and I were the last ones up. She told me about her dramas at work. I wouldn’t mess with her, she’s so tough. I told her about my thesis and the last few dates I went on with Jess. We called it at about 11pm, and here I am writing this to my future self, feeling… immensely content. Tomorrow will be madness with presents and stuff, so I just wanted to capture the calm (olive oil incident aside) and loveliness of the day before.

OK, READY TO WRITE?

You’ve got this. Time to capture that memory for your future self, in wonderful, vivid detail! Head to our homepage and write to your future self now.