In recent months, my memory has been really short. While my friends and family maintain my age is the contributing factor, I stand firm that my illness is the main culprit for my short-term memory loss.
Regardless of the impetus, I have noticed on more than one occasion–we needn’t attach an actual number–I have had a great idea for a blog post or essay, and immediately begin writing about it. But about 250 words in, I realized I have actually written about this topic before, or something very similar.
At first this was frustrating, feeling as though I have wasted precious writing time, but the day I decided to finesse a first draft of a later rewritten piece, I also pulled out the accidental rewrite to compare what I had written.
What I found was a resource full of new perspective. While the content was the same, only a few words actually were. In the first piece, I described the incident with certain details, the other piece held other details. Having these two drafts in front of me, allowed me to pick and choose the best words, fragments, and sentences, offering me greater flexibility in creating a finished piece.
Choose one piece of literature you are currently working on and place it to the side. Start from scratch on this piece. Some of the content and phrases you will be able to recall, while others you will have to recreate. When you are done with the second written piece, compare the two drafts. Does the rewritten version capture details the first doesn’t? Can you add a fresh perspective to the first piece due to the second piece?