Trick and Treat

Hello from Monterey, California! I’m writing to you from yesterday. Christchurch is twenty hours ahead of Monterey, so you’ve reached November before me. How is it so far? I am thrilled to be on a virtual visit to New Zealand this month as your November Star Author.

Since it is Halloween in California, I’ll begin with a writing trick and a reading treat.

Do you ever have trouble getting started writing? Maybe it’s an essay for school and you just can’t come up with the first line, or a story that is fantastic in your imagination, but you can’t seem to get it onto the page. Getting started is my number one writing challenge.

The next time you’re stuck, try the timer trick:

Grab the kitchen timer. Get paper and pen or open a new document on your computer.

Ready? Now set the timer for 15 minutes and press start. Write as fast as you can, without stopping, without erasing, until that timer buzzes.

Don’t worry about spelling. Don’t worry about getting the facts right. Perfection is not the goal. This is a draft. Just write. You’ll be surprised what tumbles out of your head and onto the page. If 15 minutes feels daunting, start with 5.

Look for more writing tips this month, as well as the story of where my stories come from, and maybe even a word game or two.

For now I’ll leave with you with a treat. The sweetest reading treat of all: a poem.

Like Christchurch, Monterey is bordered by hills and the Pacific Ocean. Fog hovers out my morning window as I write, so here is a fog poem by Carl Sandburg:

The fog comes
on little cat feet
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.


12 Responses so far

  1. 1

    Tierney said,

    This is a wonderful poem! I never thought about it that way, but fog does sort of lazily wander like a cat.
    I love to write, and think that the 15 minute trick is a great exercise to try when you can’t think of anything to write!
    November is pretty good at the moment! I look forward to reading your Star Author posts.
    from Tierney

    • 2

      starauthor said,

      I’m glad you like the poem, Tierney! Do you get fog there in the morning like we do here?

      Let me know how the timer trick works for you! I used it this morning.

      Happy writing!

      • 3

        Tierney said,

        Yes we do get fog in the morning, but not always. When we do it’s very thick and seems to consume the harbour!

  2. 4

    Ella said,

    I really like the poem,It really does make you think of a lazy cat!
    I’ve read your book “Dear Papa” and I really liked it.
    The library doesn’t have any of your other books though
    I look forward to reading your Blog posts!!

    Ella 🙂

    • 5

      zackids said,

      Hopefully we’ll have some of Anne’s other books to give away on the blog later in the month Ella 🙂

    • 7

      starauthor said,

      Thanks for your response, Ella! I hope the timer trick works for you. I’m so glad you liked Dear Papa. I’ll see that your library gets the rest of the books, too.
      Happy reading!

  3. 8

    Ella said,

    P.S. Forgot to say that I really like the 15 minute trick – I’m definitely try it out!! 😉

  4. 9

    […] right before the picture was taken, what might have happened afterwards? Then set your timer (see last post) and see where your imagination takes […]

  5. 10

    Aisling said,

    I like that poem too – and that is a great timer trick!! I am going to try it…I always get stuck fiddling with sentences 😉

    It reminds me of one of my favourite verses of a poem by TS Eliot…he also likens the fog to a cat 🙂

    The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
    The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
    Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
    Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
    Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
    Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
    And seeing that it was a soft October night,
    Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

  6. 12

    reardonhs said,

    That’s lovely. What a cool poem!

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