Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Writing Exercise of the Week--with Thanks to Carolyn See


Write a thank-you postcard (just a few lines) to five people whose books you really loved. Tell them how they changed your life. You can mail it to the publisher's address or google the author to see if you can get a real address for them.

I did this when I was eleven, for a book called The House of Thirty Cats by Mary Calhoun. I loved cats (and still do). I was astonished when I got a hand-written letter back! That book--and its author--changed my life.

As an adult, I've often found this little exercise frees me up to write better. Maybe it's because I am less concerned with competition when I feel grateful? Or I acknowledge that there's plenty of success out there for all of us?

Thanks to Carolyn See for this exercise. Her book Making a Literary Life is fun and very informative.