Welcome to THE WRITER'S WHIMSY - My online journal!


Rewrite Tricks and Treats

Over the past couple of months I’ve put myself on a deadline for a writing project that’s gone into the drawer and come out a few times. Right now the manuscript is going through a major story renovation and this Halloween season here are a few tricks that are helping me:

  1. Showing up for short bits of time. For this project I’ve developed a habit of writing first thing in the morning. I'm using the time that I normally dedicate to journaling, and for now it's working. I may have time to come back to this story later in the day, or not. Either way, I’m slowly, consistently moving the story forward just a bit in that one hour. 
  2. Recognizing what isn’t working and pulling it out. I’m trying very hard to be honest with myself about this as I’m rereading and rewriting. It was painful at first, but it’s getting easier the more I do it, and having room in the manuscript leads to:
  3. Capturing new ideas that I hope will strengthen the story. I didn’t go into this revision anticipating new themes or story threads, but that is what's happening as I'm cutting away the excess. What a surprise - a trick that's turning into a treat!

And here is the real Halloween treat: The Great Blue Pumpkin of Deerfield, Illinois.

Last Halloween I was in the Chicago area and passed through Deerfield where they had a fabulous display of very large decorated pumpkins. This one was particularly interesting to me. Not only is it a blue pumpkin covered in cobwebs and spiders, but caught in the web are words: Community, Kindness, Charity, Hope. The other side reads: Wish, Care, Love. Isn’t it wonderful? I wish I knew the artist’s name so that I could give credit.

Happy Halloween, and Happy Rewriting!


This essay originally appeared at Smack Dab in the Middle Blog.


Irene Latham's WILD Blogiversary Roundup: "To the Waters and the Wild"

I'm happy to be participating in Irene Latham's WILD Ten Year Blogiversary Roundup!

On November 9, 2015 Irene is celebrating ten years of blogging at Live Your Poem!

Congratulations, Irene!

Each year Irene chooses a word that she looks for and uses in her writing and her work. Irene's 2015 word is WILD. 

To celebrate Irene’s wild theme, I chose an excerpt from the poem The Stolen Child by William Butler Yeats. "Come away, O human child! To the waters and the wild..." These lines from the faerie point of view are captivating and haunting - thank goodness we don't have to worry about faeries coaxing children away to the wild in real life. Although this poem is set in Yeats's home country of Ireland, I decided to go a little wild and pair these lines with my own photo of a late spring sunset on the water near my Florida home. If you'd like to read the entire poem, you can find it at Poets.org.

Thank you, Irene, for inviting me to participate in your celebration. If you'd like to visit Irene's blog and see how many of her other blogging friends are wildly cheering, click on Irene's beautiful wild roundup poster above.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoy. 


Brave Enough to Not Finish

At Smack Dab in the Middle Blog during September in honor of summer's end, we're writing on the theme of endings. My take on this is being brave enough to not finish. Here is an excerpt:

Oh, a happy ending, a promising ending, or even a sad but satisfying ending. As a writer it’s one of the most important parts of my job – ending well is the payoff for staying with a story. Yet I have many stories that I've begun, but that are still without endings (or proper endings) because I’ve abandoned them. The reasons for not finishing vary, but most common are that they weren't super ideas to begin with, or something else more interesting has captured my attention. 

You can read the full essay by clicking here.

Thanks for stopping by!


The Activity Guide for THIS OLD BAND is here!

To coincide with the start of the 2015-2016 school year I'm happy to share the newly created activity guide for THIS OLD BAND. First grade teacher Ed Spicer developed the guide and I did the design work. Here it is:

I think Ed did a fantastic job with the guide and I hope educators will enjoy using this with their students.




Thanks for stopping by!


Celebrating National Aviation Day and The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations!

It’s August 19 – National Aviation Day! I’m celebrating the holiday with my poem for children called: National Aviation Day. This poem is one of over 150 poems by 115 poets that make up The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong from Pomelo Books.

There are so many things to love about the anthology - the wide variety of poems that touch on familiar and not-so-familiar holidays and celebrations throughout the year, the Take 5! activities that accompany each poem, the clear layout that let readers see and choose where they'd like to dive in. I also love that some of the poems are based on heritages and holidays around the world and every poem is in both English and Spanish. Janet and Sylvia worked with several interpreters who helped make the translations. Here is the opening stanza for my poem:


On National Aviation Day

we honor pilots, planes, and flight.

We celebrate two brothers

Orville and Wilbur Wright.



“En el Día Nacional de la Aviación

honramos a los pilotos, aviones y vuelos,

y celebramos a dos hermanos,

Orville y Wilber Wright,” 

To celebrate my poem and the beginning of the new school year, I’m giving away one set of THE POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY FOR CELEBRATIONS. This includes the illustrated student edition and the teacher/librarian edition. If you’d like to enter my giveaway, just comment here.

You can also enter by retweeting one of my Twitter tweets, or tweet on your own using my handle @TameraWissinger or #NationalAviationDayPoem. Here are two sample tweets. Feel free to use one or both:

Interested in a fun #poetry book #teachers or #librarians? @TameraWissinger has a giveaway: The PFA FOR CELEBRATIONS http://tinyurl.com/p7dny48

.@TameraWissinger is celebrating her #NationalAviationDayPoem with a giveaway of the The PFA FOR CELEBRATIONS http://tinyurl.com/p7dny48

Another way to enter is to mention or share on Facebook with a tag to me. The contest goes through noon Eastern Daylight Time on Wednesday, August 26, 2015. After that, I'll collect the entries and draw from my ditty bag.


Thanks for stopping by and if you enter the giveaway, good luck!

Congratulations, Sarah Rose, winner of the giveaway. Thanks for participating, everyone!

(Post updated on 8/28/15)