Writing Excerpts – February 1, 2016

Since I don’t want to go back on my word — here it is, the first weekly collection of excerpts from my morning 500-word daily writings. In my post Struggling With Perfectionism, I challenged myself to post some of the things I write each week.


The daily writings are unedited for spelling and grammar. I thought about fixing that sort of thing, but decided to just post what I had written as it was. I have not included every bit of each day. That would make the post very long and I honestly do need the option to keep some of my writing to myself. I don’t always follow the writing prompts, but happened to do that for most of the days this past week.

If you’re interested in the My 500 Words challenge, you can find out more about it in my post here and on the official challenge page here.



Today’s writing prompt is to write about our day and make it interesting. LOL – yeah, okay, like that’s possible.

In preparation for a lazy Saturday morning, on Friday night I turned off the alarm. No getting up at 4:00 a.m. for this woman! If my husband could sleep in on the weekend, then so could I! Turns out, all night I kept waking up, excited to look at the clock and find out how late I had slept. Finally, from 5:00 to 5:30 I was just staring at the clock, thinking I should have just set the alarm for a reasonable time and forgotten about it.

Sighing, I rolled out of bed. (I always laugh at that expression, but it really is true.) Thankfully I had had the foresight to mix up a batch of iced coffee the day before, so there was no messing around with the coffee pot. Insulated tumbler, ice, coffee, lid, caffeinated and sugared bliss. Once the caffeine hit, I looked around the kitchen and discovered that I had in fact taken care of loading and running the dishwasher the night before. (Wow, I really had my shit together on Friday!)

I shuffled into the living room to check the thermometer (67°F – nice) and deal with the woodstove. I knew it needed to be shoveled out, so I took care of that. Then I laid some smaller branches on what was left of the hot coals (love that woodstove!) and waited for the fire to catch before carefully placing some larger split logs on top. Once that was crackling, it was time to get down to the real business of the day.

Writing – although little did I know at the time how MUCH of my day that would take up. I blew out my 500 words for the Jeff Goins challenge. Love that it now only takes me about 20-25 minutes to write 500 words, it used to take about 40 minutes. I’m definitely learning to let the words flow more freely.

Checked the woodstove, considered and rejected the idea of doing a load of laundry, let the dog out, took a shower, and polished off the white trash chex mix for breakfast – thinking I really need to recommit to the no-sugar thing. One of these days…



Write about Food {Edited to say I found it funny that this was the topic after I had just written about coffee the day before.}

… Oh, and then there were the days she drank iced coffee. Usually during the summer, but sometimes she would save the leftover weekend coffee and make a pitcher of the sweet, creamy, dreamy stuff to drink during the week when she just needed to keep going and going and not stop to eat. The iced coffee… oh, so much sugar and creamer. It was important to use real cream in the iced coffee. The fake flavored stuff would do in a pinch, but it just didn’t give the same texture or color. The liquid felt different on the tongue, not as rich or soft.

She had always said coffee was just a carrier for sugar and creamer. When she was on a huge health kick, she completely avoided the stuff altogether. Not because she thought coffee was bad in and of itself, but what was the point of drinking it without sugar or cream? Seriously, the absence of either one left a cup of warmth that was nice to hold, but she only drank out of habit, not for enjoyment.

She used to like black coffee. When she was teaching herself to like coffee in her 20’s (because of course everyone drank coffee, she must be missing out), she drank it black. It was easy, it was oh-so-cool to be the one in the crowd who liked her coffee black and strong…



Halfway through the challenge – how do I feel?

I’m loving the write 500 words challenge, and the only way it has worked is because I’m combining it with the get up earlier challenge. Otherwise I know there is no way I would “find” the time to sit and write 500 words about anything or nothing. So in that sense I feel awesome and the whole thing is a complete success!

However, I can’t help thinking that I should have some sort of direction by now, that my daily writing sessions should be flowing into some kind of cohesive theme or becoming chapters or scenes in a story. I guess they are chapters of my thoughts. Is that the actual goal? To practice getting odd thoughts out which, when read weeks later, have germinated into story ideas? Hmmmm…. such may be the case, but I think the fault actually lies in my inability to focus. I had kind of hoped to be well on my way toward completing a story by now.

Last week I wrote in my blog that I would be sharing some excerpts from these writings. Was that a good idea, or was I just trying to put something out there in a post that might possibly entice someone – ANYONE – to come back and read future posts? I suppose there might not actually be anything wrong with thinking ahead, but I want to make it all REAL. I want my blog to be real, and I want my morning writings to be real. I guess in order to be COMPLETELY real, I would have to go back to scribbling in a paper diary with a lock – or a password-protected document that I only write in when I am absolutely sure nobody else is around. Then I wonder why I would feel the need to do that? Maybe so nobody actually sees how weirdly my mind works?



Write about hope.

Her hand shook as she turned on the computer. She noticed it and wondered why THAT had happened. All she was planning to do was write. She had signed up for a challenge to write 500 words a day, but it’s not like anyone was checking up on her. She knew the daily emails she got were automated and the “coaching” app she had signed up for was also automated. Nobody was going to come to her house and demand to see her writing. She didn’t have to turn it in like a school assignment. It’s not like she was being paid for what or how much she wrote.

Oh. Right. The end goal WAS to get paid for writing. On HER terms. This was just a first step, a way to remind herself of how it felt to allow words to flow, and what to do when they didn’t flow but had to be forced.

So why was her hand shaking? She stopped to consider for a moment and realized she was afraid she would fail yet again.

No. Wait. She hadn’t actually failed at being a writer because she had never actually allowed herself to take the risk. As a teenager, she had pictured herself writing novels and being a bestselling author, but that dream had fallen away under the reality of finding a job, supporting herself, then getting married and having children AND having a full-time job.

But here she was at 44 years old, considering taking that chance of putting her own work out into the universe and praying like hell that someone would like it enough to buy it. For someone who had always put herself down and held others’ work up as better than her own, it was a tough mind shift to consider making HER work available and wanting everyone else to think it was better than other works available – or at least good enough to purchase…



Pick a fight / write a manifesto

{Not included because this one would probably alienate almost everyone who read it.}



Write about waiting

Today’s prompt assumes that “waiting” means downtime, sitting without having a choice to do anything else and that it’s a bad thing. Actually those are my favorite times. Sometimes I will arrive early for an appointment just so I have the opportunity to sit and read or guiltlessly check my phone without feeling like there are a hundred other things I should really be working on right at that moment.

Waiting for test results – be they academic or medical – slightly different story. Your mind spends hours or days sifting through possible outcomes, sometimes creating elaborate scenarios surrounding events that you don’t even know would happen regardless of the test results. There is a reason for the quotes that go along the lines of “don’t borrow trouble” and “don’t worry about what you cannot change.” I know some people believe you can affect the outcome with your thoughts, but if you have already taken the test and are simply waiting for results, all the mind power in the world isn’t going to change what has already happened that you simply do not know about yet.

Waiting for a job interview. Since I am not all that great with people and giving great b.s. answers at the drop of a hat, knowing what’s coming at me does not make me comfortable. Plus you can’t pull out a book or a phone. Instead, you have to just sit there, getting more nervous by the minute, doing all of the mind exercises you can remember in an attempt to relax yourself. And it just doesn’t work. It seriously doesn’t matter if you’re waiting two minutes or twenty, it’s torture.

Waiting for a loved one to return home during bad weather. Sort of like waiting for test results, but with the slight possibility that prayer or positive energy just might help to keep your person safe.

Waiting for people to visit your blog – oh, the torture of those first days or weeks.

But the waiting that is a daily torture is the trap of waiting for your life to change. When I was a child, I always wished I were ten years older. I just KNEW that if I were 13 or 18 or 26 that my life would magically become this wonderful adventure and that REAL living could finally begin. Finally, at 44, I’m beginning to learn that waiting for life to begin or change is the worst possible thing a person can do. Leaving your life up to fate is wasting the fantastic life you COULD be living. Nothing is going to change in the way you want or expect unless YOU do something to push it in the right direction.


Okay, I did it. If you’re reading this, then it means I hit the “Publish” button! Let me know what you think in the comments or email [email protected]

Are you doing a writing challenge or posting any of your personal musings? Leave a link in the comments — I would love to read what other people are writing!


Writing Excerpts - February 1, 2016 - www.fillingthejars.com | I challenged myself to post some of the things I write each week. Here they are - the first weekly collection of excerpts from my morning 500-word daily writings.

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2 thoughts on “Writing Excerpts – February 1, 2016”

  1. Hi Julie
    I love your writing style! Reminds me so much of when I used to write just whatever came to my head! In fact at one point I convinced myself that I was a proper novelist! Thanks for bringing back the memories.

    1. Thank you for the kind comment! I think most “real” writers have a problem with self-confidence when it comes to their writing… so you may actually be a proper novelist! 😉

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