Writing Excerpts – February 15, 2016

Here is the third 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. Here they are.

The daily writings are unedited for spelling and grammar. I 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 do keep some of my writing to myself. I also don’t always follow the writing prompts.

Halfway through this week I finished the original 31-day challenge. I ended up taking the next few days off from writing. Now I’ve made up a few of my own prompts to work on until I find a new list or challenge to join.

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.


Free write day

There is so much in my head that I think I could probably write about, but even with writing every day, brainstorming post ideas, all that, it feels like there is still too much material stuck in my head. Like there is just a little piece of something holding the flood of information back. It’s getting a little frustrating, and sometimes Pinterest does not help. I think it can read my mind, because as soon as I think of an idea, all sorts of pins with exactly the same information show up in my feed. I have to remember the advice that even if other people have covered the topic, I may be able to bring a new perspective. Self-confidence!

Great, just got a phone call that school is canceled. What, now we live in the south? Seriously, we got maybe an inch of snow last night? I think somebody bumped their head. At least I know I will have a happy child who will sleep most of the day.

How easily we are distracted. It’s been 20 minutes since I wrote a word, all because I decided to “check” my email to see if there was a message from the school about the cancellation. I know better than that, because then I ended up on Facebook, Pinterest, the weather page, and a couple more pages that I’ve already forgotten. Focus is so important! I need to finish making my plan for today and focus on one thing at a time. I cannot let the fact that there is no school today derail me from accomplishing the items on my list.

Sometimes you have to remember that you’re better than you think. Even if you don’t do things in exactly the same way as someone (or everyone) else, what’s important is that it works for you. Increasing efficiency is good, but not if the effort actually decreases the end results. I can easily spend a day thinking and planning, but at some point you have to actually put that plan into action, because it’s all too simple to go back and tweak a plan before anything happens instead of actually doing the project and THEN seeing what can be improved. Done is better than perfect. Just ship it. Engineering is improving, but you have to have a product before you can improve it. All the plans in the world won’t tell you how something will do in reality… I don’t care how many computer simulations you run.


(No school AGAIN. Can’t figure this out.)

Write about childhood – don’t speak to the jaded adult. Hmmmm… not sure I can figure out how to do this one.

Mid-1970’s – the big yellow farmhouse, where my Dad grew up. I remember the old bathtub with the rubber hose that hooked onto the faucet to make a handheld shower sprayer. The dresser in the dining room that always had paper in it for writing. My aunts’ bedroom (why did they share when there were two empty rooms upstairs?) with the amazing bright flowered wallpaper and the closet with the secret room under the stairs. The big barn with all of the cats – going in there even though we weren’t really supposed to, finding the room with the old train table. The lilac bushes and the pretty flowers (moss roses) my aunts would plant on the teeny slope from the lilacs to the driveway. The trumpet flower bush outside the living room window with the sappy flowers. Going upstairs to the second floor where it was so bright, the neat open space before going into the bedrooms. My aunt Lois’s room, unused and still the same even though she had married and moved away 7-8 years before. My uncle Tom’s room – I think he had shared it with Jim & John? It was definitely a guy’s room – great stereo, off limits to little kids like us. Through the back of that room was my Dad’s room, unused since he had also married and moved away, but definitely not empty. So much stuff in there. What I remember the most is the coolest globe – the water was black instead of blue. Someday I would love to have one like it. It was so fascinating. I remember another barn, the one with the basketball hoop and not really anything else since we all were told it could fall down at any time. (No, there was a tractor. Did it run?) Playing basketball with the well-used, worn-smooth ball with not enough air in it to bounce. The small barn where my uncles would work on snowmobiles. The old car sitting in the yard, I don’t even know if it ran, but we loved playing in it. The outhouse, I’m pretty sure we all used it at one time or another. Bees. Picnics when the family would come up from Detroit – tables outside covered with plastic-y tablecloths, sitting under the trees behind the house. Vernors ginger ale that would tickle my nose. Koegel hot dogs. Faygo pop in so many flavors. Raking leaves in the fall and jumping into the piles with my brother and my aunts. Watching TV with Kathy and eating Cheez-Its and/or Lay’s chips. When Tom moved away to get married and Mary got to move into his room and I was finally allowed to go in there. That blue color, windows that went almost to the floor with the pretty lace curtains. Walking out on the sandhill. It seemed like we walked for miles. Wild grapes along the lane? Was it grapes or mulberries? The willow tree that only Kathy could climb. I could never get very far. The paper plate up high on the wall in the dining room – found out later it covered the opening for an old stovepipe.

Then Gramma’s funeral, and nothing was the same.


Write about finishing {last day of the My 500 Words challenge}

Even when you finish something, are you ever really done with it? I’ve ghost-written several freelance articles, and I often wonder what happened to them? Were they edited? Were they posted? Did anyone read my words? Will I possibly someday run across my writing unexpectedly and recognize it as my own? And the blog posts I write – hitting “publish” just means the real work begins. That’s probably the most surprising discovery about blogging – finishing a post is just the beginning. I imagine it’s the same with any type of writing, especially books. Something to think about – would I be up for the marketing if I ever did “finish” writing a book?

Another thing I think about is rearing children. Do we ever finish trying to impart wisdom? Sometimes my older son looks at my husband and me with that “you can stop now” look. So many times we’ve thrown up our hands and said, “I’m done.” But we’re not. We still find ourselves texting and calling him, trying to explain a little bit of life to an 18-year-old.

Education. Finishing high school, college… great accomplishments, but we should never be finished learning. It never ceases to amaze me when I hear people speak about taking their master’s degree as if they will never have to learn another thing in their lives. I guess the sad thing is that some of them never do learn anything new. “That’s not my thing” or “I don’t know how to do that” is not an excuse to keep your life focus so narrow that you lose the joy of living.

But the brief feeling of accomplishment when you can say something is finished – good stuff! The smile you can’t help when you look at a room you have remodeled and you actually did everything you said you would do. The relief you feel when you turn in an article on the due date. The pride when you read a published piece of work and there are no mistakes. (Or at least not any that would be noticed without extra scrutiny.)


Write something fictional.

She held out her hands and waited. Alone in the forest, she believed in magic and miracles. It hadn’t always been this way. Her history was of purely logical thinking, reasoning through every action and reaction. There was no room in her life for emotion, religion, spirituality, belief in anything other than hard work and good planning. Even her hike today had begun as had five out of seven days every week for as long as she could remember – a rigorous run alternating with speed walking. Her sedentary job demanded working out, getting out of the house and soaking in some Vitamin D while moving her muscles and opening her brain pathways so she could work harder and better.

Something had happened today, thrown her off her stride. A quick movement off to her right, the wrong color for a forest creature, and far too obvious for someone dangerous attempting to hide. With no fear, she left the jogging path and entered the forest. She didn’t know if people often walked here or not, she had always been too focused on her own exercise regimen.

As she picked her way across the tricky forest floor, she took her phone out of its pocket and turned it on. No signal. Huh. There was always a full signal on the jogging path. She put the phone away and continued walking for a moment, then stopped. Without GPS, how would she find her way back? She had an appointment with a new client later this morning and could not be late. Why was she even doing this, looking for something she had only briefly glimpsed from the corner of her eye? Whatever it was, she really didn’t need to be chasing after it. Better to finish her run and get back to her morning schedule. She turned around to head back to the jogging path, but she couldn’t see it. In fact, the entire forest looked different than it had a second ago.

Logic could not explain this, but she tried anyway. She must have walked further than she thought. She looked at her watch, surprised that it had not alerted her to her changed stride and failure to adhere to the workout time schedule. The watch was dead, no response no matter how many times she tapped the screen or tried to power it down and on again. Very strange, it was nearly new and she charged it every night. Something about being in the forest must have drained the battery.

She heard water. No, something was definitely wrong. There were no natural water sources in this area. But since she seemed to be off course, she might as well check out the source of the sound. Maybe she had walked through the forest and would come upon someone’s backyard water feature. A few minutes later, she realized just how wrong that fantasy had been. She was standing at the edge of a beautiful creek, which was absolutely impossible. Had she been drugged and kidnapped? Was this a joke being played on her by her younger brother and sister?

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!

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