Writing Excerpts – February 8, 2016

Here is the second 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.

I considered fixing the spelling and grammar, but decided to just post what I had written as it was. I have not included every bit writing from each day. That would make the post very long and I do need the option to keep some of my writing to myself. I don’t always follow the writing prompts, and sometimes I start following but then veer off into my own thoughts.

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.



Write a Confession – embarrassing fact, failure, etc.

This could seriously be my whole life. How to choose just one thing?

Well, for starters, I did not write 500 words yesterday. I skipped it. Why? Basically because I’m lazy. I thought about it all day. I thought about it when I should have been sleeping. I even considered getting up and writing so that maybe I could sleep. But I didn’t. The darn bed was just too cozy.

Even though I KNEW it would only take 15-20 minutes to do the writing, I let it remain on my mind all day instead of just sitting down and doing it. That’s why I HAVE to write first thing in the morning. Otherwise I know I won’t get it done. I have that tendency when it comes to just about everything. I put it off, procrastinate, think about it, stay awake because I know I didn’t do it… Why? I don’t really know. I wonder if it’s something that many people do?

And you know what? I almost didn’t do my writing today either. Really. It’s just after 9:00 a.m. right now, and I finally talked myself into doing the thing that I should have done 4 hours ago. Why didn’t I do it? This one is sort of easy… writer’s block. My mind could not settle on one thing to write about. So, here I am, writing about my whole life. 😉 This is the problem I have writing for content mills – either the instructions are not specific enough, or I worry that I did not understand them correctly and would completely miss the mark with my writing – so I either don’t pick up articles or more often turn them back in to the writing pool. Not cool, I know. I don’t want to get the reputation of not finishing what I start.

So that’s why I’m writing at this moment. I don’t know if I will include this with my excerpts next week. It’s pretty much “I’m a loser” confession. But Jeff’s email did say to write about what I could teach readers about the issue, so I could go with that.

“Eat the frog.” I really hate that saying, but it’s so appropriate here. Doing the hardest thing first usually means doing the thing you don’t really know how to start. I wouldn’t have a clue about how to eat a frog. Just like sometimes I don’t have a clue what to write. It’s more about getting started, because once you begin, it’s likely you will finish. Unless that frog really sucks.

My goal for January was to write an article for pay every day. I didn’t do it, and it’s completely my fault. Character flaw, if you want to call it that. So for February, my goal is to overcome this tendency and finish what I start. That does NOT mean just not starting either. I have to do something hard every day in order to build my mind, my skills, and my self-confidence.



Write about fear.

My current fear is a selfish one. I fear that I will never be good enough.

{Edited to snip selfish whining}

I think what this all leads toward is my overarching fear that life just keeps happening to me instead of me making it what I want. But maybe, just maybe, these job rejections are fate’s way of telling me that my efforts to create a life will not be thwarted by yet another dead-end job. This is giving me to opportunity to have the time to create and experiment with being productive at something I might actually enjoy. Hmmmm….. now I just need to make some money!



Cut the fluff

What can I write about that is direct and does not require “fluff?” I believe this is a journalistic style rather than a descriptive style that invites you into the scene. (See, right there… using “that” and then adding more words… descriptive.)

The day was chilly. Snow fell onto the bare ground. Snow flurries drifted, melting as they hit the bare ground. (Why are adjectives okay and adverbs excessive? Apparently I’ve forgotten a little too much of my English classes.) The flakes were getting bigger, clumping together as they fell. They accumulated faster than they could melt.

Is overly descriptive writing a male vs. female thing? Women have so much more on their minds at all times – it seems okay to me that we need to use more words to express our thoughts. Personally, I either say nothing or I talk too much – and still really say nothing. Sometimes the words we first use don’t even match what we are thinking. That’s probably why I like writing better than speaking – editing is magic.

The clock ticked. The sump pump kicked on, running less than 2 seconds before turning off again. Birds chirped. No, one bird. Odd there weren’t more, especially on a snowy day. She listened deeper. There were more birds, but in a different direction. The dog’s tags clanked (?) as he raised his head. She wondered what he had heard. The keyboard clicked as she typed, interrupting her listening. As she opened her eyes to see what she had typed, she saw that big rabbit hop across the yard. It always looked the same, but she wondered how many there really were living in the yard. She closed her eyes again. Water trickled into the sump crock. The pump would run again in a second. The refrigerator made some sort of noise, not exactly a hum, but she didn’t know what to call it. She heard a distant vehicle, probably on the highway a mile away. A bit of metal made a sound in the woodstove, it must be cooling. Her stomach growled. A vehicle drove down her road, slowing and creeping through the maze of potholes in front of her house. It sped up after it passed.The dog barked softly, which meant the vehicle had not been anything with a diesel engine.

Fluffy. I like fluffy.



Write about travel

I remember the first time I saw mountains. Real mountains. Yosemite-type mountains. The sight made my heart ache. Seriously, the beauty. To a girl who had lived on flat farmland for all of her 16 years, nothing could ever be so amazing or intense a sight. The ocean? Meh. Lake Michigan was just as nice. But those mountains! Maybe it’s something about the fear of falling off the edge of a cliff. There is some sort of adrenaline rush there. I’m just thankful I never had to do any of the driving. I began appreciating Ansel Adams’ photographs of Yosemite. It didn’t matter that they were black and white, what is important is the power of the scenery. A photo of Half Dome? Just look at it. If you’ve been there, it will instantly make you remember the experience.

Several years later I had the opportunity to visit Montana, from Helena to Glacier. I felt like I had found the place I was meant to stay forever. That moment when we left Glacier and I looked back to the west. My heart screamed, “Stay here!” A life lesson learned – when your heart and your whole body are THAT sure about something, don’t let your mind get in the way. You will always ALWAYS regret it.

I’ve traveled for work – Phoenix, Wilkes-Barre, Columbus. The starkness of Phoenix was shocking to someone who had lived with green everywhere. Who had ever heard of landscaping with stones instead of grass. After several trips, I began to appreciate the simplicity. After becoming a homeowner, I look back and think I could DEFINITELY live in a place that doesn’t require yardwork.

There have been the occasional weekend trips to Chicago. If I had to live in a large city, it would definitely be Chicago. The architecture, the lake, the big-city midwestern feel. Good stuff. (If you don’t think too much about the usual big-city problems of homelessness, poverty, pollution, etc.) Chicago is vibrant, with a fun edge. Wow, I almost forgot New York City, standing on top of the World Trade Center. Strange to think my children can never have that experience. Honestly I thought NYC was just okay.

But none of those places hit me like the Rocky Mountains. It’s been 20 years since I was there. I know things have changed. Real estate has become a hot commodity since movie stars decided the mountains would make a fun playground and getaway location for their extra homes. I probably could not afford to live there now, and my husband insists he will never live anywhere but our home state. But the memory of the beauty haunts me.



Write about work

Writing about work could easily turn into a rant – or an advice column, mostly about what NOT to do with your work life. A been there, done that sort of thing. I guess I’ll just have to see where this takes me today.

My most recent job was as an elementary school secretary. I wasn’t always a secretary. I had been for a few months a couple of times back in my teens and early 20’s when I needed a job, but since then I had worked as a project manager for a manufacturing company, been a stay at home mom, and done CAD drafting for another manufacturing company. So how did I become a secretary, and what has it meant for my life? When the economy went into the crapper in 2008, I was laid off from my part-time CAD job (my favorite job EVER) and not too long after that, my husband was laid off from his union construction job. We figured everything would be okay. We had been doing the Dave Ramsey {Edited to add link.} thing for long enough to have our debt paid off and some emergency money in the bank. We looked at it as an opportunity to spend some time together. That was great for about 3 months, until the money began to run low, our son was diagnosed with absence seizures and doctor bills began to come in, and it was obvious construction was not going to pick up for quite a while. We live in an area that is 25-45 minutes from towns of any size, so when a nearly-full-time secretary job became available at my son’s school only 5 minutes away from our home, it seemed like the thing to do. I was very hesitant that I might be trapping myself into being a secretary forever, but it was a paycheck and I didn’t intend to stay longer than a couple of years.

Words of wisdom: If your heart is telling you to NOT take a job, listen.

I ended up staying at that job for much longer than I had intended, mostly due to my son’s medical issues, which ended up being much more serious than anyone had expected. My being in the same building with him every day for the next four years, getting to know the district staff, and being immediately available for meetings or other issues was a blessing. But I still regret taking the job. It is soul-sucking work.

{Find a way to do the work you love.}



I was really disappointed by most of my 500-word efforts this week. Then I realized that only one or two were actually written early in the morning. It’s obvious that If I don’t write immediately in the morning, it’s likely I won’t write at all. Even if I do write, there is something missing. Early in the morning, my personal filter hasn’t quite kicked in yet. Maybe that’s why some authors write drunk – to remove the filter. Right now I’m so tired I can barely keep my eyes open (sometimes I actually do close my eyes when I type, it helps me listen and focus and sometimes “see” what I want to write in my head), so I’m interested to see how this rambling turns out.

Wow, I had forgotten the absolute exhaustion I feel when I stay up late. We watched the Superbowl last night, and I didn’t get to sleep until something like 11:30 or maybe even later. Then the alarm went off at 4:00 this morning. Honestly, I don’t know if my brain will work at all today. Hmmm… I probably should just write all day. Exhaustion = truth? Except that I can’t quite make the words form properly on the keyboard.There is no truth if there are no words.

Usually I like to write before I clear my head with a shower every morning, but today I think I might have to pause the writing and shower. I find myself sitting here and staring off into space, wishing I could still be sleeping. My alarm would actually just be going off right now at 5:30 if I hadn’t committed to getting up at the same time as my husband. Why did I do that? I think it’s something to do with trying to get myself in order. Whatevs. Back to my original thought at the beginning of this paragraph. I wonder what it is about taking a nice hot shower that wakes a person up and clears the mind? Imagine all of the amazing things that could be accomplished in the world if everyone had access to a great hot shower every morning.

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 8, 2016 | www.fillingthejars.com | Here is the second weekly collection of excerpts from my morning 500-word daily writings.

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3 thoughts on “Writing Excerpts – February 8, 2016”

  1. Kudos to you! I wanted to make sure I wrote every day in my writing journal this year, I admit, I’m failing horribly. You may have skipped a day or two, but at least you didn’t skip weeks. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. From reading your blog posts, it’s obvious you’re working hard on Flourishing in other areas of your life, so it’s all good, right? Maybe you could make a mini-goal of writing just a few sentences? Thanks so much for visiting!

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