NanoWrimo is here! #IWSG

The first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writer’s Support Group.  Every month there is a new question which you answer on your own blog or use it as a springboard to share your thoughts on your writing journey. Talk about your doubts, fears you have conquered, struggles and triumphs. After posting, visit the master list and visit and comment on twelve new blogs. This is a safe haven for writers to connect, share and encourage each other.

November 1 question – Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

It’s that time of year! November 1 means one thing–NaNoWriMo–National Novel Writing Month. Each November gads of people from all over the world work towards a goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by November 30th.

Two years ago, I joined the challenge and completed the goal. As a new writer, I learned the art of sitting my butt in the chair and write every day. What started out as a memoir morphed into a fiction story. I have always loved reading and escaping to new worlds. It was a magical experience watching my fingers create a world of my own imagination. While I’ve yet to try and do anything with my half memoir-half novel, the experience gave me confidence that I could write a novel. And I fell in love with writing.

Did I participate last year?

I didn’t. It came down to priorities. With a blog, other writing projects and two kids at home, I wasn’t willing to add another thing and become the obsessed mom who locked herself in her room frantically pounding out keystrokes while my peeps scrounged around the kitchen for scraps of bread only to find they were moldy.

Am I participating this year?

I want to. As November gets closer, I’m so tempted to. My kids aren’t home anymore. I love the idea of just pure writing. No editing. No thinking. I love the high from watching the slider move each day closer to the goal of 50k words.

But I’m not going to.

It’s about priorities—again. I am taking a Fiction Writing class that ends midway through November. I also recently joined Toastmasters and a writing group. Outside of writing, November will be busy with Thanksgiving and my daughter coming home from three months in Germany.

Because I have this insatiable need to complete everything I commit to, I would lose character if I tried to add NaNoWriMo to the list. Rest assured, I would have my speech prepared for Toastmasters, my homework done for my class, and my story written for the writing group–while completing 1667 words each day for Nano.

But it would be ugly.

I would be grumpy and stressed and just not too much fun to be around. I want to love my daughter and the rest of my family well. I want to bake and shop and laugh instead of rushing through a to-do list. This is a season I’m not willing to be absent from. So for this year, I will say no. Maybe next year.


*Rewrite* Should you force a child to share

The next exercise was to rewrite the piece adding character details.  I’d love your feedback if you have thoughts.  Thanks!

“Ellie, share your toy with Susan. Good little girls share their toys.” Betsy watched her two-year-old little sister’s curls bob up and down as her face turn red and bottom lip stuck out in protest. At the same moment, her mom’s blue worn purse began vibrating. Betsy reached her hand to try and help by retrieving the phone.

“What do you think you are doing, Little Miss? You do not go in my purse.” Betsy backed away hurt and confused. She was just trying to help. She slumped in a corner with a library copy of The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe wishing she could visit new worlds through a magical wardrobe.

“Betsy is usually such a good little girl—quiet, obedient and always with her nose in a book. What more could a mom ask for?” Betsy cringed at the word little. 11 years old is far from little! To say it when they were alone was one thing, but did she have to call her Little Miss in front of her aunt?

“You don’t just take a piece of pizza from the middle. That’s selfish of you to take the biggest piece. You take the next one in the circle.” Betsy drew her feet under her as her finger tapped rhythmically trying to stop the familiar spinning in her head as her field of vision grew smaller. The pizza she was looking forward to moments before felt like rocks in her mouth.

Her mom had come into her bedroom a half hour ago, “Come on, Betsy. Dad is surprising the family with pizza. Let’s go pick it up.” Betsy rose and followed her mom obediently to the car, never mentioning that she needed to finish studying for a quiz tomorrow.

Later that night she made her way to the top bunk unsure of what made the crunching noise under her feet. She couldn’t avoid stepping on her sister’s clothes, books and toys that covered every inch of the floor. As she climbed the ladder, the familiar dread that haunted her each night coursed through her body on cue. It would be hours before the sun went down and sleep would come. She remembered she hadn’t finished studying for the quiz. She would have to fake sick tomorrow during Geography rather than explain to the teacher why it wasn’t done. Even though it was only 7:30 pm, getting up wasn’t an option. She knew what was expected of her and she knew what would happen if she didn’t obey.

Across the hall she overhead her mom telling her dad about their day. “Ellie is nothing like Betsy. They don’t look or act alike. Betsy always shared her toys so well. She is such an easy, compliant child. Maybe Ellie instinctively knows she’s a cutie pie. She always seems so confident and knowing her mind. It is exhausting trying to squelch that before it got out of hand.”

Betsy tossed in her bed and tucked her opinions and needs deeper inside where they would remain safe. She would be a good girl. She wouldn’t argue or talk back. Stay invisible. See what they might want and give them that -then maybe they would like her.


The mouse in my cubbyhole


By Douglas P Perkins (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

I am writing from a hotel room this week. The first thing I did when I got to my room was read every piece of literature they leave out on the desk.  I know where all the amenities are and what to do in case of a fire. I’m not worried about a fire, nor do I need to know where the closest ER is.  I’m just curious.  I enjoy the quest for knowledge from simple mundane things to deep philosophical ones.

Words are the key to knowledge

Long before I could string a row of letters together to form words, I remember sitting on my mom’s lap while she read stories to me.  We had two sets of encyclopedias.  One was a kid’s set. I spent hours looking at the pictures in the 12 hardbound books, each with a different bright colored cover.    The second was a grown-up set that my mom would take off the shelf and let me look at.  I remember being awed by all the words on the pages –rows and rows of beautiful words.

My love for words grew with my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Clifford. My favorite part of the day was when she read books to us in the front of the class while we colored at our desks.  We had rows of cubbyholes in the back of the classroom where we stored our lunch pails, coats, and books.  I began to write stories about a mouse that lived in my cubbyhole.  I don’t know what she said to me, but I remember she made me feel so proud of my words like I was a real author.

Throughout the rest of my school years, I found comfort, safety, and happiness in other worlds created by books.  I read on the bus, I read while doing dishes, I read when I should have been doing my homework.

My curiosity was insatiable.  I would beg my mom to drive me to the library, and I would make two trips to and from the car just to return the 50 book maximum allowed on my card and get 50 more.  When I wanted to learn about a topic, I would search the card catalog and get every book available.  I am so thankful for the internet these days!!

As I married and began a family, my love for reading never waned.  I began reading to my babies and continued to read to them through junior high.  In 1998 I was diagnosed with Degenerative Myopia.  By 2005 my vision had deteriorated, and I saw five images instead of one. The loss of being able to read well was one of the hardest challenges. I began to listen to audio books and practice typing with my eyes closed to train myself to type blind.  My world became small around me when  I could no longer read cereal boxes, billboards, or pill bottles.

In 2015 I became a candidate for femtosecond laser cataract surgery. This procedure was life-changing.  I now have double vision in the distance but can see, and function, especially in my two favorite things –creating new worlds or immerse myself in world’s others have created.

Thanks, Kelly for the writing prompt.  What about you? I’d love to hear about your writing journey.


The Evolution of Writing #IWSG

The first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writer’s Support Group. Every month there is a new question which you answer on your own blog or use it as a springboard to share your thoughts on your writing journey. Talk about your doubts, fears you have conquered, struggles and triumphs. After posting, visit the master list and visit and comment on twelve new blogs. This is a safe haven for writers to connect, share and encourage each other.

September 6 Question: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre, you didn’t think you’d be comfortable in??

I began blogging nonfiction, mostly devotionals four years ago. Recently my friend introduced me to flash fiction. It was love at first sight! To my surprise, I have gotten positive feedback and even won a couple of contests.

My blog Filled to Empty is a niche blog aimed to encourage women to care for themselves well so they can love others lavishly. Fiction doesn’t fit well into that theme. I purchased my name domain a few years ago and decided that now would be a great time to get it up and running so I could use it to explore other genres.

I have a degree in elementary education and have homeschooled my children for over a decade. This fall I am beginning a new season of my life as my children are beginning their own lives, away from home.  The words burn inside me, and whether written, spoken, fiction or non-fiction.  I am excited to set aside my teaching hat and move from squeezing writing into the spare seconds of my day to following the writing path wherever it takes me.

This is my first post for IWSG, and I’m excited to be here. Other things on my fall agenda are reworking two pieces into short ebooks, more flash fiction contests, joining Toastmasters and a course on writing fiction. I’m also toying with the idea of writing a blog post every day for a year. Jeff Goins recently talked about doing that and the lessons he learned.


Is the sixth time a charm?

Jeff Goins started nine blogs before his current blog stuck.  This is number six for me.

Blogs One and Two – Will blogging stick?

I started my blogging journey in September 2013 with two blogs. One was a devotional and the other was to practice writing. I dreamed of being a writer, would this be the first step –or was I in a midlife crisis?  Would I stick with this or would it soon be collecting dust in the basement with my rubber stamps and serger?

BTW –  If you are thinking you would like to give blogging a try, I recommend  It’s free, it’s easy to get started and there is a great community.  Questions? Drop me a line, I’d love to chat.

Blog three – Fear

I felt like I couldn’t find my voice.  Every time I hit publish I was embarrassed the world was reading my most private thoughts. What would they think of me?  So, I started a secret blog.  I think it’s still floating around out there in cyber-space somewhere.  I posted a total of 15 times.

Blog four – Another secret blog

I think this one has fewer posts than blog three.  If secret blogs work for you, I’d love to hear about it.

Blog five – Filled to Empty

In 2016 I knew writing was more than a passing fancy.   I moved to a self-hosted blog so I would have more options and freedom with how the blog operates.  I’ve learned so much and am forever grateful for the help of a much-smarter-than-me husband when I get myself in over my head.  It’s a dream come true to interact with so many of you on  Filled to Empty.

Blog six –  Uncharted territory

Recently I have been exploring the possibility of writing fiction.  I didn’t want to lose the devotional focus of Filled to Empty. So after much thought, I’m excited to launch  Here I will be able to post about other topics I am passionate about like fiction, my writing journey, and product reviews.

I don’t know where this journey will take me, but I’m excited to be on the ride. I’m humbled by each post you read. Those of you who have been with me from the beginning – thank you for believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.  Those of you who have joined along the way -I couldn’t do it without you.  Well, I could but we know what happens when I write secret blogs. :/

I’m excited to be able to customize my emails.  If you haven’t already subscribed you can fill out the form below or the form on my side bar and choose which topics interest you.  As always, your information is kept private and not shared with anyone.  You can also connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.  


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