Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey


Taking a Break

Guilt.  That’s what I feel if I’m not being productive.  During the week, I work a full-time job that I enjoy very much.  Each day, I tackle my workload and feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.

On the weekend is where I struggle.  I realize the weekend should be the time to enjoy ourselves, spend time with family and friends and relax.  In my mind, relaxation means laziness.

I envy people who can spend a rainy Saturday reading a book all day or watching classic movies.  I want to be that person, but I realize I’m not and wonder if I ever can be that person.  I always have a list of what I want to accomplish whether it’s household chores, writing projects or studying.

On Saturday morning, I feel I have to accomplish as much as I can in the next two days and often go back to work Monday feeling tired.  I admit, even though my body is tired, I feel good that I got so much done, but at some point, our bodies need rest.

Is it difficult for you to put your projects aside and just relax?

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“I’ve Been Busy”

These days everyone is busy. You call a friend you haven’t talked to in a long time and ask them how they’ve been, they respond, “I’ve been busy.”  You ask a co-worker how they’re doing and they reply, “busy”.   Is this what we want to hear?  Most of us want to know what’s going on in their life;  how’s the family, their job, their health, but perhaps they’re too busy to tell us.

We all have busy times in our lives, but must we tell everyone, every chance we get. Does talking about how busy we are prove we’re a more involved person, a harder working employee, a better parent, or even a more accomplished writer?

We all have twenty-four hours in a day and most of the time we have control over how we spend those hours. We don’t have to go out to hunt our food each day.  We don’t have to walk to everywhere we go.  Most of us aren’t hand washing our clothes outside in a bucket with freezing temperatures. How many people do you know who plow their fields and grow their own vegetables?  In comparison to our grandparents and great-grandparents, we’ve have it pretty easy with time saving modern conveniences.

I know people who accomplish more than I could ever do in a day, but I never hear them talk about how busy they are.  They do their thing and accept that having a busy schedule is sometimes a part of life.  Maybe we need to stop telling everyone how busy we are and work on prioritizing our schedule.

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I Wish It Was Friday

Most of us love Friday.  Some people live for Friday, going through their week dreading each day until Friday rolls around.  For many, knowing they have two days away from the grind, is what gets them through their week.

The anticipation of the upcoming weekend always creates a buzz of non-stop chatter in the office on Friday, unlike Monday morning, when it seems painful for your co-worker to grunt a ” good morning” to you. On Friday, co-workers share their weekend plans and often take a longer than usual lunch at their favorite restaurant.  It’s always on Friday when people bring donuts to the office, rarely on Monday.

It seems like people are nicer on Fridays.  You’re standing in line at the grocery store and the person in front of you notices you have fewer items, they let you go ahead. You’re driving down the road and you realize you’re in the wrong lane to make your turn, the car next to you graciously allows you over. Why do we let the day of the week determine whether or not we’re in a good mood and more importantly, how we treat each other?

My favorite quote in my high school yearbook was, “I wish it was Friday”.  Growing up, my mother used to say, “You’re wishing your life away”.  Of course, being a teenager, I didn’t have a clue what she meant, but I do now.  Life goes fast and we need to enjoy every day, not just Friday and the weekend.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to bake some cookies to take to work, because tomorrow is Friday!


Running With A Purpose

This morning as I made my normal 30 minute commute into downtown, everyone hit their breaks and traffic stopped. The typical thoughts of most commuters started to invade my mind.  Great, I’m going to be late for my meeting.  Is there an accident?  My thoughts quickly turned into frustration.

As my car idled in the same spot for five minutes and my frustration grew, I started to notice all the people walking along the sidewalks. I was delayed on a highly traveled bus route. Normally traffic is moving, so I never really noticed all of the people who rely on public transportation.

In the darkness of the minutes before dawn, I saw a young man race across a parking lot.  He turned onto the sidewalk, running as if his life depended on it.  Then I saw the bus stopped a football field length ahead of him.  I realized, he needed to get on that bus.  Perhaps he had an important meeting at work. Maybe his boss had given him a warning about being late.  Whatever the reason, he ran with great determination; I began to root for him.

Moments later, his pace slowed and then he stopped on the sidewalk.  I saw the taillights of the bus fading into the darkness.  He didn’t make it.  His head dropped in defeat as he slowly walked toward the bus stop. My heart went out to him.

The blare from the car’s horn behind me broke the trance I held on the young man. I was thinking how fortunate I am to have a car and to be stuck in traffic.  Again, the horn impatiently blasted as traffic was moving again, but not for the young man.  He had taken a seat at the bus stop and watched the cars pass by him.

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Christmas in September?

Let me preface this with, I love the holiday season.  Listening to Perry Como sing, “There’s No Place Like Home For The Holidays” brings comforting childhood memories to mind.  My mother loved Perry Como and played his album continuously.  The warm feel created by the lights on the tree and the flickering glow of the candles provides a blanket for me on those frigid December nights.

What I don’t like about the holiday season is when retailers push the fast forward button and suddenly we are into Christmas and we haven’t even reached Halloween. This past weekend I went into a Dollar Tree store and to my surprise, I saw ornaments and stockings crowding out the plastic pumpkins.  The wrapping paper seemed to be pushing the Halloween costumes off the shelf.  It was only September 22nd for gosh sakes!  What would Charlie Brown have to say?

Over the years, I’ve gotten used to the turkeys and cornucopia edging out the pumpkins, but mistletoe and tinsel?  Big named department stores are just as guilty.  Winter coats are on display when we’re still wearing our shorts and tee shirts.  Bathing suits, front and center, when you walk into the door and you’re still wearing those extra ten pounds you plan to lose, under your coat.

We need to slow down and enjoy each season at its appropriate time.  Growing older, I realize how quickly time passes and the importance of living in the moment.  Not worrying about tomorrow or regretting the past because all we really have is now.  More importantly, I’ve learned we should enjoy the people in our lives because after all, this is your life.  What’s the rush?


It’s Not That Easy

“Writing a short story should be easier.”

My favorite aunt made this statement when I told her I was working on a new short story.  My response to her was, “Not really.”   I explained to her simply because a short story contains fewer words, it doesn’t make it easier.  In fact, for me, it proved to be a greater challenge.

Getting my feet wet with short stories began after my first experience with NaNoWriMo.  Writing 50,000 words in 30 days was a thrilling experience.  Afterward, I decided I wanted to write more stories and maybe even be published one day.  I began writing short stories in order to enter the contest world as well as to submit some stories to magazines.

Initially, I felt I wouldn’t be able to make a short story as memorable as a full manuscript.  How could readers fall in love with my characters, if I didn’t have time to develop them? All of those quirks I had in mind for my characters, but there was no time to express the quirks. How could I establish a setting with rolling hills and the glorious autumn leaves, if I was limited to so few words?  What about my main character’s friends, readers would think my main character was a hermit.  There was no time to introduce the friends to the readers.

I learned quickly, every word had to count.  Every sentence had to advance my plot and move my character toward his or her goal.  This was hard.  I began to question why I decided to write short stories.

While writing the first story I felt I had bitten off more than I could chew, until it came time to edit. Writing a short story was time consuming, but when it came to editing, it felt like a walk in the park compared to a full manuscript.  That’s where my love for the short story began.  Several months later, one of my short stories was published.  It wasn’t easy to write, but the end result sure felt good.


Enough is Enough

I’m a perfectionist. I like things to be done a certain way. I’ll often spend an extra amount of time to make sure something is perfect. Having perfectionist tendencies has been beneficial in my day job as it results in a strong attention to detail. I’m a triple checker when it comes to putting my name on a project. When I think of the word perfectionist in relation to writing, the word edit immediately comes to my mind.

To edit is to prepare or alter to a refine state. For me, publication is the end result of editing. This line of thinking often leads me to a state of analysis paralysis. I find myself obsessively editing a project, with many colors of ink, to the point where no action is taken.

If I wait for something to be perfect, I might be waiting forever. Perhaps I want to wait forever. Maybe I’m over editing in order to delay the criticism I may receive if my project is released into the world. Perhaps I’m scared.

There comes a time, however, when my projects require some closure. Whether I’m submitting a project or writing for myself, I need to bring my editing to a close in order to move on to my next project.  If not, I’ll never become a better writer.

Writing this blog is slowly weaning me of my need to be perfect when it comes to editing. For now, I’m posting every day and by following that schedule it’s teaching me to write, edit and move on.  Afterall, there are so many stories to write and only so many hours in the day. This blog is giving me a daily deadline, so there is no time for my perfectionist personality to take control.  I’m slowly learning to let it go.


Saying Goodbye

Hummingbirds in our backyard.

Hummingbirds in our backyard.

I don’t know what the weather is like in your neck of the woods, but in Charlotte, mornings have that cool and crisp feel and we are only one day into autumn.  I’ve always enjoyed the change of seasons, although I’m not a fan of the long and cold winter months.

For me, the arrival of autumn means, cooking soups (and stew) in my Crock-Pot, watching football with my favorite guy and moving into my toasty writing nook that is too hot in the summer months due to the direct sunlight.  All of these things get me excited but one thing about the arrival of autumn makes me sad, the departure of our hummingbirds.  Most hummingbirds in the United States will migrate south in early autumn to spend the winter in Northern Mexico or Central America.  They are capable of flying up to speeds at 34mph and are the only group of birds with the ability to fly backwards.

Our love for hummingbirds began several years ago.  At the time, we had no idea of the amount of pleasure these tiny creatures could bring by simply providing them with a continuous supply of nectar.  Hummingbirds are among the smallest of birds, ranging from 3-5 inches. They are always hours away from starving to death.  To compensate, they have the ability to store enough energy to survive overnight.

As we enter into a new season and we say goodbye to our tiny friends, I feel I’m entering into a new season with my writing.  As I’ve written in previous posts, starting this blog is completely out of my comfort zone, but just like the change of seasons, you never know what a new day will bring.

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Written vs. Spoken


I’m all about words.  I love learning new words and yes, I do subscribe to the word of the day e-mails. The ability to put words together that become permanent on the page is what I love to do.  The written word holds a tremendous amount of power. Think about it, have you ever received a letter or an e-mail that was life changing? Perhaps a written job offer or a letter from someone you love.  Those words on the page are powerful.
As a writer, I know written words contain power, but what about the spoken word?   Have you ever been having a really bad day and someone pays you a compliment and suddenly you feel better.  Or, you get a phone call and the words spoken by the person on the other end completely changes your mood. The words we speak matter.  You might think what you’re saying means nothing, but they could change the life of the person you are speaking to.
I’ve read where women talk three times more than men.  Women speak roughly 20,000 words a day verses 7,000 for men.  This is not surprising to me, I know I have to repeat myself throughout the day, especially if there is a football game on the television.  
I’m sure you all have known people, male or female, who just talk to hear themselves talk.  Their 30 minute opinion on a topic could have been said in 5 minutes or less.  This can be referred to as, bloviating, which is a favorite word of mine.
I make a conscious effort to choose my words carefully, when I’m writing, but more importantly when I speak.  I try to say something positive to at least five people each day.  Whether it’s thanking someone for something they’ve done for me or telling a stranger, I like their outfit.  I do this because I realize the importance of positive words.  Those words are seeds and they can take root inside a person.

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Got Any Writing Ideas?

Recently, my goddaughter sent me an e-mail asking for ideas for a book of short stories she’s writing. She began with the idea to write a book, but discovered she would rather write a book of many short stories. She is eleven and has been writing stories for a couple of years. I admire her enthusiasm.  
I immediately responded to her e-mail and was able to provide her with ten story ideas in a matter of minutes.  After I sent the e-mail, I wondered why can’t I come up with ideas for my blog as easily as I did for her.  
Over the years, I’ve written many short stories.  I’ll read the newspaper or a magazine and instantly have several ideas.  I’ll get many ideas listening to people’s conversations at work, not that I eavesdrop, but working in a cubicle environment, it’s easy to overhear conversations.  I have lists of ideas for short stories and novels, but never enough time to write.
This blog has been my biggest writing challenge so far.  The ideas and words aren’t coming as easily when I sit down to write a post. My mind travels down the road of self-doubt.  I start questioning my ability.  Why would anyone read this post?  How many people will get bored with the first paragraph and move on to something better?  Am I good enough to ever have any followers?
My negative thoughts snowball and before I know it, my mind becomes a dried up well.  All of the ideas and enthusiasm I had before I registered with WordPress.com have vanished.  I then come to the realization that I might be in over my head.