Tuesday, June 1, 2021

The Write to Expire

by PeggySue Wells @PeggySueWells

The first day of the conference, my daughters and I crowded onto the elevator with several other conferees making their way to the morning keynote session. Fifteen-year-old Holly and 17-year-old Leilani were the only teen attendees that year. 

“I just love to see expiring new writers,” spoke up an elderly lady. She nodded and smiled at my daughters. Of course she meant to say aspiring. Not expiring. I think.

Quick-witted Holly didn’t miss a beat. “You must mean my mom.” 

During the process of writing 29 of my own books and many titles for clients in addition to countless articles, some of the funniest moments revolve around what I meant to say compared to what I wrote. When those two elements align, writer and reader communicate. More like writer, editor, and reader communicate. Then there are the occasions when what I intended to write is different from the words on the manuscript. What I meant and what I wrote are two completely different things. 

For instance,
  • “The plane began its decent” is more accurate as “The plane began its descent.” (Yes, that was published. Sigh.)
  • “Her eyes rolled around the room” is kinda creepy when you meant, “She glanced around the room.”
  • “His face flew down the stairs” is better described as “I watched him come quickly downstairs.” 
  • There is a world of difference between a fallen woman and a woman that fell. “The woman fell at trail’s end,” rather than “The fallen woman lay at the bottom of the trail.” 
Leilani went on to become a full-time writer and Holly’s writing skills keep communication clear and flowing in her career. And, okay, while half of my kids are writers, the others are highly allergic to reading and writing. But we all enjoy a good misplaced word or clever turn of phrase. 

Leilani and Holly still occasionally refer to me as the expired writer.


Tropical island votary and history buff, PeggySue Wells parasails, skydives, snorkels, scuba dives, and has taken (but not passed) pilot training. Writing from the 100-Acre wood in Indiana, Wells is the bestselling author of twenty-eight books including The Slave Across the Street, Slavery in the Land of the Free, Bonding With Your Child Through Boundaries, Homeless for the Holidays, and Chasing Sunrise. Optimistic dream-driver, PeggySue is named for the Buddy Holly song with the great drumbeat. At school author visits, she teaches students the secrets to writing, and speaks at events and conferences. Connect with her at www.PeggySueWells.com, on Facebook at PeggySue Wells, and Twitter @PeggySueWells.


  1. Thanks, PeggySue.
    What a funny post to begin the new month. Indeed, the words we mean don't usually match what we write.
    More reason to revise and edit our work.
    Thank God you are not an "expiring" writer.(maybe she meant experienced?)

  2. The value of a critique group or fellow writers who will read my work is priceless. Anytime a reader does not clearly understand what I meant to say, I reword until it is clear. There are plenty of words available to find a winning combo.