Great Expectations

For this week’s writing challenge, we want you to ponder your best, and worst, expectations.

Our days are filled with expectations, from the most banal to larger, long-term intentions.

When I wake up each day, I expect that my house will be warm, there will be running water, coffee will be brewed, and my dog will be walked. From time to time, my daily routine is interrupted by forgetting to go to the store for more coffee or the downpour of rain that makes the dog immediately run back inside after I open the door. It’s a noticeable change, because I generally expect things to stay the same.

We generally do not expect random doors to nowhere to show up on our neighbors' front lawns.

We generally do not expect random doors to nowhere to show up on our neighbors’ front lawns.

Yet despite our hopes and assumptions about the future, the only constant is change. From a personal perspective, change helps us grow and develop throughout our lives. From a literary perspective, change drives a storyline forward and establishes a plot. While change may come at the expense of our expectations, it’s a powerful, and ideally beneficial, force.

As you may expect, this week’s writing challenge is about expectations: the expectations you set for yourself, or the expectations you set in your writing.

  • Consider what you may or may not take for granted on a daily basis, from the most general element — gravity — to the most mundane — that cup of coffee you buy every day. How would your life change if it were removed?
  • Take a draft post that you didn’t published because it didn’t turn out as you expected. Change the story, revise it, and publish.
  • Think of a time when someone, or something, didn’t meet your expectations. How did you come to terms with the disappointment?
  • For those who prefer a bit of wit, give us your best expectation versus reality post for all those times you’ve tried your hardest and failed majestically.

We’re looking forward to your posts — in fact, we’re expecting to love them.

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    1. It is! I can’t remember which, but it was one of the many Instagram filters that I’m addicted to. (Based on my addiction, I’m going to go with Amara 🙂 )

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  1. This is so true. When we accept that everything will change, there is no more unhappiness. Life is like a free-flowing river and by its very nature, it must change. The person we love, will change, the nature of our love will change, the nature of love, he gives will change. The only truth will be the moment. Each moment is separate in itself. A person and a particular feeling for that person survives only in that moment, but in a matter of time, the person himself will change.

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  2. I would love to title my post on this subject, “What To Expect When You’re Expecting!” but I already have six kids and with my luck, the Book Gods love a good practical joke. So I will stick to something without the word “Expecting.” Great topic…. Thank you!

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  3. It’s funny how sometimes we don’t think about the daily comforts in life like coffee or a warm house in the A.M. as you mentioned. Sometimes we just expect it to be there yes. This post just makes me realize how wonderful it is to have that comfort and not take things for granted and to always expect change. We should always be grateful. Post is nicely written and love the picture!

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  4. The first question I ask myself when I encounter disappointment has to do with expectations. My old friend Dave used to say jokingly, “Aim low and you’ll always be high. Aim high and you’ll always be low.”

    So choose one day out of this hectic and hurried life to set a simple goal. Make yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If you fail at that then…. perhaps there are other things that ought to be investigated.

    Nice read.

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  5. Re-visiting unpublished posts is a great idea – I find that often just re-reading the piece in a different fame of mind is enough to prompt meto re-write it with a completely different tone, or from a slightly different angle, and hopefully one that works.

    Without meaning to sound too grand (well, ok, go on then) I think Hemingway said that writing is not so much art or inspiration as ‘architecture’ (I’m paraphrasing here). Clearly I’m not comparing myself to Hemingway (!) but I do think it’s worth remembering that sometimes there’s value in reconstructing a piece of writing – using the same content (more or less) but working on the structure.

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    1. I agree! As much as I love to free write, I always feel much more pleased with the posts (or other bits of writing) that I’ve revised or consciously paid attention to “constructing.”

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  6. I absolutely love this post. My husband is constantly telling me I give myself too many high expectations to reach on a daily basis and therefore always feeling as if I’m falling behind. if i just moderated these expectations, it instantly changes the goal posts. And it works. I am still finding it hard to do but trying hard to make my daily ‘great expectations’ ‘really good expectations’ instead 🙂

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  7. My Great Expectation, in rural England, is that the rubbish will be collected every week. In Kenya the Great Expectation of 10-year-old Margaret is that the rubbish will be worth collecting. How green are our valleys? My short blog at joearlam.wordpress.com

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