Avoid filler material, in life and in writing

What makes up the real content of your life, and what things are like foam packing peanuts, just there to take up space and pad you against the jolts?

The Cost of an Unintentional Life

Nature abhors a vacuum; if you don’t live with intention, planning how you spend your time and energy, you’ll still spend that time and energy. You’ll just spend it on incidental things. Some incidentals are just a part of life (paying the bills, washing the dishes). Others can just keep expanding till they take over your life (television, mindless web surfing).

It’s depressing to live a life filled with “foam peanut” worries and activities. Living like that can produce envy of others, poisoning relationships with people who could help you pursue real things of value.

Too many foam peanuts can convince you the box is already full, discouraging you from pursuing real content. How many times have you put off working on that novel or script, or developing a new friendship, because you “don’t have time?”

Avoiding Filler Material in Your Writing

In writing, foam peanut words, sentences, paragraphs and even entire scenes or chapters can bog down momentum. What’s really necessary and what’s just padding? When I was editing my first draft of Bitter Cold, I managed to cut enough fluff to add in an interesting conflict and give an important character more depth. With a tight required word count for the project, cutting the fluff was a noticeable improvement.

What are your go-to foam peanuts? If you eliminated some “foam peanut” concerns, what would you fill that space in your life with? If you write, what are the foam peanut words and phrases that you often find popping into your work?


  1. ·

    Wow Kat, where to start? Well, I struggle with “foam peanuts” in my writing, but at least I’m aware of it now and am making an effort to tighten up. I see them also in the amount of time I spend online. Some of it is legit; a lot is also just a time suck.

    Thanks for the heads up!


  2. ·

Leave a Reply