Thursday, May 10, 2012


By  PHS Editor and Harlequin SuperRomance author Jeannie Watt 

I am a kitchen table writer. There is an area in my home that I could make into an office—a nice quiet room, with a door I could shut and a desk I could write at—but I prefer to write at my kitchen table, thus my monthly PHS column, Confessions of a Kitchen Table Writer.

The May Confession:

The more difficulty I have writing a story, the more I want to sew. In other words, when the story gets tough, the tough get sewing. 

I've always loved to write--I have not always loved to sew. When I first learned to sew at the age ten, I hated it with a passion. My mother made me continue. Every year I was coerced signed up for a 4-H sewing project. By the time I hit high school, I discovered that I could make clothes for a fraction of the cost of buying them and began to appreciate sewing more. By the time my kids were born, I haunted the mill end fabric stores and created wardrobes for them that I never could have afforded to buy. 

I had learned to love my former nemesis. Hmm...does that sound at all familiar?

In the Superromance I’m currently writing, Crossing Nevada, my heroine learns to sew. Therefore, when I sew, I’m actually doing research! It’s important for me to recall the aggravation of setting in a sleeve, only to discover it’s wrong side up. Or to realize that I ran out of thread long before I successfully (I thought) finished a particularly tricky seaming maneuver. I need to re-experience those and many other golden moments in my sewing career so that my heroine’s experiences ring true…not to mention the fact that I love making clothes.

This is my  Crossing Nevada
 revision dress--the dress that
 helped me work out several
knotty spots in my story.
Fortunately, I run out of creative steam in the evening, so, unless I’ve hit a major wall and truly need to take a writing break earlier in the day, I sew between 7 and  9 p.m—a time when I simply cannot write well. I try not to think about the story while I sew, but it’s still there, percolating away in my brain as I cut and stitch and press.  Sometimes I’ll be guiding the fabric through the machine, or pressing a seam open, and suddenly have the solution to a thorny writing issue. The end result is that many story problems get solved and I get a new dress out of the deal.

What do you do when you hit a creative wall? Or simply need to unwind? Read? Write? Sew? Knit? I’d truly love to know!

Please join me on the second Thursday of each month for more confessions!

Jeannie Watt writes about cowboys, cops and cooks. Information about Jeannie and her books is available at her website 

Jeannie's next SuperRomance, Crossing Nevada, will be released in December 2012.


  1. OMG!, I don't know anyone who can create clothes like that, your inspirational dress picture is just gorgeous, I would love to be able to create clothes like that!

  2. I'm with you Scarlet on the OMG! that is gorgeous. I used to like doing tapestries till I got RSI! Now when I hit a wall I either go to the gym or watch a movie (preferably with a hot guy in it) which I call research.

  3. Hooray that you are here Jeannie!
    I do agree the dress is goregous.
    I can sew. I like sewing costumes, particular historical ones.
    When I am stuck though I tend to garden

  4. Will you make me a dress?

    When I'm stuck, I do yoga. I seem to think better after I've had my butt over my head. Many a plot problem has been solved in the Down Dog position.

  5. Wow - that is gorgeous! My Mum taught me to sew many, many years ago . . . looking at that photo makes me I wish I'd kept it up. I often go for a walk - I tell myself I'll aim for my daily 10,000 steps but usually end up with 25,000 or more so don't feel toooooo guilty about procrastinating. Oh, I also - of course - come and read back posts from this great site - but that's research, right? :)

  6. Thank you all for the compliments on the dress!

    Scarlet--Youb migh dive in and try to make a dress. There are many, many online sewing resources and blogs now and I've solved quite a few problems using them.

    Heidi--I like the hot guy/movie solution to hitting a wall. The gym is good, too. Tapestries take so much patience. I tried to weave once. Once...

    Michelle--It's great to be here. I can see where you'd be interested in historical costuming. I've been researching Victorian costumes for a Dickens Fair next winter.

    Kimberley--Yay for downward dog, lol. Yoga rocks.

    Ann(onomous)-- Yes, research, exactly! How excellent that you walk so much! It's the best exercise in my opinion. I didn't sew for several years, while the kids were in high school, and then took it back it. It was like rediscovering an old friend.

    Thanks everyone for commenting.

  7. Hi Jeannie ~ Just love your sewing project. I hate sewing with a passion. I could never get anything to come out right. Seam rippers are I. I did love to knit, crochet. embroider and do counted cross stitch.