Thursday, June 14, 2012

Confessions of a Kitchen Table Writer

By 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.

June Confession:  My House is a Wreck.

Oh, yes. There are things that need put back in their places, laundry that needs washed, shelves that need dusted. I should be concerned, but actually it makes me feel good, because when my house is not a wreck, when it’s neat and well organized and the woodwork is gleaming…well, that spells trouble for me as an author.  It means I’ve hit a wall in my story and I’m looking for something, anything, to avoid whatever corner I’ve written myself into. Housework is an excellent avoidance strategy. Who feels guilty doing housework? Not me.

As I mentioned in my May confession, often I sew when I’ve hit a wall. It helps my brain relax so I can unknot the problems I’m facing, but sometimes my husband notices I’m sewing instead of writing and mentions that perhaps I shouldn’t sew so much with a deadline roaring up on me--that perhaps I’m practicing avoidance rather than brain rejuvenation. An excellent point. I have yet, though, to hear him complain when I do housework when I’ve hit a wall.

I just turned in the line edits for my December Superromance, Crossing Nevada. There was a brief time while I was writing the first draft of that book when everything in the house sparkled because I could not get the hero and heroine to cooperate (I also ended up with a new dress to wear to work), but overall the writing went smoothly and the house suffered until I was done. Sometimes I would notice the growing heap of laundry in my utility room and feel a deep sense of satisfaction because the book was going so well.

Where, you might ask, is my husband during  this writing-related home wreckage? In his basement lair working on photos. He cooks. I clean. It’s a deal we made a long time ago and good guy that he is, he doesn’t make noises when I fall down on my end of the bargain  because I’m busy at my second job. He never fails to put food in front of me, so I know I’ve married the right man.

So there you are. My house will soon be tidy again—not because of a writing wall, but because I’m about to turn in my initial chapters for my next book and I always put my house back in order before embarking on the next phase of a writing project. Good thing, too, because I have a feeling this next book might just flow and I’ll once again ignore everything as I put the story down on paper.

Harlequin Superromance author Jeannie Watt lives in rural Nevada and writes fast-paced, character-driven stories set in the western United States.   To find out more about Jeannie and her books, please visit her website. 


  1. One of the reasons I became a writer is because I loathe housekeeping. I understand totally about having a wrecked house.
    Life is too short.

  2. Hi Jeannie! I feel much better about the current sty-like state of my house now. Instead of going on a guilt trip I will view it as a yardstick of my success with the WIP!

  3. Hey Jeannie! Housecleaning is probably my number one form of procrastination lol. However, it's also my top stress reliever. I get anxiety thinking someone might ring the door bell and things are a mess (yep, OCD ;), so I figure if things are clean, that's one less thing to worry about. I also think better in an uncluttered room...but then again...that makes for an easy excuse to clean when 'thinking' through a wip/scene gets tough ;). I have to let housework slide once in awhile though, otherwise I wouldn't have time to sleep let alone write lol.

  4. Jeannie ~ I hope your housework does slide as I love your books.

    Nothing could compare to the sty I'm living in right now and my excuse is I'm reading. It's a good thing my husband likes to cook as well. We at least have great meals.

  5. Thanks for commenting everyone! You guys make me feel so good about my *ahem* housekeeping. Rula--I do understand the "if things are clean that's one less thing to worry about" feeling. Unfortunately, I don't get that feeling often enough. Kaelee--I'm so glad you like my books!

  6. I'm sure it's not THAT messy!

    Excited to read/hear/see more about Crossing Nevada. Love the title.


  7. Well, Marcie...the house is not neat, lol. Wanda and Megan came up with the title Crossing Nevada and I loved it, too! My working title was The Cowboy Next Door, but that had been used recently.