Thursday, August 09, 2012

Confessions of a Kitchen Table Writer

By  PHS Editor and Harlequin SuperRomance author Jeannie Watt 

I'm 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 August Confession:  

Real life is about to start again and I’m not ready.

By real life I mean that I will soon be back in the classroom. The semi-lazy days of summer, during which I can write all day if I so choose, are almost over and I will miss them.

This may not be common knowledge, but it’s very difficult, if not downright impossible, to write romance in a junior high classroom. I know because I’ve spent my lunch breaks trying to put words on paper and there is just something about an 8th grade classroom that is not amenable to romance. I can write blogs, create blurbs and fill in art fact sheets for my covers, but I cannot make my hero and heroine interact in a believable way.  I just feel too self conscious, I guess.

The odd thing is that, in spite of not being able to use my lunch breaks and having a whole lot less time to myself,  I am almost always more productive during the school year.  My writing time is limited and precious and I have to make each minute count if I’m going to make deadline. During the summer, days give the illusion of lasting forever. I don’t have to write in the morning if I don’t feel like it; I can write at night. Or tomorrow.  And if tomorrow doesn’t work out, then there’s always the next day…

As soon as school starts, I'll write for an hour every morning before getting ready for work.  I’ll write while my husband drives us to town (a good 35 minutes) and I’ll write for maybe an hour in the evenings if my brain is not fried from sparring with adolescents. I’ll also put in six hours every weekend and, by sticking to that schedule,  probably write at least two books, maybe three, over the next nine months. Then summer will come and the days will stretch out to seeming infinity and I’ll get maybe half a book done.

So, upon reflection, maybe it’s a very good thing that real life is about to begin.

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. Her next book, Crossing Nevada, is a December 2012 release.


  1. Jeannie, I'm so relieved to read this. I teach 4th grade and I have the same sort of summers. I've been kicking myself. I started out getting 23,000 words in the first half of July and I've accomplished little since then.
    At least it's nice to know I'm not alone.

    1. Hi Mary--I'm glad to hear that I'm not alone, too. Good luck with your writing and your school year. My husband used to teach 4th grade, so I know what a joy and a challenge that grade level can be.

  2. Like the threat of execution, limited opportunities to write concentrate the mind wonderfully!