Saturday, 17 March 2018


The theme for our joint blog this time is spring cleaning our desks and our writing.

Victoria has this to say abut spring cleaning:

I don’t usually wait for spring for a spring clean of my writing space. I tend to do it between projects. The “before” photo shows my desk in the middle of the editing phase of my third book in my Cornish Daughter series. My editor’s report and my "Editing Day" mug is within easy reach and I have been making some scribbled notes as I go. Previous to this, I wrote lying on my son’s bed, but the editing phase requires focus and room, so I moved off the bed and reclaimed my old desk. The after picture is my desk ready for a new project. A nice chamomile tea is waiting for me in my "Writing Mug". All I need is some inspiration and a bar of chocolate.

Terry says: It's All About the Work Space:

Writers by their very nature have a very distinctive and well-honed sense of place. Our desk serves as out sanctuary, the place where we pay homage our craft, so it stands to reason that spring is the perfect time to clean our desks, organise our massive amounts of paper (I don't know one writer who does not have an accumulation of notes, research material and story ideas stacked their workspace) and hope that our organised desktop will streamline our writing and make us more prolific. As you can see from the pile of stuff on my desk in the attached picture,I have my work cutout for me. I have notes to copy into my calendar, marketing content to compile, in addition to starting a new book. My books are set in the 1940s, so there is always researching and the quest for the 'historical 'kick'. (note to self: historical kick as a topic for a future blog post).

But Spring is here, and along with it the promise of new beginnings. So I embark on my annual cleaning regime, wondering all the while how I ever let the dust bunnies accumulate and promising to do a better job tending to these small details that are so easy to ignore when I'm in the middle of a project. While I work I think about the stories I will write, and when I'm finished (it really didn't take too long) my desk is clean, my vase is full of tulips and the promise of warm weather encourages me.

Wishing you all the joys and warmth of spring and her new beginnings.

Linda is very organised with her spring cleaning tactics:

I have two spring-cleaning tactics when it comes to my writing. The first is when I am giving myself permission to write, permission to not clean the house from top to bottom once a week, which is what I used to do pre-writing. To rid myself of the guilt that my house isn’t always fit for the Queen’s visit these days, I do a few of those jobs that rarely get done – bleaching the grouting between the bathroom tiles, scrubbing the tops of the kitchen wall cupboards, tidying my knicker drawer, dusting the tops of my paintings. It doesn’t take long and I know I can then happily write for months on end without worrying about any of the above.

The second tactic is when my writing has become stale. I’ve been writing, say, to suit certain magazine readerships, certain editors’ needs and wants, or doing an edit on a novel that again, is how someone other than I wants things done, and somewhere along the line I’ve lost my writing soul. At times like that I pick up my copy of Elizabeth Berg’s ‘Escaping into the Open – The Art of Writing True’. This is a wonderful book, charting how it is that Elizabeth Berg writes (in my opinion) her wonderfully emotional novels. There are various exercises to do that help us write from our souls and I open the book at random and do one or two. For the purpose of this blog post I have just selected these:-

a) The man is not crying but you know his heart is breaking. How do you know?

b) Your father tells you for the first time about the day your older sister – whom you’ve never liked – died. Write not only what he says, but what he does with his coffee cup while he tells you.

I always hand-write this exercise, sitting somewhere comfy. Before I know it I have covered six or seven pages of A4 ready to turn into a short story, or a scene in my work-in-progress.

Better get going …

Marilyn is worried:

Oh dear, I’ve been rumbled.  For while cupboards and drawers crammed with things I might just need one day keep my house respectable, my humble workspace (a small, ground floor bedroom) is my Achilles heel. So, when I heard we were being challenged to spring clean our workspace with ‘before and after’ photos as proof, I panicked. In the past I’ve resorted to photos of me writing in the sunshine, under a tree in the garden, or on holiday, a glass of vino in one hand and a pencil and notebook in the other.

While others might go for a writing retreat in Tuscany or meditate under a full moon to get their inspiration, it’s the much-loved clutter that gives me the incentive to scribble.  So, did I succeed in spring cleaning my office?  Reader, I cheated, just a little…

Lucky Rae meanwhile is having more than a spring clean:

A confession – here’s my current work area, which is nothing to be proud of! In my defence, I know where everything is and why it is placed just so. The real problem is that this chaos takes up most of our dining room table and needs to be moved each time we wish to use it, which isn’t ideal.
However, it’s the time of year for new beginnings and change is afoot. We have a small space fondly known as the playroom, which is no longer needed now our children are grown. It’s time to make more use of the space, and so began a project that’s included numerous trips to the local charity shop and tip. Mr C has done a fantastic job of both freshening the walls and transforming a cupboard with migraine inducing primary colours to a soft muted grey. And here’s my shiny new desk. It’s not quite in situ yet, as we’ve still to lay new flooring, but by the time this post goes live I should have my very own writing space. And should I ever get bored, there are still stacks of games in the cupboard to keep me entertained.

And finally, Jennie offers her abject apologises:

My office is in the small spare room downstairs and my work area runs almost the length of one wall. I did try on several occasions to tidy my desk but there were complications like this:

And at the other end:

Spring hasn't really burst forth yet has it? Maybe by the end of March when the sun shines on a regular basis the cats will depart to a sunny place in the garden and then I can spring clean my desk - or maybe not!


  1. Reading between the lines, I think we all had a bit of a panic with this topic. Has anyone noticed the close-up of my desk? It conveniently cuts out the rest of the room to hide the mess surrounding me. ;)

  2. Jennie, I love that your pussy cats choose to keep you company when writing. They look so comfy! I also get the impression that although we enjoy the satisfaction of a tidy up, that there's a reason why a writer's work space grows messier over time. Is it because when in the middle of a writing project, other things crop up - blog posts to write, emails to answer, notes of books to read (I have lots of those!) - and rather than stop our flow we keep something on our desk as a reminder of what's still to be done? So finishes my defence of a messy desk!

    1. I am going to use that excuse next time ;)

  3. What a great idea this was for a joint blogpost! Love seeing everyone's desk and reading about how we slot our writing passion into the nitty gritty of every day life.

    1. My other half is typing this for me - he thinks I should try 'hot desking!' I'd be very hot after I'd carried the contents of my desk around ;)

  4. I so enjoyed reading everyone’s posts, and seeing your work spaces. I am so grateful to be a part of this wonderful group. Write on, ladies.