New Writing Home + Father’s Day thing on Deseret News

Hi guys!

So, wanna see what I just did for myself? I’m not gonna lie, I kind of love it.

Fist let me explain. I have this attention problem, you see, where if I’m near any noise whatsoever I am immediately distracted from what I’m doing. And our home office, you see, is right by the front door on the main floor which means that when I try to work there I am basically… never working and instead paying attention to all kinds of other things going on like kids going in and out of the house and kids playing Magic Princess Dress Up right outside the door and kids playing tag and kids playing “Kitties” with really loud meows three feet away from me as I’m trying to construct sentences. And kids crying. And kids. (Did I mention that kids are a distraction from time to time? Because they are.)

I needed a space that I could go to to escape from distraction. I didn’t know what it would look like. But my instincts told me that with my ADD, it needed three things. 1. It had to be close to my bedroom so I could go straight there without getting distracted by other things. 2. It had to be quiet and away from distractions (read: kids). And 3. It had to have a small desk.
The other morning, it occurred to me
that our walk-in closet is nearly large enough to house an olympic sized swimming pool or a small country or something (I’m bad with dimensions), and that it is in the middle of our house, away from everything, and that it is adjacent to my bedroom. As opposed to all those other bedroom closets not adjacent to the bedroom. So, I told Lolly that I wanted to find a small desk and set up my Writing Home there–the place where I’ll spend hours and hours writing and writing and writing. Then she thought of something genius.

This is my writing alcove. Where by “alcove” I mean “walk-in closet.”
We inherited her great-grandmother’s old Singer sewing machine table from like 1901 or something (I made that date up. I actually have no idea how old it is.) So we dragged it upstairs and shoved it into a corner, and… it is perfect. There is nothing around me to distract me. It’s small, compact, isolated. Plus, I really like the industrious feel–that many hours were spent yesteryear fabricating clothes and wholesome things at this little table, and now I spend hours and hours fabricating as well, just constructing something different, with words–the similarity of the processes is very compelling to me. 
And that stack of pages there on the left? That’s the manuscript of my first novel which I wrote several years ago but never got into final form. Imma finish that sucker. And the memoir. And a bunch of poems And I will be industrious. And productive. All at my little Singer sewing machine table from 19-something, hidden deep in my Writing Alcove where no noises can distract me. It makes me all happy and peaceful inside. 
(Coincidentally, on the day I set this up I read an interview with Irish writer Colum McCan. Guess where he writes? In his closet!  (There’s definitely a gay joke in here somewhere, but I’m too lazy to flesh it out.))
Speaking of writing, the Deseret News asked me to contribute to a story on fatherhood. I shared some thoughts on what my kids have taught me. You can read it here.


  1. Cool! I like the generation-crossing-ness feel of it!

    Does that mean that we will soon get to read the promised post about your thoughts on 'Porn'? *hint hint*

    I would also still love to read your thoughts on the BSA situation … and you know … pretty much anything that you want to share your thoughts on.

    Glad that you found/created a peaceful place to write!

    1. Good question Laurie! So, both the porn post and the scout post are in draft form, almost done. I'm probably being too perfectionistic (esp. w/ the porn post–it's a subject I'm really passionate about and I really want to get it "right"). Eventually, I'll just have to post what I have, but there's still a little more work to do on both. But, yes, having a Writing Home means that I'll finish those suckers up sooner! Thanks for all y'all's patience with me as I finish those up.

    2. I've got a little internal "WooHoo" going to get a personal response. A very happy 'weeder' am I. 8-D

      But in all seriousness thank you for addressing these issues. I know that it's been said many, many times but you are doing wonderful things here. I am grateful beyond words about the topics you are willing to discuss, and the spirit that you bring to them. Reading your blog has truly been a life improving and life changing experience.

      You rock!

      And totally memories coming back for me with the treadle sewing machine. We had one in our home from a couple of generations back also. Loved the history of it.

  2. Ditto all of what Laurie said AND how cute is it that you have a little place to rest your feet (on ye ol' foot pedal)?! I hope you get a great chair or they say those big exercise balls help to keep you engaged as you sit writing. Have a wonderful Father's Day 🙂

  3. My mom-in-law's sewing space was/is set up in a closet in their home. It's not a walk-in closet either, Just a tiny closet that my father-in-law built a table and drawers and shelves into. When you sit in the chair, your back is literally up against the door, which opens out and not in, thankfully. Most of the time Mom sewed with the door open, except when it was getting near Christmas and she was sewing gifts that she didn't want anyone to see.

  4. Is it silly that this brings a tear to my eye for several reasons? I am really touched not only by the simple and lovely spirit I feel in looking at this picture of your actual writing escape, but also by the fact that I too spent many many hours in our walk in closet (years ago in another house which was very small) sewing. Yes, my 'sewing closet' was my tiny little favorite place where I loved to create through sewing. It was not a large closet, big enough to house a swimming pool, but literally a teeny tiny closet that was truly 'pushin it' to call itself a 'walk-in', and…… we still kept our clothes in there too. But, oh well, sometimes you just have to do what you can do.

    It's interesting for me to think back, as I remember I always felt I needed (and even deserved) an 'official' sewing room, and when we bought our next house (which we are in now) I made sure it had a room designated completely to sewing (and crafts). Now, on looking back, I have to admit that I think I did much more sewing in my little 'closet space sewing nook' in 5-6 yrs, than I have done in the more than 10 years I've been here. Seriously, it makes me a little ashamed and sad. 🙁

    Finally, I think you've caused me to realize something about myself – and I hate to face the truth. But as I have been 'attempting' to become a blogger, I have often thought that I needed a laptop to take anywhere since my home computer is in my 'open entryway office' in the middle of everything; but….. the truth is, I got the laptop, but it still doesn't compel me to write like I would like, and I always allow other things to take up my time instead of committing to what I actually really LOVE and WANT to do – BLOG and WRITE books.

    Maybe I should put my laptop on my sewing machine table 😉

    Good luck with the writing and know that we, Mr. IDM & I are rooting for you to finish the book as we are excited for it to come out (no pun intended ~~~ 😉 *Much love from the I Define Me's 😀

  5. I totally do the same thing!! (Except at my bedside instead of the closet.) Singer sewing machines make great desks, I'm tellin' ya. The treadle part is nice if you want to multitask and get a workout in.

  6. I hope I am not repeating someone above or giving you distracting ideas… love the sewing machine, it brings back such wonderful memories of playing with the pedal until my mother would holler at us to stop before we broke it.

  7. Hey. I have this little attention span problem too. I am studying the "Pomodoro Technique" (google it) and I'm finding it helpful to be able to concentrate on the task at hand for short spurts and not get so distracted by other things as much (like the internet, mostly.) Anyway, it made me think of you and this post.

    Write that book, Josh! Write like the wind!

  8. Aren't you lucky! Not everyone would have such wonderfully perfect resources right at their fingertips. God provides- ask and ye shall receive! 

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