Posted by: penpatience | March 1, 2016



WRITERS WORDS: “Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it is the only way you can do anything good.” – William Faulkner

And…check out an addition to my Archive Sample Page. “Whatever the Cost” was one of twenty winners in the Saturday Evening Post, “Tribute to our Troops” contest published on August 23, 2013. Note: contest was limited to 250 words.




Everyone has a convenient spot where odds and ends are temporarily stowed until a more suitable location is found. Sometimes in our haste to put nondescript items out of sight a conglomeration of items accumulate in that provisional place—the junk drawer.

A recent inventory of my kitchen “junk” drawer consisted of a pile of loose rubber bands, a zip-lock bag of different size batteries, an unopened pack of AA batteries, a half-box of paper clips, old pencils and pens held together with a rubber band, a small magnifying mirror, a roll of shipping tape, a free pocket size calendar, Keurig Coffee Pot instructions, take-out menus from local restaurants, a tape measure, a dried-up black magic marker, a broken key-chain, thirty-six cents in change, two scratch pads, a small screwdriver, deck of cards and a pair of scissors. While I dumped the drawer and busied myself with re-organizing, relocating and discarding the unwanted items, my mind wandered. My thoughts, as they often do, turned to writing. Yes, writers have junk drawers too.

This writer has multiple catch-all places where I store bits and pieces of the writing craft. The Junk Drawer encompasses four journal notebooks dating from 2012, an online publications favorite list that has not been edited to date, a bunch of post-it notes, note-pads, and a daily journal filled with fiction, non-fiction story markets, protagonist names, contest due dates, quotations for future blog posts, story ideas and daily free-writing paragraphs that may go nowhere or somewhere in future writing endeavors. Tear sheets from publications that I find interesting are stacked here in piles. I also have many online writing downloads some not yet read (shame on me!)

And then there’s the junk drawer stored in my mind. A light bulb turns on inside my head giving me that elusive story ending. Quick! Write it down on a slip of paper before it floats away into nada land. Ideas written on many slips of paper float around my favorite writing area fondly referred to as “the hole.” The papers remain until they are utilized or hit the shredder. The junk drawer in my head is in constant flux-good stuff in– bad stuff out—a mind churn that never ends.

Oh yes, the real drawer, a large two drawer file cabinet stuffed with accepted and rejected work, writing craft information and some inspirational comments on my writing that keep me plugging along even when the going gets tough and tougher. I believe every writer/author has their personal and unique storage system and like a physical junk drawer, writers’ mental drawers need to be emptied and re-organized. I feel writers find it more difficult to empty their  mental junk drawers than physically discarding extraneous and accumulated paper.

Readers: What’s in your Junk Drawer?

A Reminder: Pledge to wear Blue for Autism Awareness on April 2nd. Let’s all “Light It Up Blue” in 2016.


  1. Hello, Frances, What a beautiful page and an impressive list of archived posts! Your question is timely since we are moving the end of this month, prompting a massive emptying out of junk drawers. Empty pillboxes, cat treats, packets of preservatives for cut flowers, pictures hangers, wine bottle corks. Sigh.


    • Thank you Diane. Yes, moving is a chore. Please keep in touch. I enjoy reading your blog. Best wishes, Frances


  2. Frances; Alas, this writer’s mental junk drawer is awash and overflowing…your post is an inspiration to clean house and organize! Look forward to seeing you back at Barnes and Noble next month.
    Regards, Joe


    • Hi Joe, Yes, I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in April. Happy writing!


  3. Frances, nothing short of a complete lobotomy would empty my mental junk drawer, but I keep trying. Praise for your penultimate paragraph.


    • Carol, So glad to hear from you. Your comment made my day. I can identify with a complete lobotomy. Best wishes with your writing endeavors, Frances


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