A Day in the Writing Life of …. Juanita Kees

Hi, Juanita & welcome to one of our great web team members.

What time of the day do you write? Are you a morning, night-owl or anytime writer?

I’m an anytime writer. When the muse strikes, I write. I carry a notebook and pen wherever I go so that I can scribble down random thoughts to collate later. It earns me some odd looks in a shopping mall 🙂

Where do you write? Do you have your own special place? Does the location vary?

Locations vary thanks to modern day technology and my laptop. If it’s a nice day, I write in my garden or down by the river. If it’s not, I write in my office which has a view of the garden or in the recliner chair next to the fireplace.

Is there any particular rituals you do to set the mood / harness your muse?

My writing muse is a Kiwi teddy named Stan who chants the Haka when you press his tummy. Nothing like the vision of a team of rugby players in your head to conjure up a strong, muscular hero!

Do you spend much time reading over the previous day’s work? Do you have a special system in place in order to begin writing or go with the flow?

I like to go over the previous day’s writing just to get back in the mood and then generally go with the flow. My characters usually develop a mind of their own anyway. It doesn’t take long before they take over the reins.

Are you a plotter / planner or a pantser? Do you edit as you go or prefer to edit after completion of the ms?

Definitely a pantser! My characters completely ignore any planning, no matter how hard I try. I edit as I go and then again at the completion which usually results in a complete rewrite!

What writing tools do you favour? Long hand, computer …..

I love my laptop. It goes everywhere with me. If I can’t access it, I write in a notebook or any paper that comes to hand.

Do you use whiteboards, posters, visual aids to help in your creativity?

The Fireman’s Calender! Best visual aid ever. I have 14 years worth to choose from. I form a vision of my hero in my head and then I go looking for him in my collection. This is about the only planning I do around my characters. Just a picture of each and a basic description of their features, habits, likes and dislikes. I now also have a young artist doing sketches of my characters for me which will appear on my new website soon.

Do you take time out to stretch, rest your eyes etc and if so do you do any exercises at your desk or between sessions?

Does banging your head on the desk when you get mental block count as exercise?

Can you name five objects that are always on or near your work desk while you write?

My Macquarie Pocket Dictionary, Stan my Kiwi Muse, yellow car stress ball, Ducky pen given to me by my lovely friends when I embarked on my writing journey and my not-so-miniature Daschund, Sam, who is also my critique partner.

Is your writing space messy, organized or somewhere in between? Are you prepared to show evidence of your claim with a desk photo?

My desk is usually fairly organized. I do most of my research on the net and store it in favourites or as one-notes. Everything else is in my head. My desk is clean, but my head is pretty messy 🙂

What is your favourite form of procrastination? Do you have any tips to beat off that old foe “procrastination”?

Facebook! Once I log on, I’m done for. I get my 11 year old son to unplug and hide the modem so I can’t be tempted. But then I have to ask for it back again because I need to do research.

What’s the last thing do you do before you finish your daily writing session?

I kiss Stan and thank the Writing and Technology Gods for not letting my computer crash before I’ve saved my work.
web address http://www.kees2create.com
Contests wins (my first ever contest entry was the Valerie Parv Award 2011. I was thrilled with both my placing and score. Even though I didn’t win it, I was still a winner in that the feedback I received from the judges was an enormous help. I look forward to entering as many RWA competitions this year as I can)

Thank you, Juanita for sharing your writing life with us.

Leave a comment


  1. Hi Juanita – wow, nice clean desk!! I’m looking at mine right now and um…yeah, enough said!! Funny how different each of us are in our writing routines and approaches =)

  2. Juanita Kees

     /  September 16, 2011

    Hi Mel 🙂

    It’s not that tidy at the moment! I’ve just dumped my collection of random thoughts captured on post-it notes onto it for collating into Scrivener. Although even those are now sorted into neat little piles 🙂

  3. Hi Juanita,
    I’m a dachshund lover as well and wow, you have one that can critique! LOL. One bark for not enough conflict, two barks for more emotional punch required…

  4. Oh love Stan and the Hakka. Great learning more about you Juanita. 🙂

  5. Juanita Kees

     /  September 16, 2011

    Hi Eleni,

    Stan and I have some interesting conversations somedays 🙂 He knows quite a few of my secrets, as does my dog, Sam. They’re not much good at critique, unfortunately, LOL.

  6. So here you are. lol… I smiled when I read about Stan… lol….sounds so cute. Also the technology gods must be with you of late. Lovely learning more about you. Your garden and river sounds lovely.

    Suzanne 🙂

  7. Juanita Kees

     /  September 16, 2011

    Hi Suzanne 🙂

    I love my garden, especially that it’s natural! My office window is like a picture frame when the Kangaroo Paws are in bloom. I have two metal-framed Emus which I stuff with Weeping Willow leaves as feathers and they live amongst the ‘bushland’.

  8. Juanita Kees

     /  September 17, 2011

    Hi Louise,

    Yes, Sam is my toughest critic. When she doesn’t like a scene, she grumbles and groans. Mostly she just gets up and walks out. 🙂 I spend a fortune on Smackos trying to bribe a good critique out of her.

  9. Hi Juanita,
    Sorry for coming in late… loved learning more about you. Loved Stan too 🙂 And learning about the Writing and Technology Gods 🙂 Good luck with your writing.


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