Create an environment conducive to writing. This week’s writing tip comes a day late, because I spent the majority of the weekend cleaning my house for our annual Easter family get-together. I unplugged on Saturday and stuck my laptop into my roll-top desk — something I haven’t done in a long time. Without the distraction of the computer, the yearning of Facebook, Twitter and even this blog, I managed to transform my home, particularly my kitchen, into the cleanest — as my relatives (including my children) oohed and aahed yesterday — that anyone has ever remembered. Now I sit here in my living/dining room, where I spend most of my time writing, diving back into In the Red, my second novel. And even though I’m the type of gal who doesn’t mind letting the laundry and dishes and dust bunnies pile up so I can spend my time writing or with my kids, I have to say it’s kinda nice to see shiny porcelain reflecting sunlight back at me from the kitchen. Although I managed to write Baby Grand in the middle of a disorganized home — I know that a clean house won’t make or break my ability to write a novel — now I find that when I’m filled with doubt, when I feel I can do nothing right, sentences muddled in my brain, I can take pride in at least one mess I was able to conquer.