Monday, November 5, 2012

Writing Cave part 2

Karla's Cave Desk

Last month I posted about how much I love writing from my chair in the living room. But family dynamics have changed in my house with a "boomerang kid" (read: adult child moves back home), and his social life. So I've found myself spending more and more time in my writing cave. Don't get me wrong, I love my cave. There's something about being surrounded by my favorite things (books) that makes me feel peaceful. Books make great sound barriers. I can't hear much in here and likewise no one can hear me when I call for them. (I know this because I fell in here once and no one came to help!)

Karla's Cave 2

I have shelves of books, yes, hard copy books, going all around the room and book shelves back to back going down the middle. It's the books down the middle of the room that make for such a great "sound booth." When I do a podcast in here, it doesn't pick up any noise from outside the room (you know, like the kids tying the dogs' tails together and laughing at them running in opposite directions through the house, or sword fights with swimming pool noodles, that sort of thing).

I don't hoard books for the sake of hoarding books. I give away many more than I keep. But I do keep a lot of my books because of research. Yes, I've read all the books in the room except for the ones on that top right hand shelf. That's my "to be read" pile. It's two books deep. I'm a little behind on my "reading for leisure" books. But it's rare anymore that I find a book that I can lose myself in fiction-wise because I'm always looking at the mechanics of it. Do you have that same issue? I do that with movies, too. "Oh, that's a great conflict." "Excellent character trait," etc.

I must confess that my Kindle is just as full of books as my cave. And more and more I prefer reading my Kindle (on my iPad) than a hard copy book with one exception: I buy hard copy books for my research because I like marking in them. I find that more difficult to do on an electronic device. Sure, you can highlight, make notes, etc, but I find it faster to mark up a hard copy book and then remember where that information was. Is that true for you as well?

I have a DO NOT DISTURB placard on my door but everyone ignores it. Not relevant if it's Mom in there. Mom always wants to be disturbed. Or is already disturbed. Can't remember which one of those excuses they use.

As for my desk, it may look busy, but it's organized. I know where everything is. I use magazine file boxes to file papers that I need access to on a regular basis as well as writing notebooks and journals I use when I'm on the road (read: doctor's office waiting rooms, etc.). Most of the papers have to do with my special needs' kids' health, but I also have time management files, research files, etc., right at my finger tips this way.

I like to use little square baskets and small wooden crates on my shelves for those little gift-size-type books such as small devotionals. It seems like those little books always get pushed to the back of the big books and lost. I like being able to see each book.

I'm not an organizing queen but I do like to have things where I know they are. In future posts I'll share some organizing secrets from other parts of my office.

Until then, write on! And please share your thoughts concerning my two questions: as a writer, when you read fiction, do you find yourself noticing the mechanics more than the story? And what about research? Kindle or hard copy?

 Karla Akins is a pastor's wife, mother of five, grandma to five beautiful little girls and author of the best-selling Jacques Cartier (that went #1 on Amazon in its category) and O Canada! Her Story.  Her debut novel The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots  was sold to Pelican Book Group and due out in 2013. One of her columns on was featured on the CNN homepage. Represented by Hartline Literary Agency, she lives in North Manchester with her husband, twin teenage boys with autism, mother-in-law with Alzheimer's and three rambunctious dogs. When she's not writing she dreams of riding her motorcycle through the Smoky Mountains.


  1. That is awesome!!! I LOVE it. :-)
    I do my research with good ol' google.

  2. Very nice! Here is mine: (top photo)

    1. There's no doubt you like sci-fi, is there? Very nice. Especially the kitties! :-) Thanks for reading and write on!

  3. Very interesting.

    To be honest, though, when I want to write, I prefer a desk away from everything with only the materials I need at hand, at a place less cluttered. In fact, my research cave is located at a coffee house called Lazy Daze in Irvington. And while I know several people, only two are true time robbers but neither are everyday guests.

  4. That's amazing that you can work like that, Jeff. I think I'd be way too distracted. Just goes to show how different we all are even though we all do the same thing! :-) Thanks for your comments.