Where the Real Work Gets Done

Last month, I took you with me on my treacherous commute to work. This month, I'm giving you a peek of the inner sanctum :)

I'm a slow writer, and I'm within 10,000 words of completing a trilogy. Not completing as in ready to publish, but completing the first draft. Total word count for all three books: approximately 210,000 words.

Much subject to change, of course, once the editing begins. The word count will most likely climb.

Where have I spent countless hours? My desk.

It's six feet long and two-and-a-half feet wide. There have been days I've needed every square inch. But during the writing of this final book, it's looked much like this. But first the chair.

This is the most comfortable chair in our house! I'm serious. In addition, it doesn't get hot or collect dust and dog hair. Perfect. So when I'm sitting here, I can look left and right. When I look straight ahead, I see the monitor.

Left - my favorite windows. Followed by Flynn and Flo.

Left - actually on my desk - my Kindle in its black cover sitting on top of a couple of things I don't know what to do with yet. And some note cards about the trilogy. The little white box? If I told you what was inside, I'd have to, you know . . .

Right - the dining room you can see from last month's commute. On my desk, my calendar, goals book, glasses cases, my timer, the corner of my Coast Guard mousepad, and the great black space reserved for Live-In Handyman's occasional clutter.

Center - work area with my Book #3 notebook open. See the green tabs on the right? Those represent, by character, the plotlines I'm tying up in this last trilogy book. There's at least one page devoted to each.

The Notebooks. One for each book.

And finally, The Brain. This is what keeps everything in order and me functioning without losing my mind.

This handy-dandy Costco credenza houses everything. One book per basket. Plus the fourth one on the top row contains everything I'll need for taxes. The bottom row of baskets contain reference books, paperbacks of my beach books, extra supplies - like note cards - and knit scarves for those few cloudy winter days when I actually get cold.

Oh, see that little round orange box on top? That's where I put all the note cards after I've completed whatever's on them. When I finish the draft, all the cards will either be in the box or in the trash (if I didn't use them). Then I empty the box, put the cards in an envelope, and put them in the basket with the rest of the book information.

That's it. I hope you've enjoyed this romp through my office space.

Since the first Monday of July is July 4 - Independence Day -
I'll be back here on Wednesday, July 6.


Well, aren't you scary organized? I have a stack of papers jammed on a little shelf.
That chair looks airy and comfortable.
Anyone ever messed with you and moved Flynn and Flo around?
Mason Canyon said…
I'll have to agree with Alex...you're so organized it's scary. I wish I was half that organized. Great desk and love the addition of Flynn and Flo. When do they get their own story? Have a great Fourth holiday!
Bish Denham said…
So orderly and neat! I spread out all over the place and it a general cluttered mess. BUT, I know where everything is! :D
Wow! Each book gets it's own cozy little drawer. Great view!
Julie Flanders said…
I love the idea of each book having its own drawer. I've been telling myself I need to get more organized and your post may have finally been enough to shame me into doing so LOL.
Love Flynn and Flo! How cute. :)
VR Barkowski said…
Lovely space, Carol. I’m pretty sure your office is bigger than my apartment—seriously. The one advantage to a small desk is I have no room to be untidy. Keeps me in line. :)

VR Barkowski
Kelly Steel said…
I love your space, Carol. You have all set up so nicely and are so organized.
Christine Rains said…
Thanks for a peek at your space. :) You are super organized! I'm sweeping the cookie crumbs and cat hair off my desk feeling a bit messy at the moment. Beautiful view from the window.
L. Diane Wolfe said…
I love your neat and organized space. Mine is organized but it's really stuffed.
Carol Kilgore said…
Alex - Yes! For some, it's a favorite pastime :)

Mason - Flynn and Flo's story would be X-rated :)

Bish - Lots of times my desk is covered with stacks of things. This just hasn't happened since right after I started this particular manuscript. When I'm editing or researching it's the worst. The next time it's bad, I'll try to remember to take a pic to post here.

H.R. - I love my view! Those cozy drawers are exactly the right size for sheets of paper. I like them because I no longer have stuff rattling around in my head. If I need to find something from one of the books, I know right where to go. Things are not in any order inside the baskets, but I know every piece of paper and note from that book is in that basket.

Julie - If you're interested in a credenza, I highly recommend this one. It works horizontally or vertically and was, I think, about $125 at Costco. You may can find something similar even cheaper if you shop around. I was in there and thought it would work for me, so I got it. And the drawers are portable!

VR - My office is 12 x 12. It probably looks larger because it's open. The Brain sits in the entry way, except in this photo it was pushed down toward the stairs because of something else of Handyman's sitting in the entry - going on a few weeks now. Sigh. Either way, having it away from my desk makes me exercise, LOL!

Kelly - Thanks. I'm really not all that organized, but I do hate clutter - and I create lots of it as a writer.

Christine - You'll note I didn't take a shot of my keyboard or the keyboard tray on my desk. And the black hides dust and dog hair REALLY well :)

Diane - I didn't show you behind my chair. Two file cabinets, a bookshelf, an air purifier, and a shredder. Plus the cabinet Flynn and Flo stand on is filled with extra paper, envelopes, pens, pencils, etc.

Love, and am awed by your organisation.
Anywhere I work starts to look like my mind. Cluttered, dusty and full of ill-considered trifles.
Janie Junebug said…
You have a great desk. I left behind my desk when I got divorced. I knew I wouldn't have room for it in my new house. I miss it. Your organizational skills massage my OCD.

Murees DupĂ© said…
Thank you for the sneak-peek into your office space. You are so neat and organized. I used to be as well, but these days my desk is always a mess. Good-luck with your writing. Wishing you well.
Karen Walker said…
Ummm, until this moment I thought I was organized
Carol Kilgore said…
EC - My workspace is much more organized than my mind :)

Janie - Yeah, well, there's a little of that going on, too.

Murees - Thanks! I just hate clutter :)

Karen - If you could see the lack of organization of both my electronic and paper files, you'd feel a whole lot better about being an organized person. Trust me. I need help!
klahanie said…
Hi Carol,

Wow, you are extremely organised. I can relate to sort of being organised. It helps prepare for the writing to be hopefully formulated. Okay, in my case, the dog does the decent writing. I then have to reorganise the desk after she's finished pawing about on the peeboard, um, keyboard.

Thanks for the romp. Um, thanks for the romp through your office space. Have a peaceful July 4.

Gary :)
DMS said…
You are extremely organized! Wonderful to see your office space, your view, and all the bits that keep your writing running smoothly. Congrats on being so close to the end of the first round of writing. Yeah! :) Have a productive June!
Wow, I love your office! It's so professional. Most days I just plop down on the couch and use a laptop on my lap. I need a setting like yours. And a few flamingos. They really liven the place up.
That's a great desk, and I love your organisation. I still miss my desk - my office became a teenager's bedroom about 4 years ago *sigh*
Carol Kilgore said…
Gary - Thanks for the July 4 wishes! What you don't see here is inside my head. Total disorganization :)

DMS - Wishing you a productive June, too!

B&B - Flynn & Flo are a rowdy pair! I wish I could write on my laptop. If I grab it, all I want to do is play games and surf through Facebook. I need to retrain my brain.

Annalisa - That happens. When I started writing, it was from a table in the kitchen.
Melissa said…
I'm green with envy. In my next house, I'm determined to have a real office... not a tiny piece of wall in the family room.

Enjoy your summer. :)
Susan Kane said…
I have post-its all over my desk and the wall. and some papers on the floor. My journals, however, are easy to find.
Amazing organization.
CONGRATULATIONS on being so close to finishing the first draft of your trilogy! That's awesome. I'm still slogging along on my first book of the series, but I must confess, I'm easily distracted, so your whole trilogy may be published before I finish the first draft of book one. (Oh well... if Smarticus wants me to go somewhere with him... I GO!)

My desk is very large, and kind of in an L-shape, but it's rarely as neat as your is. Stacks of folders and notebooks all over the place... and of course, two cats, too. My chair USED to look pretty nice, but not any more. Said cats have done a real job on it, but it still FEELS okay...
Carol Kilgore said…
Melissa - That's how I was when we moved here.

Susan K - Been there! I'll post a photo when I'm mid edit. You'll see a difference.

Susan S - I hate clutter, but I have to see stuff at the same time. Right now, the index cards work well. That may not be the case with the next book. Since I took this photo, I've added a couple of reference books to the mix.
Denise Covey said…
Hi Carol. No wonder you're a slow writer...your space is awesome. Mine overlooks the beach, so of course I'm a slow writer!
Lexa Cain said…
Your home and work space are stunning! I love the view out the window and the gorgeous wood floors! The only problem is that now I feel like I live and write in a dumpster...
Love your Zen-like work area.
You seem very organized.
Well done on almost wrapping up the first draft of your trilogy! Awesome! (It must be done and dusted by now?)
Carol Kilgore said…
Denise - If I had a beach view, I fear I'd never accomplish anything except long walks and lots of photos :)

Lexa - Don't ever feel that way. I look out onto a suburban street with a fair amount of traffic. And a big live oak tree. I love the tree :)

Michelle - I'm surprised everyone here thinks I'm organized. I'm not. I just hate clutter. And my head is filled with clutter from this trilogy, which is still ongoing. Still wrapping up.
Anonymous said…
Nice credenza. It was nice to take a look at your writing space. I love my comfy chair, although the cats have scratched it up.
Carol Kilgore said…
Medeia - Thanks. It's really handy. What are a few cat scratches? They were made with love, right :)
Jemi Fraser said…
So organized!!!! I can never see any of the top of my desk at work. Don't have one at home yet but when I do, it'll be hidden under piles as well! :)
Carol Kilgore said…
Jemi - I've decided to take a photo of my desk when I'm in the middle of editing. Then we'll see how organized I look, LOL.
Crystal Collier said…
I love how organized you are! If I had all my stuff out like that, it would disappear. Too many little hands around here. I suppose that's why I keep everything but a cheat sheet for quick notes in digital format. Otherwise it wanders off.
Loni Townsend said…
You have a nice looking space there! I like the flamingos the best. :) And it does look like a very comfy chair.
Carol Kilgore said…
Crystal - Perfect examples why all writers have to find what works for them. You have to beware of little hands. I have to see it or I forget it until it's too late. I have a couple of cheat sheets, too.

Loni - Thanks. I love my flamingos :)
Hello dear Carol :) I am in dire need of your organizational skills :)
Carol Kilgore said…
Keith - Five cents, please :)
Jennifer Shirk said…
Fun to see your writing space, Carol!!
(I'm a sloooow writer and need organization too)
Carol Kilgore said…
Jennifer - Thanks. Glad to know I'm not the only slow writer out there :)
Olivia Rose said…
It was awesome to visit your office and see your writing space.
Carol Kilgore said…
Olivia Rose - Thanks for stopping by. I've rearranged things since I took these photos. I may post those pics in November. Haven't decided for sure yet.