Nancy L. Reed



About Author Nancy L. Reed

My first writing attempt, at the age of four, was a soup-and-sandwich cafe menu. A love of words grew from that time. I wrote poetry during my elementary and high school years resulting in two chapbooks. Numerous short stories and the beginnings of two novels blossomed from the heady days of writing fiction during college. After college I took a variety of writing classes and workshops to further fuel my passion.

My lifelong relationship with words has brought me here — a book of short stories, a collection of memory snippets, and a gift book of poems and songs about dogs. A second book of memory snippets, a second dog-grr-el book, and a children's book in poetic form will be published in 2016, with a novel following soon after.

The power of words to describe the world we live in and those worlds we’ve never seen, to celebrate people we know and those we’ve never met, and to share our thoughts and feelings as well as focus our futures is a gift we give ourselves and others. Enjoy your words.

Filtering by Tag: Tiny House

Musings: An Author’s Tiny House Environment

An important design aspect of an author’s tiny house is its environment, including the building site, the neighborhood, and the geographical area.

First, the building site should provide a sense of place – the home’s place on the property and the author’s place in it. The house must fit the space well and the writer should feel simpatico within it.

Second, the selection of a neighborhood must suit. A standard sized lot or acreage? A gated community or one with no fences at all? A neighborhood of varied sized houses or all tiny houses?

Third, the preference in the geographical setting is equally important. Flatland, desert, rolling hills, mountains, or forest? A tiny house on wheels for mobility or on a permanent foundation? Juxtaposition to ski slopes, lakes, rivers, biking/hiking/running trails?

My environmental preferences include: a town with a population under 100,000; an oversized lot in a neighborhood, at the edge of the city, of varied architectural styles; the house situated close to the center of the lot; no sidewalks, underground utilities, and old-growth trees and shrubs. I prefer country in the city. I’d like access to a main road leading to a renovated, historical Old Town, cultural opportunities, exercise areas, and outdoor activities.

These choices are linked directly to my writing – the privacy to concentrate on writing, a community of neighbors to inspire my writing, and access to cultural and physical activities to support the energy of creativity.

Musings: Paper-Glutting in My Author’s Tiny House

Recently, I’ve been trying to complete a project I started over twenty years ago – culling through every piece of paper I own. That includes stacks on the kitchen counter and family room coffee table, storage cartons in my garage and storage shed, and pam boxes in closets and study. The large living room/bedroom unit I illustrated in my previous Musing has four file drawers, and I’m determined to reduce my quantity of files to that space. If I dealt only with file folders, I could make it work; however, I have a 17 cu. ft. cabinet in my study filled with pam boxes of my writing projects. I also have all my archived business papers.

Just visualizing the weight of paper I’m dealing with is crushing, but I remind myself that I’ve already reduced the number of file drawers from seventeen to four. That fact motivates me to continue sorting, shredding, and recycling. Friends and fellow writers have recommended I convert all my paper manuscripts to digital storage, but the task alone would take me longer than it will to figure out where to store the must-be-kept paper in the first place.

I’ve acquired an external hard drive for more secure backup, because I learned a hard lesson this past month. My computer developed problems, and before I could get it wiped and rebuilt – with updated programs and software – it “ate” the latest version of the novel I’m attempting to complete. Since I started working on computers, back in the day, I’ve always printed a copy of each manuscript, just in case. And, of course, I can’t find the paper copy of the novel either, so I’m rewriting it.

The loss of the paper copy of my novel provides additional motivation to deal with my paper muddle. It doesn’t help to have copies if I can’t find them. At this stage of my dream of a tiny house, I’m willing to drastically reduce my clothing and kitchen paraphernalia, among other possessions, to provide more storage for the important things.

The final argument for sorting my paper manuscripts is, when I’m toes up, how will my family decide what might be worth reading and what can be shredded. I’d rather do that myself – now.

The point of this Musing: Besides the four file drawers in the living room/kitchen unit, I’m looking into additional storage possibilities in my 500 sq. ft. tiny house. Such possibilities include: a compartment under the sofa, additional side units for the wall bed unit, hidden caches under the floor, chairs and sofas with storage compartments in the side and back walls, under-staircase drawers and pull-outs. There are many web sites on storage in small places, and I’ll definitely be looking at them.

Musings: Considering Writing Time in an Author’s Tiny House Design

I’ve been slowly developing the art of saying “No” to activities which lessen my creative time, but I can’t always say no to cleaning, maintaining, and repairing my current home of over 1800 square feet.

Example of wall bed with desk attached.
Photo courtesy of Wilding.

Consequently, an important factor in the design of my 450-500 sq. ft. author’s tiny house is the use of sustainable and as-maintenance-free-as-possible materials to allow me more creative time.

I’ve designed two dedicated areas for writing. The first is in the bedroom – a wall bed with desk attached. The unit will have additional side and top pieces to hold clothing and will be built from fire kill or beetle kill lumber.

The second space is in the living room/kitchen area – an eight foot table that telescopes out from the center of a modular unit used for storage of kitchen and living room items. The table may be used for writing, dining, crafts, and multiple other purposes.

Creative example of modular wall unit.

The wall bed and living room unit will be free-standing, on industrial rollers, and could sit back-to-back to form separation between the two spaces.  There will also be outdoor and loft space for writing.

Designing a tiny house around my passion for writing provides more opportunities for me to immerse myself and strive for success.

Musings: An Author's Tiny House

For several decades I’ve been fascinated by the concept of the Tiny House or Small House. In the last few years, they’ve become widely touted and seem like a new concept to many people, but they’ve been around for decades in countries around the globe. As a retiree and author, I find my preferred lifestyle changing to gain more time for the important things in my life – being with family and friends, writing, and participating in activities such as walking, reading, and being with my dog. This shift in focus has created a new significance concerning the size of my home.

I’m not as attached to “things” as I once was, and I’m enjoying living more simply with fewer possessions and distractions to take up my life’s moments. For the past three years, I’ve been attempting to reduce my environmental footprint including the quantity of my belongings, and if all goes according to plan, the spring of 2015 will find those items reduced by up to 80%.

I haven’t found any industry-specified definitions for the Tiny House or Small House, but I’m designing mine to be less than 500 sq. ft. I’ve found that many folks think all tiny houses are constructed on flat-bed trailers in order for them to be mobile. My house might be designed to be movable, but my intention is to locate it on a normal-sized residential lot – which brings up the issue of finding a location where a house this small can be built. In many cities and towns, a building that size is considered a shed and can’t be used as a residence.

Bypassing all the possible restrictions and misconceptions about this size home, I’ll be discussing my ongoing design plans from time to time in my Musings. My ultimate goal is to achieve chemical-free, sustainable, off-the-grid living (as much as possible) so I can maintain my independence, have minimal maintenance, and have much more time to write.

I’m not an expert regarding Tiny or Small Houses; I’m simply becoming more aware of how I want to live, healthily and happily.