“Exile” over…back Home

Location map of Michigan, USA
Location map of Michigan, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I guess my “exile” to Michigan has finally come to an end for another summer, and, perhaps, it’s high time I got back to work on some things—finishing my novel The Bet and catching up on my blog contributions. And, I must say, it’s really good to be back in the comfort of my writing room/office/study, although it is currently under siege from suitcases and boxes and containers yet to be unpacked and put away. My shelves and printer cabinet are cluttered way beyond normal, but it’s still good.

Additionally, to add to all the “clutter” is an issue we’re having with Internet access. The phone company service is supposed to come here in the morning to check on it and get it working correctly, removing it from my things to think and worry about.

Working at my old familiar desk on this blog post, the first in several weeks, I feel good again to be getting some words down. To say that my productivity these past few weeks up there in Michigan fell off drastically would be greatly understating things. I only have myself to blame for losing the steam I’d kind of built up and was rolling along on The Bet. Then, the end-of-season duties and procedures began to cloud my mind, and my ability to become inspired to even fire up the MacBook was basically non-existent.

English: Homer Hickam on set of October Sky
English: Homer Hickam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I did more reading than writing during the final weeks in Michigan, and I don’t think that’s really such a bad thing. Homer Hickam’s newest YA effort titled Crescent was fun and so much different from the intense stuff about the Civil War and Lincoln that I seemed to become completely immersed within. Because of “reading more and writing less,” I kicked myself daily as the guilt piled on and on—but I simply didn’t feel inclined to boot up said MacBook—not even to check e-mail or cavort about on Facebook.

Thinking about this now, back home here in beautiful bucolic northern Illinois, I believe that there must be a reason for that malaise that hung like a thick cloud, preventing me from wanting to write! Or maybe it’s as simple as I really had nothing to say during that time or the desire to come up with anything worth sharing! I do know, though, that I’m in a better frame of mind now and think I’ll be much better for having taken some time away from the writing grind. Perhaps I’ve refreshed myself enough to get those two main characters of mine to a satisfactory conclusion and finally be able to add THE END to the thing. My intentions were to reach that end by start of fall, but I’m a ways away from that.

So tomorrow will be chock full of more unpacking, resettling, household chores (trip to the recycling, cut the grass, etc.) and hope that the DSL, Internet, and Wi-Fi gets corrected. And, perhaps, work will move forward on The Bet. Unlike these past several weeks, I can’t wait to start-up the MacBook and get those words going…CortlandWriter

Any comments or Thoughts?

English: White MacBook laptop
English: White MacBook laptop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Plinking the MacBook’s keyboard–most of the time!

The view from the cottage porch...The pontoon waits and beckons!
The view from the cottage porch…The pontoon waits and beckons!

This summer, which seems to be rapidly winding down, has been a  productive one for me in terms of getting much-needed work done on my novel. Even though there is much still to figure out in order to bring the story to a satisfactory conclusion, I’m pretty well pleased with my effort in “plinking” the keys of my MacBook on a pretty regular basis. Ideally, though, I would have written a little bit each day instead of going days at a time without ever  writing a thing.  And I occasionally find myself fending off the feelings of guilt when I’m spending time immersed in some book (e.g.-And the Mountains Echoed) instead of working on my own novel.

And, of course, there are myriad other excuses to rationalize not getting quite as much writing done as preferred, such as the amount of company here throughout the summer months, our trip to Canada for a week, and the beautiful sunny weather that calls me out and beckons me to take the pontoon out to “see” the lake! I suppose a truly dedicated and disciplined writer would avoid such traps and follow the rule of “butt in chair and fingers on the keys!”

Realistically, though, that never is going to happen here. That’s why those dreary, rainy, and windswept days around here are so precious–just perfect for getting that writing done! In spite of all of the little things that get in the way of regular writing output, the storyline, characters, conflicts of my novel–tentatively titled The Bet–all seem to be falling into place with each day’s writing effort.

I have a few weeks remaining before we close up the place–only a scattering of guests yet to come and no more travels–so I can move awfully close to having the book in the next revision stage by summer’s end. Of course, there will be more sunny “pontoon days” lurking and beckoning me once more, and that could pose some more problems. So it goes…CortlandWriter

My writing station inside the cottage
My writing station inside the cottage


Finding that lost discipline…

Have desk, will write
Have desk, will write (Photo credit: Bright Meadow)

I’ve been kicking myself lately because I have not been very disciplined in accomplishing my daily writing goals. Yeah, we’ve had some company here at the cottage, and there’s been a distraction here, a distraction there that have offered me convenient “outs” for my writing routine. But what it has come down to is I have simply been un-disciplined during the open time when I could be writing.


Our current guests were here for a couple of days at the beginning of the week, and I made a mental note that as soon as they were gone, I’d get back to the necessary “grindstone” and get that novel–The Bet–revised, edited, and ready for publication by the end of August. In fact, I even went as far as to declare that nothing else would take priority over my writing today–nothing! No trips to the laundromat, grocery store, pontoon cruises, Facebook, e-mail, etc. I would dedicate myself to spending time only on my Scrivener project, my novel.


And I must say, writing this after a full day’s worth of diligent writing, it was a wonderful–disciplined–day where I accomplished more than I anticipated. And though I probably won’t be able to emulate today’s output every day, I know that it can be done. All in all, I’m confident that my goal to have novel number two published by the end of August will probably be moved up a few weeks earlier. Now that’s a wonderful feeling!


I love writing here at the cottage by the lake, especially when I’m the only one here. Much can be accomplished–when there’s the motivation and the discipline. I haven’t thought much about that this summer, but today’s re-focusing on my writing was a good thing. And, of course, it didn’t hurt to have what I call a perfect writing morning be hanging around for most of the early part of the day.


Perfect writing morning? The summer rain and thunderstorms have been lurking about for the past few days and nights, and this morning’s dreary atmosphere was absolutely perfect to be shut up inside the cottage, be sitting at the old table, and typing away on the MacBook, writing and revising my novel. If it were possible to capture the whole atmosphere that was here most of the day, I would never have a problem being a disciplined writer….CortlandWriter


Macbook relaxation.
Macbook relaxation. (Photo credit: mlchetrit)

A new “cottage season” and Oklahoma thoughts…

Map of Michigan highlighting Cass County.svg
Map of Michigan highlighting Cass County.svg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ever since last September, when we closed up the lake cottage and moved back to northern Illinois, this is the week we’ve been looking forward to and thinking about.

Yep, it’s time to do it all over again—open the cottage—and these past few days have been all about shopping lists and gathering up things and loading our front dining room and table with boxes and bags and various other items that will be packed in our Ford Ranger or Chevy Malibu to be hauled up to Michigan early Friday morning to begin another “cottage season.”

With all of this “getting ready” atmosphere firmly ensconced, it seems as though it’s been way too long since I’ve attempted any sort of writing—my blog posts or work on my second novel, The Bet, or the various short stories I have “in the works.”

Writing now, I realize even more so that these next two days are only going to get more crammed with things that need to get done, and so I’ll attempt to finish this and get along to tending to many of them.

Of course, the “best laid scheme” often goes awry, and, sure enough, my plan to arise early today and get the yard mowed has gone by the boards because it’s been raining since the wee hours! Somehow, though, before we pull out of here early Friday morning to head to Michigan, I will have to manage to get it cut. My window of opportunity is quite minuscule—and getting more so as the day rolls along—so I’ll have to see how the weather cooperates (or doesn’t!) later today.

And now, it’s time to get busy. My next post will be from southwest Michigan—if I manage to get things done on this end, that is! When I think about it, though, my complaining about such things seems just a bit selfish and insignificant in the face of what those people in Oklahoma have endured and will have to continue to endure. So scratch my whining from the record, in regards to my inability to mow the lawn, please! Instead, offer some good thoughts and a prayer for those who really have issues sitting in their paths. My lawn will eventually get mowed….CortlandWriter

Ford Ranger XLT
Ford Ranger XLT (Photo credit: Wikipedia)…


My “new and improved” laundry plan…

Laundromat in Toronto, Canada
Laundromat in Toronto, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve been away, but I’m back now…

Seems as though I’ve been out of touch with my blog posting, but now I have returned to a more “normal” routine here in the closing days of cottage life here in Michigan. Home for a good portion of last week, and then the big Labor Day weekend “gathering” of kids and grandkids here, I was not able to post any cogent (or non-cogent) thoughts during that time.

It is, indeed, “crunch time” here at the cottage, with the closing date of September 16 rapidly approaching. My plan for the remainder of this week is to visit the laundromat, starting tomorrow morning, two or three times so as to get the numerous beach towels, bedding, and various other items laundered and ready for packing away in their respective Rubber Maid containers. In the past, I’ve always waited to do this tedious—but crucial—duty the last week of the season. Not this year! That’s why I’m starting later today to round-up all of the towels and load them into my Ford Ranger so we can get to the laundromat early tomorrow morning.

Once those two or three big, front-loading washers swallow my quarters and begin to do their thing, half the battle is won! Then the other half begins once I load the towels into the dryers and feed more quarters into the hungry devils. Then, it’s just a matter of waiting—and feeding the machines a few more times—before it’s time to fold and pack the clean towels back into the truck and head back to the cottage where another load of something or other awaits. But the good thing is, this is all happening two weeks before “closing day,” and it still feels like there’s a bit of time for fun stuff.

So now, it’s time to post and then go get busy with my new and improved end-of-season laundry plan. We’ll see how it works out…CortlandWriter