Writer’s Retreat—North Woods Style

cottage

Imagine a quaint little white cottage settled beneath towering pine trees set only a few yards from a quiet inland lake. I’m on a writer’s retreat in northern Wisconsin. I’ve spent most of this getaway sitting at a table on the screened porch, sipping coffee and tapping away on my laptop. Works in progress seem less daunting here. Deadlines don’t rule me the way they do at home. The only interruptions are the welcome sounds of waves gently lapping against the shore and the cry of a loon echoing across the lake.

water

This morning a heavy mist hugged the water trapping the sweet scent of pine in the air. After breakfast I went on a walk. God’s little blessings were everywhere: an eagle riding the wind above the lake; fish surfacing, creating tiny rings in the mirror-like water; butterflies resting on the last of summer wildflowers, determined chipmunks gathering acorns under an old oak tree (I remembered to slip a few into my pockets for the squirrels back home.) . . .

bench

Northwoods Country seems to attract those who prefer a solitary and somewhat quirky lifestyle. I’ve decided this place would be the perfect destination for someone who writes cozy mysteries. In the little towns around here I found “characters” who fit that genre.

I met a chatty lady who summers in a cottage near here. She gave me a lengthy tutorial on juvenile bald eagles. “Did you know they are terrible landers?” she asked. “They sometimes plop down at the edge of the water and then wonder what to do. You should see! They spread their wings wide open and just look at the sky.” She also told me about a twelve-point buck, “big as a moose. He shows up down there at the very end of Shiller’s Road. Comes out of the woods at 6:38, almost every night.” (She keeps a record —6:38.)

At Cathy’s Ice Cream Shop, I enjoyed two generous scoops of ice cream, Raspberry Chocolate Chunk and French Silk. No other customers were there, so Cathy, a plump, little darked-haired lady, sat and talked with me about the “Big Wave.” It’s an annual event here on Labor Day when the locals stand along highways leading out of town and wave goodbye to the “summer people”. Cathy says the goodbye is bittersweet. Tourists and those with summer homes on the lakes provide most of the income for shop owners like her. Still, it’s a happy day when they leave and peace and quiet return to the woods.

suset

It’s evening now. As I rest on the porch, the lake turns glassy clear reflecting the trees and sky. The setting sun creates hues that remind me of carrots and candied ginger. My words slow with the waning day. It’s been a good one, productive . . .

There’s nothing like the north woods for a writer’s retreat.

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Five Rejected Books that Survived and Thrived

Thoughts of Labor Day merge with the idea that writing is hard work. Some writers found rejection too hard to handle and quit. Others kept going, believing in their talent. Thank goodness they did; otherwise we might have missed these stories that not only survived, but thrived:

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carrie-book-cover-650x1024Stephen King had his first book Carrie rejected 30 times until Doubleday offered him a $2500 advance. Carrie launched King’s career and, like many of his novels, it was made into a feature film.

help

Have you seen the film “The Help” based on Kathryn Stockett’s book?  Before it became the popular film that movie goers flocked to see, The Help received 60 rejections. After Amy Einhorn Books bought it, Stockett’s novel made the New York Times bestseller list, stayed there for 100 weeks and, so far, has sold over 7million copies.

mashWhen you hear the word “MASH” you likely associate it with the popular television series. The original M*A*S*H, the book written by Richard Hooker, was rejected 21 times. Finally, after many revisions and help from journalist W.C. Heinz, Hooker’s book was published, and four years later MASH showed up on TV screens all across America—the rest is history.

Dune

Another languishing manuscript that became famous is the bestselling science fiction novel, Dune. Frank Herbert‘s story received 23 rejections before Chilton Books (a company best known for publishing automotive manuals) picked it up. Dune has sold more than 20 million copies, won numerous literary awards and, of course, made it to the big screen.

wrinkleMadeleine L’Engle‘s A Wrinkle in Time was turned down by 26 publishers who decided the story was too deep for young readers. Farrar, Straus & Giroux finally published the story as a young adult novel, not certain if it belonged there or as a book for adults. Not to worry, both children and adults loved the book! Since then, more than 10 million copies have sold. A Wrinkle in Time won the coveted Newbery Medal and most recently the story was released as a feature film starring Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon.

So, on this Labor Day when your thoughts turn to work and a well deserved rest remember this:

Don’t rest too long!
Don’t allow your work in progress languish,
and most important NEVER give up.

Yours might be the next novel to one day make it to the big screen.

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I’m taking a couple weeks off from blogging to relax, enjoy the lake and the north woods, and recharge my idea bank. I wish you all a restful Labor Day, and I’ll see you back here soon.

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If you are on Facebook, Check out my page where I post articles
and inspiration for writers.

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*NOTE: Any ads appearing in this post were not put there by me nor do I endorse them. WordPress sometimes posts ads in exchange for hosting this free blog.

 

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Filed under Aspiring Writers, Books and Libraries, Dealing With Rejection, Encouragement, Inspiration, Labor Day, Movtivation, Uncategorized