Order of the Good Write

That Magic Feeling When the Words Flow. A Blog by Debi Rotmil


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The Art of the Doodle

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Whiteboard doodle found in a conference room at the New York Times, 2009.

Doodles and drawings are swimming in my brain this morning. I spent most of the past weekend doodling. You see, I’ve started a journal where I’ll be listing 25 things for which I’m grateful on a daily basis, and doodles have become part of the process. Just to open the well of color and ideas, perhaps to comfort me into a state of grace. .

You see, I’ve fallen into the well of fear again. I worry about money. That worry turns to fear, and then fear blocks the flow of writing and goal intention. So, I’m focusing on the things I do have, instead of the things I think I could lose.  And one of the things I love about keeping a journal is the artwork I doodle to colorize the flow of creativity. It sounds so arty farty. But who am I to question the process? Beside, I was always an art class nerd, who spent free periods in high school hanging out in Mr. Bates’ art room drawing or tracing faces on an overhead projector for silk screens.   So, I bought an assortment of magic markers, and I’ve been coloring and doodling patterns, stained glass motifs of multicolored weirdness. I couldn’t stop. All weekend – through sips of morning coffee and within each listing of gratitude. I doodled the inner front cover of my journal through the Super Bowl, and through “Downton Abbey” straight until bedtime.

While my hand and brain devised magical swirly checkerboards and psychedelic patterns created by precision pens and fine point markers, I remembered this amazing segment on CBS Sunday Morning from months back regarding the art of the doodle.  There are people who sit in meetings and doodle, not because they’re bored, but because it allows them to concentrate better. This is me. I’m always doodling in meetings. Many called it a “window to clarity”, where mindless drawing opens a space that allows you to focus.  It hits an “intentional sweet spot”.  As mentioned in the segment, “It’s a visual language that can be used to provide a richer and clear cut understanding”  toward discussion points and learning various lessons.

I’m brainstorming a structure to help my clients understand the basics of writing a book with the intent of self publishing. While being currently immersed in the doodling process, there seems to be a chasm opening up, allowing me to explore a creative way to make people love to learn what I’d like to teach. It’s a visual language that helps get the point across. In fact, Kindle Direct has an introduction to self publishing that is done in doodle animation, making what can be a muddled process a little easier to understand. And as someone who has spent many hours in meetings with visually inclined digital technologists plotting SEO or DRM with drawings on whiteboards hung in geek chic conference rooms – I get it.

Here’s that CBS segment I love so much. Sign me up. I’m part of Doodle Nation:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-higher-purpose-of-doodling/

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Super Bowl Soul Searching Pep Talk from a Coach…Writing Coach

Screenshot 2015-02-01 13.43.05It’s Super Bowl SUNDAY…Sunday…sunday….!!  (echo echo echo….)  And I’m giving a writer’s pep talk in the space of my own football locker room of the mind. Huddle around team.  This is my speech. I hope it inspires you to find your own inner talk of empowerment no matter what it pertains to. Here goes:

Don’t ever stop writing because you’re getting rejected by publishers. Remember – so many incredible books have been passed over – Anne Frank, JK Rollings, Golding, Orwell, Faulkner, the list goes on and one. They were all rejected, nonetheless, in time, they found someone who was willing to take a risk and publish them. Even the best of the best have been unceremoniously turned down.  Check out this interesting list of rejected classics. 

So, go all Nike on them and “Just Do It!”

But if you feel you don’t need the Big Man of publishing to get your book out there, consider self publishing! The process can be  empowering! I know. My book “Hitting Water” is out and I have this new sense of power, and I want to share my experience with people through coaching. (More on that to come in the coming months).  I’m still learning by fumbling and making mistakes. It’s practice to get out of the comfort zone and speak up about your work. Be real. Know about budgeting and marketing your work. Think big – expect small as you write and work on the outcome every day.  See what happens. But be prepared for the biz side. If you think your book will sell about $1000 worth of books, formulate your budget within those means. Don’t be dazzled by others who want to help you for thousands of dollars unless you’re already established and know you can recoup the financial output. Don’t spend more than you realistically think you can make back. There are affordable editors out there, who will edit and proof your book at a minimal cost. There are book designers, interior formatters and proofreaders who will clean up your work or give you opinions on how the book reads to a personal outside your head.

Team, I want to make this short since it’s almost game time. So, I’ll leave now with many more pep talks and suggestions to come. Keep the faith. Let the work flow and allow people to see it. “The Big Wherever” has a rich source naturally using you to bring a little heaven down to earth. Don’t block the flow. If you want (not “wish”…want) to create and put a defensive line of attack against the beauty –  you will be sad. And that’s a penalty. Flag on the play. Timeout. Re-think this. Open up and the clock will start, the game will resume.

I’m a baseball person myself, counting down the days to Pitchers and Catchers (18 days till NY Mets training camp in Port St. Lucie, FL!!! Let’s Go Mets!).  But I’ll say this….Seahawks 46 — Pats 21. My Boston Red Sox buddies will hate me for this.

Go forth and write! Celebrate your writing and how you can present it to world like it’s a half time celebration – Katy Perry and all!


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“Hitting Water: A Book of Stories” Is Out on Amazon Now!

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“Hitting Water” Out on Amazon now!

Drum roll please…..

“Hitting Water: A Book so Stories” is out on Amazon now!  Paperback is available for purchase. Kindle will be available by end of the week.

It’s my hope that these stories will touch you – perhaps make you think about some of the people who’ve entered your life, made you feel happy, sad, disturbed and loved. The fact this book exists is a testimony to following a dream and seeing it through. This is the first of many books I hope to write.  May it inspire you to write too!


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“Hitting Water” Is a Reality!

'Hitting Water: A Book of Stories" to be published December 2014

‘Hitting Water: A Book of Stories” to be published December 2014

Happy Sunday ‘Good Write’ readers!

The final proofs are in! My forthcoming book “Hitting Water” is finished and ready for publication. It looks amazing! I’m so proud of these short stories about the brevity of life and how we embrace the people – flawed and all – who enter it. It’s a small book, but it packs a punch.

Maybe you are a writer and can’t find the time to write. Are you a writer who feels they have a book in them?  Do you have a day job that takes up your time, yet makes you feel too  exhausted at the end of the day to sit and write? That was me. I was the person who always wrote articles on blogs and hoped to have someone notice my work and give me a publishing deal. I’m one of many who felt they had a novel in them, but pushed it aside out of fear. Laziness, perhaps – but in essence, Laziness equals Fear. But I learned it doesn’t work that way. So, there I was, a writer who didn’t write. A writer with a day job in the media that was really dead end, where I would just go home, go to sleep and wake up again to a job that wasn’t even paying bills. You become dead after a while. However, to be fair,  I work at a film/television studio in Los Angeles. I’m so lucky because my bosses are fine with me writing when I have down time, Yet, there are busy days where I steal away during lunch to write, or create notes after work for the next day. You do what you can. It’s so satisfying to accomplish the goal a little every day. Then when you see writers publish books or get an article in The New Yorker, you’ll no longer feel the creeping icky feeling of jealousy, like I did. You’ll no longer feel anger because you know you can write, but don’t even try – because now – you are trying. You’re a writer writing! Best feeling in the world!

How did I get out of my writer’s funk? After having a major medical ordeal that made me re-think my life, I felt that 2014 was going to be different. This was the first year where I made a New Years resolution and stuck with it. I would write at least 500 – 1000 words each day.  And I did it.   I did it because I was tried of relying on a corporate job to allow me to exist. I was tired of letting my personal ability to create go to waste when I knew I could make it into something real. I don’t expect to be a millionaire here, but I don’t expect anything really. Who knows? How exciting to stimulate the universe and generate the energy flow toward a goal. How exciting to see where it will take me!

But this book? I just know this is the first step in the right direction toward creating something to inspire others to feel a little, to write a little to find a way to self publish a little.  “Hitting Water” is me, planting my stake in the world of written word to say – HERE I AM.  This is the first of many books I have in the works. “Hitting Water” is my debut.

I hope “Hitting Water” will inspire people like me, who didn’t think they could ever get their writing in gear and publish – even self publish –  to get down to business and do it.  It can be fun! It’s daydreaming made real! You place yourself in imaginary worlds that come from you, allowing others to read and share your vision. I love that. I hope others with aspirations to see their writing materialize will be inspired by this book and the writer behind it.  “Hitting Water”may not change the world (yet), but it’s changing mine in so many ways.

I’ll be uploading the final version of the completed cover this week, prompting Amazon to provide me with a publishing date. “Hitting Water” will also be on Kindle as well. So, watch this space for the official release date.

The way things are going, it looks like the book may come out on the week of my birthday. What a lovely thing!!


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The One Thousand Yard Stare of a Writer

Robin Williams as T.S. Garp in "The World According to Garp" (Warner Bros)

Robin Williams as T.S. Garp in “The World According to Garp” (Warner Bros)

Perhaps the screenshot above is another obsessive motion on my love for Robin Williams. But as my previous post states, I re-watched the film “The World According to Garp” over the weekend, and was reminded of the strange wonderment of this unique story.

The photo above is a moment in the film when Garp is staring into the Long Island Sound. He has just said goodbye to his mother for what turns out to be the last time.  Although he didn’t know she would be shot dead by a crazed assassin, he knew something was going to go wrong. Yet, intermixed with this far away thought, is the far away stare of a writer, who longs to capture the emotions and veracity of the moment.

Much like the anger and frustration T.S. Garp felt when his books didn’t match cultural phenomenon proportions like his mother’s publication, “Sexual Suspect”, the futility of writing pervades the mind of an author, especially one who is about to debut their first book – their first self published book. Yikes!

Today, we writers look at J.K. Rowling, or E.L James who started off as unknowns with a great idea for a book that somehow hits the imagination of a populace.  And we hope, as we write our dreamy little dreamy stories, we’ll find the same success. Yet, our rational brains tend to tell us to calm the “f” down. Be detached from the results of your work. Start the next project wishing and blessing the soon-to-be-published work the best. Onward, upward.  And you know what? I think that works well.

So, today, as rain hits southern California, I have the long stare of Garp, looking into the abyss, sensing that something could go wrong, but knowing that everything will be alright.


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Book Cover, All Covered

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Even though the digital world has given us Kindle and iBook apps, I still do love to read actual books.  You know what I mean – tangible books with paper you feel and pages you turn. Paper that has the lovely smell of knowledge and stories,  tinged with the musty comforting fragrance of a library. Yes -books. And as a book reader who has mulled over the aisle of many Barnes and Nobles, I am captivated by the lure of a great book cover. The old adage “Never judge a book…”? Well, I do. To me, the cover is part of the package. The photo or design usually expresses a subtext undertone of the book’s story, giving the potential reader a feel for the mood. Surrealism always entices me, and it seems the literary world knows how to use dreamy imagery well since I find stacks of book on my shelves dressed up with sepia toned oceans, blue hued dreamy roads to nowhere, pithy minimalistic cocktail glasses in the middle of a spill, suspended in mid-air. I’m still trying to understand the imagery of David Sedaris’ “Barrel Fever” with two guys sticking in hats sticking their tongues out the reader. But no matter – I find it whimsical, playful, iconoclastic – very much like the contents inside.

So, as a self publishing author, I’ve found it important to know what my book is about before getting to the cover.  I’m very visual, and no ordinary photo will do.  So, I finally found the perfect photo off Shutterstock, but the dpi and the various elements in the shot were difficult to maneuver, that is – until I found an actual, affordable book cover artist who’s on the same page, and was able to make the cover into what I wanted – with all requirements included. This is such a relief. My self imposed deadline is approaches. My manuscript finished, with the exception of trying to come up with an introduction and blurb. But I find it so hard to promote myself. It seems that when I’m about to reach the precipice of accomplishment, I slow down -like I don’t want it all at once.

I’m also in the self doubt phase. My book is entitled “Hitting the Water” – but should I have just called it “Hitting Water”? Would that have been snazzier? Too late now since I’ve already received an ISBN. More questions. More answers. More self doubts. More ways to get past them.  And as much as I love physical books, I plan on having my book available for Kindle in addition to a real book.  The best of both worlds.

More to come!