Order of the Good Write

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


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A Book Starts with One Page

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Shameless plug, but it serves a greater purpose.

My book, “Hitting Water” began over a year ago as a dare to myself. I would write 500 to 1000 words a day of short story or chapters toward a novel. There was no excuse. I had just come out of a major medical ordeal, and it was time to realize the burning need to create was dieing inside me. As Dr. Wayne Dyer has often said, “Don’t die with the music still inside you.” I took a vow to not let this happen. I even wrote it out on a Post It and tacked it to my kitchen cabinet. I read it every time I eat breakfast.

In late 2013, I dared myself. Double, triple dared. I was going to pick up morning pages once again and write stream of conscious nonsense until I covered three pages, both sides with words. Even if they were nothing. And then, I was going to write 1000 words a day of story and characters swimming in my mind for years. 1000 words of productive work – not just rehab “The Artist’s Way” work alone. Cameron’s work is a therapy you use on the side to help your real work get done. Everyday. Write something you will want to publish. Write everyday until something gels into a tangible project you can focus and hang up as a goal.

The 1000 words a day goal not only created (and is still creating) a flood gate of ideas and outlines for various novels I plan to write – but it created my first stake in the publishing world – “Hitting Water”. Creating this little book eventually changed my world. Just putting it out there for the world to see is proof that anyone can do this. I hope just it’s existence and the personal challenge I placed upon myself to make this (and other future work) happen, inspires others to do the same.

There were days I could only do 300 words. You know what? It was perfect. The next day, those 300 words turned into 3000 words of good, useful work that provided a profound amazing feeling of accomplishment and purity. Call it euphoric. Writing those words everyday – whether good stuff came out or not – was the most authentic I’ve ever felt in my life. It’s a delicious feeling – and I despise using the word “delicious” to describe anything other than food.

To my fellow writers who are placing your dreams on the shelf. Don’t push your writing aside. Ignore the voice inside that says you can’t do it. You can do it.

Don’t think about fame and glory. That’s not the purpose.

Think about what is before you.

Think about the now of your story.

Don’t think about “The Book”…page one. Think about the ideas you want to impart, the characters you want to create. Write it down even if it’s not great, even if your head says “This sucks”. Because it doesn’t. It may not be perfect now – but it will be with love and care like a seedling in a garden. Write it. Show up. Everyday. Water it with thoughts and ideas. Give it some new food for thought, new characters and twists to gain conflict and juicy, page turning possibilities.

Spring will be around the corner and glorious summer will provide the fruit.

What is “the fruit”?

“The fruit” isn’t a big publishing deal – although one should expect their work to be worthy of such. “The Fruit” is a complete work you feel is ready, with edits, rewrites, proofing, etc… HOWEVER…

Don’t embark on the novel of your life with the heavy thought of how daunting it will be. It’s not a mountain, it’s a well thought out story that will unfold when you show up.

And publishing it? Don’t care about right now. Think of your audience and know who they are. Who are you telling this story to? While you’re molding this incredible journey of life,  tell the publishing world to fuck off.  Don’t let the concept of “Who will publish this?” cloud your view. Keep thinking about the people who will read this. Who are you telling this story to?

A book starts with one page.


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My First Time: How This Newbie is Getting Her Book “Hitting the Water” Self Published

I’ve written a book. Yes, readers of WordPress! Yes people of the internet universe! This administrative assistant who has hidden behind the coat tails of executives in the media industry all in the name of a paycheck, this retiring cubicle dweller who has been a prisoner of the nine to five (make that nine to six) – has decided to finally – publish a book. To be specific – self publish a book.  It’s a collection of short stories entitled Hitting the Water. I’ll be discussing it and providing excerpts in the weeks to come.

Why am I self publishing? I have to. It’s time to start charting a course that will get me out of the day to day grind of the corporate world. It’s been over two decades of being tied to a desk, being responsible for work I barely care about, and stop being an assistant to someone elses’ career. I can’t wait for a publisher to pass my work along while my life span is ticking away.

Of course, I’d love the financial backing and marketing team of a legit publisher, where my work can be formatted correctly for press, where a cover will be designed hitting the reader’s eye on the shelf of the only Barnes and Noble that still lives in a mall somewhere, and where marketing will be handled by pros. But having dealt with the rejection of many publishers, magazine and websites before – I’ve decided to pack up my pencils and laptop, and go it alone. If a publisher notices my work online – fine. But I’m ready to write everyday and parlay it as an entrepreneurial venture. As Johnny, Dave and Sean say in their Self-Publishing Podcast: “If you can’t get it done right, you do it yourself.”

So, after a year of writing dozens and dozens of stories and setting the groundwork for various novels (one a trilogy), I’m ready to forge ahead on the self publication of my book for paperback and digital download on Amazon. I have my manuscript, and will be sending into my editor for final edits. A friend of mine will design the cover – a tricky project considering there are requirements and templates we need. There’s the ISBN, LCCN assignment, copyrights , marketing and a whole mixture of technical stuff I need to handle via Createspace,   

For those just learning (like me!), Createspace is the platform self publishers use to get their books physically ready and available for distribution when readers click to purchase your work. They also do digital uploads so your book can be purchased and downloaded to Kindle. What’s interesting is that Createspace provides a whole list of offers to help the self publisher get their books done without the toil of dealing with various venders. Kind of a one-stop-shopping for the publisher on the go. All great! However, with services like formatting at $349 and book design at $599, you know what I’m finding? That’s hella expensive! Will I recoup this money once the book is released?  Likely not. Yes, I have faith in this book, but I’m aware that this is just the first seed I’m planting as part of a garden of books I hope will sell. I’m not going to recoup this amount at this stage.

So here I go, making the passive act of writing and living in my head, into an active action by laying the actual business groundwork to make this book a tangible thing.  Of course, it’s just the first book I’m getting out there. I don’t expect it to change the world. But, in publishing it, I’m changing mine.

Anyone out there going through this self publishing process? Anyone ever think of self publishing that novel or article you have on a self somewhere? Please share your thoughts. I’ve been on various forums, but I’d love to get a conversation started here.

And you don’t just have to be a writer. Are you living a life that you don’t want?  What is your passion?


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Chip Off The ‘Ol Block

This is my father, Bernard Rotmil, as a young man. He told me that this picture was taken at a charity event in Greenwich Village while he was a student at NYU, likely in the early 1950’s, although I’ve never been sure of the time frame. His childhood was fractured by the upheavals of WWII.  So, as a budding US citizen, his course in higher education, mixed with a few years in the US Army, made him a bit late in the college curve compared to most of his contemporaries.

I’ve been looking for this photo for a few years now, scouring every photo album and box of personal belongings I took with me when my father passed away four years ago.  Yet, my searches came up short. Nothing. I thought this photo would be lost forever, only living in the recesses of my memory.

This morning, while watching CBS Sunday Morning, a segment about World War II came up.  It reminded me of my dad, of course. He was a child running away from Hitler and the Nazi’s before he found asylum in the U.S. as a teenager, living with his German aunt and uncle in Peekskill, New York.  I went over to my bookshelf and pulled out his old high school yearbook from 1947.  As soon as I opened the book, this photo fell out. Relief. I shed a few tears.  My father’s sweet nature showed so clearly in this shot.

Just this morning, an old email chain between me and my Uncle Charles (my father’s brother) with the subject: “Dad and Books Photo” came up. A few months ago, I asked him about this photo, and if he had seen it in the old leather suitcase that belonged to dad. The suitcase contained old birth certificates and photos, and my uncle wanted it due to the personal nature and historical items he shared inside.

Ironic that on a morning where I discovered this picture, my old inquiry to my uncle about this very picture would pop up.  But nothing is coincidental when it comes to fate and love.