Order of the Good Write

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


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Writing Lessons: You Don’t Already Know

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Today is the first day of a major online business course known as B-School. Last year, as someone who was itching to start the process of being an entrepreneur, I signed up for Marie Forleo’s popular and beloved online business program.

Once B-School launches, your personal dashboard opens a new module each week focusing on specific aspects of business and marketing.  Last year, I ate up every morsel of worksheets, books, and exercises opened to me. I designed business plans, got out of my comfort zone, emailed people who succeeded in the business I want to launch, conducted practice coaching sessions with follow up surveys, focused on what my customer avatar is and built (albeit unsuccessfully because I hate math) some form of a profit plan.

I loved it. Every bit of it. And I plan on doing it again. In fact, my heart is racing a bit and my hand is dying to click over to my account to start once more.

This time last year I had nothing. I only knew I wanted to be a coach. I knew, that in addition to writing my own projects, I wanted to use my writing to get other people to do the same.

It was imperative that I build something that would not only eventually allow me to live life on my own terms (i.e get out of the corporate world), but would allow others to come out of their shell and do the same – especially by telling their story through the written word.

Today, I have a registered sole proprietorship (that will likely morph into an LLC), a business bank account, an accountant, business cards, a website (still under construction despite giving you all a sneak peek last month), and a membership to the Association of Writers and Writers Programs (AWP) with a hefty conference coming my way. Plus, I have a future that is a little muddy, but filled with exciting uncertainty. (Mostly envisioned back in New York. A move that’s long overdue but difficult to make the financial leap. Help!)

Yet, why am I taking B-School again? Because I am never finished learning.  I’m not done obtaining more wisdom and upgrading ways of conducting business – or even optimizing the way I create.  It should be the same for you. Hey, just saying.

We should always ask questions, always be curious, always learn new things every chance we get or else we stagnate. The moss will grow over our heads, and we’ll never know why unless we take a good hard look at our process.

This also goes with writing. I am guilty of this, but we writers tend to think we already know how to write.

But sometimes we don’t already know, or we need a refresher.

Pick up that old Stunk & White book, read books like “Bird By Bird”, “On Writing Well”, “Forest for the Trees” and understand new ways to approach your personal expression, your written world.

Join meeting ups, go to conferences, take a class at a local school – get out there and have other writers see your writing.

I know I’ve commented on how writing courses can be a pain in the ass. Relying too heavily on writing courses and school and groups will overload your head with so much critiques that you might grind your writing down to a halt.

But sometimes, it’s good to get your writing out there.

If you have the intent to actually use the suggestions made by other writers in class to take action by sending work to publishers or blogs or agents – then it’s a very good thing indeed.

You are learning new things. You are not sitting by thinking that just going to a class and gathering comments is doing the work.  You are taking action by taking the lessons learned or discarding those that are of no use, and focusing on getting that work out there in blogs, newsletters, marketing tools, novels, memoirs….etc.

B-School has taught me that no matter how much work you’ve put into something, you are never fully educated. Life is a process of learning.  Each year is a building block. If you work hard, you can build new levels of accomplishment. While you gaze at those successful goals, it’s a good idea to take in more lessons to build the next block and the next and the next.

I’m not only saying this to pump you up, I’m writing this as a pep talk to myself.  I’m in the same boat as a lot of writers. We all want to create, inspire, and tell the stories that will leave a footprint behind.

But we all need keep learning, to keep writing and to keep creating.

We want to be part of history, and our history is in the storytelling.

Don’t let the moss grow over your head. Keep asking. Keep learning.

Just Grow.

 

 


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Celebrity Lifestyle Branding: Build a Better You?

teabiscuits

Oh, the feel of a Brand. I love it. Everything about the idea and texture of a brand that resonates with my soul it alright by me.

Barefoot Contessa, Anthropologie, Apple, Crate & Barrel, CB2, Williams Sonoma, Ikea – hell, I’m on board. They conjure the lifestyle I want to snuggle up to. I mean – who doesn’t want to live in Ina Garten’s barn in East Hampton, cook splendid meals with stylish/functional tools, or live in a CB2 showroom while using an Anthro or Hugo Boss location as your personal closet?

Since I’m working on my ‘The Good Write’ brand, I’ve been exploring business images  that make me feel warm and fuzzy. (See the paragraph above).

I’ve written about branding before. I’m fascinated by how a brand makes you feel, how it enhances your well being – your lifestyle.

Lifestyle.  I mean, we all live a life, and we all want to live it to its fullest. Brands that provide expert advice on health, beauty, travel, arts, fashion, cooking, housekeeping, etc… are going to be pretty damn popular.

But here’s the interesting thing: When you Google “Lifestyle Guru” – you will find articles that list the top go-to people in this category are celebrities.

Celebrities. Mostly actresses with lucrative film and television careers – filling the lifestyle niche that sit nicely on top of the Google search engine with articles like “These Celebrities Want you to Live a Better Life”.

Gwyneth Paltrow,  Blake Lively, Zoey Deschannel, to name a few, have all extended their celebrity status into the lifestyle brand.  With research and a good team of people to help fulfill these branding goals, they have no doubt done their research. They know who they’re branding for. They know their customer avatar right down to the pocketbook she carries (Hermes? Michael Kors?), the nail polish she wears (Butter? Esse?), the daycare she uses, the organic food she eats and the vegan life she longs to fulfill.

I applaud these famous people.  It’s obvious they provide an amazing service to the person they have in mind – the person they are speaking to who yearns to find the best cleanses, money advice, physical fitness regimes and fun fashion suggestions.

This blogger is no different from those who actively seek out celebrity advice. When it comes to makeup and hair – YES, I want to know their secrets and the products they use.

But here’s my issue. Do these brands REALLY resonate with regular people who are seeking out celebrity “expert” advice?  How is their  lifestyle experience anything like mine or my friends?

Unless a celebrity found fame a bit later in life and had children to feed and bills they struggled to pay (see J.K. Rowlings, Loretta Lynn), Celebrities don’t gain their expertise from a gaping hole in the marketplace. They gain their expertise through the good stuff provided to them by well paid experts and swag parties.

Did these celebrities once have their own struggles? Sure. But their advice comes from the rarefied air that celebrity affords them.  These are brands built by managers who work to optimize their careers. They’re built via easy access to the best of everything in clothes, schools, trainers, chefs, nutritionists, money managers, nannies, doctors, spas, organic food, travel and many other important people who will take their calls.

If a celebrity can provide affordable advice on how to dress like them for less money – I mean LESS money  (not show a pair of $1000 shoes marked down to $500 and call that a bargain), then…cool! Maybe they are offering something in their brand we can relate to.

But can the average person really relate to them?

Can most of people who search for Paltrow’s “Goop” really afford the$200 denim shorts she promotes? Or the $500 hand stitched slippers?

Maybe the mom who just put the baby down and wants some “Me” time enjoys escaping into “Goop” or Oprah’s Super Soul. Nothing wrong with that. But can she afford these “must haves” for summer or do a major herbal colonic?

A brand created by someone who launched her business from nothing is more meaningful to me.

No top film gross filling up her bank account. No agent or manager to consult her and connect her with the right people. Just a smart, non-celebrity who saw a need in the market that was not being met and did something about it.

People like Joy Mangano who created the Miracle Mop, or Sara Blakely who created Spanx. Marie Forleo whose multi-passionate business model branded her the leader in helping other business people make a “business and a life you’ll love”.

They may not specifically be “Lifestyle gurus”, but they made something that real people need – both men and women:  A good mop, a good way to smooth out that booty, and a beloved coach that will teach you to give something valuable to the world while earning a living on your own terms.

So, enjoy the Goops and the Reese Witherspoons and the Kardashian brands. They’re offerings are fun to behold. Maybe we can gather some interesting advice on life and style from them.

But I’d be careful about celebrities who claim to want to help you live a better life. In the end, you’re on the receiving end of a career strategy carefully cultivated by a team of people who’ve invested time and money into the overall celebrity brand of this person.

You may be bettering their lives instead. $$$$

 

 

 

 


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Landing on a Landing Page

launchpageI’m in the process of creating a website!  But first things first. I’m gearing up with one of those Landing Pages that say “Oh, hello! I’m not ready yet. I must powder my nose. Keep the car running while I get this site all dressed up!”

I’ve been involved in a program known as “B-School”. It’s an online business school for entrepreneurs. It’s exceptionally challenging, fun, exciting and amazing. There’s consistent  step by step information on how to build a business online, and how to create a business from a place of “Why”. B-School opens the mind to create a purpose driven business – coming from a good place of passion with the intent on helping. This isn’t an ad for B-School. Enrollment is closed and won’t be open for another year. But if you’ve stumbled onto this site with the hope of gaining some know-how in the world of online business – check it out.

So, I’m working hard in the background, gaining market focus and envisioning my customer and what he and she wants – in particular – with writing. What frustrates them. What are they looking to do when it comes to being creative and writing words that no only help them find accomplishment, but allows others to learn from them.

It’s been fun looking at templates for my website on WordPress – and all the cool landing page options I can go with. If anyone out there has any helpful advice on website design or development, let me know!

Anyone out there in B-School?  Any Marie Forleo disciples? We are surely a very enthusiastic bunch!  You have to be. When you get tired of the norm in life – it’s time to take it up a notch. A big giant old high rise notch.


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Off-Day Writing for the Writer Who Writes

The-Beatles-1963-the-beatles-31890892-1600-1022I’m starting this wonderful program called B-School. It’s part of business school created by business coach Marie Forleo for self starting business people who want to make a difference in this world while delving into the world of entrepreneurship.  Yes, Orderlies, I’m starting my way, gathering the building blocks toward a writing coach business that I will morph into an interactive online world for writers to come and gain inspiration. Whether it be the student, the mother, the business person, the corporation – I’ll be unfolding this within the next year. I’m very excited. Although I’m grateful for the job I have now, it’s time to shed the corporate world and start moving away from the work force as I’ve known it. It’s not easy. It’s going to be a major challenge. But it will be done.

Yet, the thing about all this is – I’m finding it hard to write!  Yikes! The writer/writing coach who love to write is so busy, she can’t find the time to write the content she so wants to provide to the universe of writers!  But – it will get there. It will!  Despite not getting the work done today – it will get done. I’m still writing morning pages, business plans, dreams, throughts and connecting with a new community of creative people starting or revving up established businesses. And damn, I’m loving it!

So why do I have the Beatles up there? Well, I bet there were days during the height of Beatle-dom (before fame and growth made them grumpy with each other) when Paul or John were too busy doing something else beside being a Beatle. They may have had to travel for family – or tend to a problem with their mansion somewhere in the English countryside or London.  George woke up on a given morning in 1964, took a look at the girl gazing inside his bedroom window, and the blonde under his bed and thought,  “Yeah…I’m off to the Bahamas.”  There may have been a day that Ringo didn’t feel like playing the drums, or McCartney didn’t have it in him to write ‘Yesterday’ or ‘Eleanor Rigby’. Those songs would be written on another day.

So, we don’t have to focus on a writing project everyday if we can’t get to it. No need to beat yourself up, I convince myself.  ‘Revolver’ wasn’t recorded in a day. ‘Abbey Road’ wasn’t written in a moment. It will all get done – even if you can’t physically open up that document marked “AWESOME NOVEL I’M WRITING” (working title, of course) today.

But I do write morning pages. I show up somehow, even if the writing it just clearing the morning cobwebs.