Order of the Good Write

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


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How A Rug Illustrates a Story

ABCHomeRug

Rug as seen at ABC Home, NYC

It hung there, among the colorful faded green and pink rugs. Like a shabby and dazzling bunch of beauties, these gorgeous items of woven thread formed the most intricate patterns of white, greys and blacks. It left me breathless. The finite layers of simple flower shapes, round, small and big. Dabs of pedal shadows that almost look like birds flowing through the delicate wiggly lines depicting an element of motion.

From afar, we see the dazzling story of visual artistry. It’s a tale by what we make of it. The chairs and sofa that would look so good against the color. The pop of black floorboard wood that makes the patterns come alive, contained in the room in which it lives. This rug’s design can tell a story with it’s patterns and cacophony of visuals combines into one big work of floor artistry. Indeed, in one’s home, it will absorb the human life on which it lives.

ABCHomeRugCloseUp

Yet, if we zoom in on the details, we see a different emotion. Suddenly the story isn’t so obvious, the tales not so simple. From afar, each duplicate design is created by intricate fibers of color and handmade stitching pulls together to make one big beauty. But when we magnify an inch of the vast work before us, there is a depth we never see.

One can find a laughing family on the front yard enjoying a summer day. Yet, if we take one person aside and study him, much like the details of a rug, we’ll find depth, individuality and a whole other story.

Writing is much like this. You can’t have the overall picture unless you magnify the details of the human spirit.

Look closely at the details of life. Understand more than just what the overall picture is trying to tell you. Write about it.

And boy, would I LOVE to buy this rug!

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For the Writer, Art is the Motivator

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Palm Trees. Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

(I wrote this post this morning on MarieForleo.com in reply to a discussion about the importance of art in our lives.  This comment felt like a blog post. I’d like to share it here. I hope you find some good in its message.)

Art is essential in allowing humanity to connect spiritually.

I use art to motivate my writing and the writing of others. Each facet of art, especially painting and sculpture (for me), can ignite a bevvy of stories for the world to see. It can inspires other and can change lives. It can shift a mind.

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Street Art/Berlin Wall. Wende Museum. Los Angeles.

Music is also a profound inspiration. Artists who write life affirming and soul searching lyrics have made me the writer I am today. They connect feelings into words. Music and art makes us feel less alone in this world.

I think the one piece of art that changed my life (other than music), was Georges Seurat’s painting “Sunday on the Island of Grande Jatte” and the musical play it inspired. James Lapine wrote the book for “Sunday in the Park with George” and Stephen Sondheim created the most glorious, heart wrenching, moving score to reflect the concept of how a painting can tell a story. How each visage, each person painted were really humans with beating hearts and broken lives painted in dabs of light. The way the painting comes to life with humanity and the love story woven in – showed me how art can be a powerful reflection of our lives. In fact, the entire show has specific lyrics that support this entire theme.

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‘Sunday in the Park with George’

 

Add the wonderful musical ‘Fun Home’ – which shows painful, universal themes in a beautiful, touching way – and we have continued proof that the arts tell the story of our lives.

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Cast of ‘Fun Home’. Photo by Christaan Felber. The New Yorker.

Don’t let anybody, or any negative voice in your head tell you otherwise. We need more art. We need creation.

As good ol’ Steve wrote in “Sunday…”

“Look at what you want,
Not at where you are,
Not at what you’ll be-
Look at all the things you’ve done for me
Opened up my eyes,
Taught me how to see,
Notice every tree…”

Just keep moving on. 🙂


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Writing: Finding Blessings in the Details

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Maybe I’m embracing the world of “woo-woo” lately, but I’m learning to understand mindset and how our imaginations can bring forth certain realities in our lives.

When you write or create with the vision of adding something new into he world with thought, imagination, craft and heart – you stir the energy that brings about a magnification of things you never noticed before.

When you touch base with what you’re meant to be doing – you see some beauty unfold around you.

Suddenly, you feel the need to help others in pain. You reach out despite your own worries and fears and aid someone who is drowning in problems.

Your mindset shifts, and new ideas to get yourself out your own rut start to flourish, and the darkness seems to break away, leaving you open to new prospects – your own prospects – not the job prospects that teased and fooled you on LinkedIn.

A few years ago, I was angry and brutally disappointed by a relationship I had hoped would work out. Yet, it was ruined by a prettier, skinnier and younger woman who came into his life. The anger bubbled and burst within. I wished them the most nastiest, deepest, ugliest and worst of luck. I wanted to cast spells and issue voodoo-like chants to kill their love.

Then, I moved to a new address and the backlash of that anger was returned to me by a very dark, unhappy and vindictive next door neighbor whose actions I won’t go into because they don’t matter anymore.

As I lived next door to her, I didn’t allow her negativity to bother me. In fact, it infused a need to create something good in this world. I started writing intensely and ended up publishing a book of short stories.

In time, I started to build a business model (and still doing so) for The Good Write.

As she lived and stewed in her apartment, complaining and trying to cover her dark tracks with fake kindness to make up for her bad behavior, I tried to create a new mindset of positive contribution, creative expression and goodness.

I’m not perfect, but the intention was clear and steadfast. No more anger. Look what I attracted with it. Someone nearby whose anger lashed out at me and any innocent bystander.

As George Harrison once sang, “A thought could blow those clouds away”. I focused on something new and better, the “cloud” next door moved away.

Not too long after she left, a handsome guy named Pete moved in. Fresh from Wyoming, he longed to surf and be near the beach. It took him four months of ten mile traffic jams to Santa Monica from Hollywood to realize this wasn’t the place for him, so he moved to Malibu. Perhaps he cleared the energy for the next phase.

A lovely, sweet young couple moved in next door. Students at USC, they compose music. They rehearse, sing, talk and laugh. They don’t even mind it when my dog whines a little when I’m out.

Perhaps my positive mindset has attracted this lovely couple. Or, maybe I just got lucky this time. (However, there are new neighbors moving in downstairs from me. Fingers are crossed the positive vibes will carry.)

Writing got me out of the darkness. It gave me a higher purpose with goals to shoot for. It allowed and still allows me to flush out the bad and restore the good. Writing and the machination behind it, allows me to attract the lovely people and notice their goodness.

Today, as I pulled out of the driveway to head to work, I saw my lovely neighbors  walking together, hand in hand. They are the very embodiment of bright light and love.

What a brilliant change they’ve brought to that apartment next door. What a shift in mindset and intention.  It’s like someone opened the window to a fresh new day after wallowing in the dark too long.

 

 

 

 


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Suncups

Suncups

A climber descends the sun-cupped Coleman glacier after a climb of Mount Baker. AAI Collection (American Alpine Institute)

Suncups.

Lovely dollops of the effects the sun’s radiation on melting snow. Wikipedia describes them as “normally wider than they are deep”.

Endless suncups against an impossible blue sky. Impossible.

There’s lots of nothingness out there.

Wouldn’t it be nice to drink out of a suncup, in the middle of nowhere with no one watching. Cups of drink. Cups of rainwater and melting snow.

Is there one person out there? Anyone?


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Stopped Writing? Here are 5 Steps to Break the Block

sad sleepy girl

Writing can be pretty lonely. It’s also a proactive act, filled with discipline and self motivation that forces you to provoke emotion with stories and concepts that haven’t existed before. To have to grapple with ideas and how to express them, to distill concepts in thought provoking ways so readers find your material remarkable, hell – it’s a heady task.

Sometimes we hit a day or a week or a month (!) where we don’t want to go inside our heads and pull out ideas and find the words to describe them. We grind to a halt. We self sabotage ourselves. We want to taste that sweet sweet awesomeness we feel when we are in the zone.

Here are a few tips to get you going when you don’t feel like writing.

1) Give yourself a good talking to.

Seriously. Go into a room by yourself and start talking to yourself. Let your words ring beyond the walls of your head. Talk to yourself as if someone is in the room. If you believe in spirit guides or a guardian angel is by your side, then talk to them like you’re Claire from “Six Feet Under” confiding in her dead father or brother.

I know it sounds creepy. I know it might sound nuts, but it’s only nuts if you’re walking down the street talking to no one and people start crossing the street to avoid you.

Talk to yourself in a quite, empty room. Get out your frustrations with why you are not writing. Think about what may be blocking you. Are your scared? Are you tired? Are you stuck on a chapter and your fear you’ll never get through it. Work on this as if it’s a natural mind flush – not something weird. You’re getting words out of your head and into your ears.

You may even want to record your voice to capture a useful writing idea floating through.

2) Get Comfortable Being Alone.

I’m a member of a closed Facebook page with other entrepreneurs. There was a lovely member who posted a message on being nervous about deciding to travel alone to Washingon D.C. and needed emotional support to go through with this. We all cheered her on because most of us have mastered solitary travel. We encouraged her to not think about being alone on this trip and to fill her days doing fun things SHE wants to do. Museums, restaurants, memorials, activities. And she did! She came back feeling refreshed and empowered by the experience.

Go to the park alone. Go to a movie alone. Hell – go to dinner at a nice restaurant alone. You’re not a loser doing this. Bring a book. Read your Kindle, but eventually put them down and view people around you. Watch how patrons interact at the other tables. Talk to the waiter or waitress and ask them about their job, or the patrons they deal with everyday. Taste the food. Drink the wine. Make fun of yourself and lighten up about being at the table alone. Go to a museum alone. Go to the theater alone. Watch other people taking their seats. Observe the ushers and wonder what their lives are about.

Be comfortable with yourself so you can experience life magnified. Scoop up ideas and gain the mental clarity get back to get back to writing.

3) Get Out And Have Fun with Your Family and Friends!

The first two items are pretty solitary so, let’s get this straight: Don’t be a recluse! Yes, get comfy with your ‘aloneness’ from time to time, but get out and socialize. Get down and dirty with experiences with people. Be one with your friends family. Start up a wine tasting get-together in your home, or a book reading club, a foodie club, a motorbike appreciation society, tattooed ladies who crochet – anything to interact with others who share a hobby that may contribute new ideas.

Or just go to a movie with friends. You don’t have to be a social community organizer pulling together cute hobby clubs to interact. Just do it. I know you know how to be with people – now get ‘er done.

4) Get Off Social Media for a Day

Challenge yourself. Make your day filled with museums, art, movies, binge watching fantastically written television shows, podcasts, Ted Talks or cook recipes you’ve been meaning to try. Get really involved at work on a project or activity with co-workers. Live life outside the Twitter feed or Facebook status update. Imagine all the cool stuff that’s going to accumulate on Tumblr or Instagram at 11pm that night for your to read because you were out all day interacting with people, or reading or writing or working on a project at work that will help develop a skill. See how long you can get off your iPhone and internet and keep going one hour more…then another. Hell, just get caught up in interacting with life.

Some of us remember when the internet didn’t exist, and remember how our brains reacted to everyday analog things. I know my imagination has taken a hit since the internet happened. I used to go the library, take out books and spend an entire weekend afternoon reading. Now, I can’t do it without my mind wandering and wanting to check my email. Technology has re-wired our brains away from the creative process. Our imaginations are being filled with digital creations. We aren’t creating for ourselves.

So, let’s try it for a day. No social media. Let your own brain imagine things for you – not a Periscope feed.

5) Remember…This Will Pass

Sometimes there’s a reason why our brains stop producing ideas and our hands cease to write a single word. We’re over worked or burned out. If your self discipline goes south, and you can’t find the mind space to write – don’t beat yourself up.

But know this: You have to make a pact with writing. You have to promise that writing table that you will return and continue. You don’t get off easy here. I know I don’t. Writing is a constant battle with a little snarky asshole called “Resistance”. Read Steven Pressfield’s “War on Art” and you will get the bare bones breakdown of this nasty little piece of business.

Resistance will make excuses. Resistance will feel like you’re tired. Resistance will tell you you’re lazy. Resistance will say you’re not a writer.

Oh yes you are.

If you miss a day or two of writing, you will likely feel sluggish or crappy. You know why? Because you’re a writer who is meant to be writing.

Rest if you must. Take what I’ve offered as a way to replenish and carve out new neuropaths in your brain. Fill up your shoe with ideas.

Then, get back to the page and keep moving on.

 If you’ve enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it with your fellow writers.

 

 

 


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Writing Lessons: You Don’t Already Know

delfi de la rua

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.