Order of the Good Write

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


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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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Martin Luther King, Jr. Wisdom

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“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

If you are a writer who believes your words aren’t worth reading, remember the power of Reverend King’s wisdom.  His quote above is one in hundreds of life affirming, soul strengthening edicts honed through his own adversity, love of mankind, human frailty and his ability to overcome.

It’s my belief that we are all born into this world with a specific talent to contribute in this world. We are poised to give something of ourselves in order to better the lives of others.

We all need to lead by example. We must all concur fear and adversity to be the person we are destined to be so others may do the same.

Write your words. Tell your story. Allow others to learn by you. You’ll never know how many people you will positively touch unless you write that first word.

Check out Adam Braun’s ‘Pencils of Promise’ website, and see how his desire to help children of third world countries gain the education they need by raising funds and resources to build schools where school no longer existed. In his own way,  Adam is following MLK’s spirit in making this place a better world for those less fortunate, for those wronged and for those with fertile minds ready to bring forth their abilities into this world.

Or look at Malala Yousafzai. Her own story, strength and defiance against injustice, oppression and hatred illustrates the spirit of MLK. Her words, both spoken and written are beacons toward change and inspiration for others to take her example and use it toward their own cause, their own story.

Although their circumstances are vastly different, in doing their work, both Adam and Malala are just two of many people in this world who emulate MLK’s humanitarian drive. In Malala’s case, it was through her own adversity, one that made her face a violent act that almost killed her. In Adam’s case, it was an affluent young man on a student trip, moved by the simple want of a child who only asked for a pencil.

As a writer, you can bring forth the same power in your own way, with your own experience. You can change the world with the written word.

Don’t let negative thoughts cloud your talent. Be an MLK. Create to inspire, teach and enlighten. You never know who you will reach.

Perhaps you’ll inspire a future Adam Braun or stimulate someone to open the minds of others, to speak of the human condition like Malala.

And his or her word will inspire another…and another…and another. In in doing so, we fulfill Reverend King’s essence – the man he sought to be.

And so on and so on…

A dream fulfilled.

 

 

 

 

 


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Can’t Write? Use It To Your Advantage

painting of writer

Hello writer! Happy end of the first week of 2016!

Has your holiday hang over ended yet?

Are you void of writing ideas? Even if you have time to write, just doing a stream of conscious dump text of writing for the day makes you recoil?

I hear you.

But let’s make this clear. You’re not “blocked”. There is no such thing as being “blocked”.  Believing you’re “blocked” will only perpetuate your inability to write.  So don’t say it because you’re not. You’re a creative being that is an open conduit to a creative source. You don’t “block” anything. You want the flow of words and ideas to come. (And I place quotes on the word “blocked” because “blocked” is a highly used word that is a supposed reason for not writing. Seriously. Lose that word. Screw that word.)

But sometimes we write and write and write for days, weeks and months – and like any worker who works hard – you need a break.

Yes, every regular worker takes a vacation to step away from the daily grind and replenish their energy. That includes the writer.

If you can’t find the motivation to write because you don’t want to sit still and think for an hour or two – or even ten minutes, then don’t beat yourself up over it.  Use it. This is your time to explore the world for new ideas, for new visions and new words to express your story in ways no one else can.

Take a break, but take it with the knowledge that you’re going to return to the page.

Fill the void by reading books, seeing movies, seeing friends, traveling, sleeping, and living.  Get out of your wordy, imaginative head.

And as you do these things, try to take down notes of what you’re feeling.

View the world from the perspective of a writer. Explore the senses. How does the book you’re reading make you feel? What do you see? Smell? Taste?

Do you want your reader to feel the same when they read your work? Do you want them to feel,see, smell and taste the same way?

What does that film or that online series you’re binge watching tell you about humanity? How can you infiltrate that creative energy toward the manuscript sitting all lonely on the shelf waiting for you to return?

Allow for quiet time. (If you can!)

Meditate on why you feel stumped.

Marinate on what is stopping you from even wanting to seek out writing prompts and goals. It tends to be a deep reason that goes beyond lack of time or just not feeling it. It could just mean you’re tank is empty and it’s time to fill up with super unleaded creative gas.

Is it Fear? 

Fear is our enemy. I feel it everyday and battle it with Thor-like strength. But instead of swords, I use the mental technique of ignoring fear.

In a few weeks, and hopefully it won’t take longer than that, go back to your work. Or, go back to your exercise of daily journaling and see what you’ve got. You will likely come back refreshed with new ideas and outlook.

There is truth to the writer’s adage to always be writing. But sometimes, no matter what my personal writing gurus,  Stephen Pressfield or Elizabeth Gilbert will say, taking a break from writing after a long year of dedicated work is needed.

Letting go of writing when you are empty is part of the process.

Putting it aside, and giving it a rest (like you would do with any paying job) allows you to step back and return with a better vision.

The only thing you have to do is make a commitment to this process and know you will return to face the page to write and write and write like a “motherf&*ker”, as the phenomenal Cheryl Strayed, aka ‘Sugar”, once wrote.

You didn’t think you were getting off THAT easy, did you? Yes, take a break, but you have to keep your promise to write. If you don’t, then your story – your words – your thoughts meant to go forth will never be read or heard.

Come on, don’t do that to us! We want to read you!

Take a breath.

Now write!