Order of the Good Write

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


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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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AWP 2016 Los Angeles

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Table of Writer’s post cards: AWP 2016 Conference, Los Angeles

Weekend at the Los Angeles Convention Center attending the AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs)! I’m intermingling and learning so much from this incredible group of creatives that my mind is reeling. Beautiful fatigue.

From publishers to colleges, professors, writing programs and retreats, to panels upon panels of writers from Jonathan Franzen, Dani Shapiro, Honor Moore, and Aspen Matis – it’s an experience I hope to repeat in the coming years.

It’s incredible what stories abound within humanity. There are times when I think I have an incredible story to tell about my family, my experiences and my conflicts in life, but the depths and trenches people face in life – the horror and the prosecution, stuck in a well where their voice rings out, but no one is listening – or no one believes them, well, it makes me wonder if my own simple life is worth repeating on paper. (It is. All our simple lives are worth the telling.)

There are stories out there, wretched in their creation, stinging in their aftermath, beautiful in realization and in the telling. I can’t believe how much abundance is out there in the world – how the written voice needs to be printed, how our stories must be told.

Amazing world out there.

If you’re a writer and want to be part of a terrific community of writing, and to participate in next year’s AWP conference (not sure where it will be), I urge you to sign up for membership. It doesn’t cost too much, and it’s worth every penny to be part of this collaborative and wonderful group. The conference itself is rich with fascinating writers who share various ideas and experience about various facets of writing.

Meanwhile, I’m letting everything all sink in. Filled up my shoe, as I like to say (and quote Dylan), to bring it to you. To share with writers, and to blog.

Happy Saturday!


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Stopped Writing? Here are 5 Steps to Break the Block

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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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Time To Toot the Horn: ‘The Good Write’

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It takes a lot to be a writer. Self motivation, inspiration, dedication. Writing despite resistance and the negative little demons that hold you back can be a major hurdle to overcome.

While writing my book “Hitting Water”,  blogging here on “Order of the Good Write” and while working on my own written projects,  I’ve been slowly building a writing coach business to help other writers get out of their writing rut.

Embedded in the model of this biz is a charitable initiative: A percentage of my fee will be donated to education organizations like ‘Pencils of Promise’ and ‘Let Girls Learn’.

It’s my hope to help less fortunate children gain the means to write their own stories.

So, you can say – I’m building a business with a purpose.

No matter where we live, or who we are – we are brought into this world to produce something beautiful.  Nothing should hold you back – not oppression, lack of education, lack of confidence or self doubt.

It’s kind of like beaming a little piece of heaven down to earth.  Whether you are spiritual or humanistic, there’s no denying it. We are meant to bring forth something wonderful to add to this world.

There are writers out there with amazing stories destined to be shared, but everyday noise drowns out that creative voice that longs to speak.

Today, I’m launching my website TheGoodWrite.com

Although it currently lacks the bells and whistles of MailChimp, Opt-Ins, Pop Ups, PayPal and all the goodies that will eventually be tied into the site, I’m putting it out there now – in all it’s simplest form.

Because writing, like building a site from scratch, is something you work on a lot or a little everyday. Some days you devote less time than others, but you keep at it.  Little by little – you’ll see something flourish into something amazing.

Right now, TheGoodWrite.com is just a simple site containing my work, some motivational tools and booklets I’ve written, and info on how to get in touch with me for one on one coaching.

But in time, I hope to see it flourish into a subscriber based platform, where others can share their stories and in turn, help children living in oppressed conditions gain the education to enable them to share their own.

So – my wonderful WordPress bloggers and followers (and followees) – here it is — TheGoodWrite.com.

Please check it out!  Let me know what you think.

 

 


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Writing Inspiration From Bowie & Rickman

As someone said online the other day, the planet Earth is 4.5 billion years old. Aren’t we lucky to have lived in the age of Bowie?

The same can be said for Alan Rickman, a supreme talent who, like Bowie, also left this world, from cancer at the age of 69.  Strange how two beloved creatives, both British, both 69 years old, died in the same week.  And it seemed, within the similar stance of their booming voices, both toiled and created within darkness and light.

Two sucker punches in the second week of 2016. May we, as writers who daily fight and struggle to overcome the negative to tell our story, keep their creative work and words in mind. They left this world a little better for us all.

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“It is a human need to be told stories. And the more we are governed by idiots and have no control over our destinies, the more we need to tell stories to each other about who we are, why we are and where we come from,and what might be possible.” ~Alan Rickman

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“Once I’ve written something it does tend to run away from me.  I don’t seem to have any part of it – it’s no longer my piece of writing.” ~David Bowie

“Don’t you love the Oxford Dictionary? When I first read it, I thought it was a really really long poem about everything.” ~David Bowie

 

 


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Mellow Fruitfulness: An Autumn Pause

NaNoWriMo on the brain. Still can’t write. Searching for clues. I’m the one who tells people to just write, not judge it. Just pour it out and the ball of clay can be whittled down to a story.

But I’m not feeling it. I don’t want that ball of clay to be a mishmash of dried dirt and useless material I can’t carve into the story I want to tell.

The fact it’s a biography about the search for my piano teacher makes it even more difficult.

Fiction is freer, more powerful for the writer. You create a story that never existed. You are in control of where your imagination takes you. There’s hardly any limits.

In biography, you’re dealing with reality, with history and with a human being who left behind a loving family whose memories are very clear. You don’t want to disturb the balance or create a fictional situation unless it’s part of the creative license you acquire that allows you to deepen meaning and human themes.  With fictional flourishes, in the end, you have to show readers that this is just a passage of fancy, and how it connects to the real story.

So, as I sit here and thing of how to start my writing up again (after three days of being writing-less), I try to fill up the tank with art and music.

As I continue to sit and think and fill the well, I listen to the great Allen Toussaint – a true artist who passed away this week. Maybe a little ‘Tipitina and Me’ will get me going.