Order of the Good Write

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

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5 Ways I’ve Distracted Myself from NaNoWriMo Writing Today:


To any NaNoWriMo writers who come across this blog post – don’t try these at home. Write, write away. Don’t let social media and digital distractions slow you down. I’m already stuck in the rabbit hole and can’t get out. Run! Write! Save yourselves!

Here are the five things I’ve done this morning that have distracted me from writing 1600+ words for NaNoWriMo (note that as of this writing, I’m at 26,303 words, and some of that are lyrics to songs and research material I’ve posted as references I plan on removing during editing.)

1) A YouTube video of dogs playing in a pool at The Lucky Puppy doggy day care in Maybee, Michigan. It’s deemed the “Happiest Place on Earth” and I really needed to see that now since all my dreams of writing something amazing to get me out of my nine to six office day job rut has screeched to a stand still.

2) Twitter, where I’ve been in discussion with another writer about those scammy, cheap online dress shops that show up in AdSense side bars in Facebook that are from overseas and are a rip off.

3) Instagram, where a friend of mine has run into two identical Maltese dogs who wear little tiny bowling shoes on their feet. These dogs happen to belong to my neighbor, and for some reason – seeing dogs look like little dapper bowlers pisses me off.

4) Facebook, where I keep checking up to see if something really interesting has happened in the last five minutes since I last checked it. (Nope. Nothing interesting and I’m still in an argument with a family member which I thought ended last night).

5) Reading some fascinating material sent by the family of the subject whose bio I am writing for NaNoWriMo.  Heart wrenching. Beautiful. The ideas are coming along.

But the kicker is…National Novel Writing Month really makes me want to write so many words in a day that the daily word count makes me sit still and not know where to begin.

I’m wondering if writing a novel in one month is a challenge that squashed my desire to write. Thinking I must write to catch up on lost days feels so daunting.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the challenge, but it’s difficult to the point where I’m a little lost in the process.

Is anyone else feeling intimated by the daily word count? Does it stop you from writing?



NaNoWriMo Half Way Point

nanowritmowrite on

I’m participating in NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. I was doing well. I really was. The first two days of the month were write-less due to travel, but as the days carried on, I was able to start a novel and catch up – writing an average of 1660 words a day, on my way to the 50,000 words that maketh a novel.

Yet, here’s the deal: I’m stuck. I’m writing the same thing over again just to have a word count. I’m jotting ideas down, but there aren’t enough ideas to build upon. I’ve missed two days of writing, and I’m once again behind track.

It’s not that I’m not writing – it’s that I’m writing so much that it’s becoming a mishmash of the same idea written in different ways.

This is in spite of an already prepared outline.

However, I’m trying not to judge the actual writing. I am pouring out more thoughts and ideas,  putting up the big blob of clay – the mishmash of paragraphs and visuals that come pouring from my imagination. It doesn’t have to make sense right now.  Re-writes and editing is what chisels down the story into the form we  view with the human eye and transforms words into visuals of story. I’m just frustrated with the days that are unproductive.

Undertaking this challenge reminds me a bit of my old Track and Cross Country days in high school. I was determined to tackle the sport of running. Something about it terrified me – standing at the starting blocks, hearing the gun, running my slow ass off – that made me want to do it.  I also loved how running made me feel. The freedom. The effects of good fitness.  The fact I did not have a runners body or form did not deter me.

I came in last on all the events I participated in. Yet, in the end,  I finished them. All of them. There was one time in a Cross Country race when my body grew weak from over training and lack of food. (I was a silly teenager who thought a bottle of water was lunch).  I walked it in –  in tears.  I wasn’t just physically tired, I was emotionally tired of being so determined and dedicated to a sport where I busted my body everyday yet came in last every race while my team mates, who had finished earlier and already had their pants on, cheered for me. Call it pity, but it was really annoying to keep losing when I worked so hard (but not intelligently).

Despite the challenge of writing a book in a month – just finishing is the goal. If it’s not on November 30th, but rather on December 10th – then so be it. At least it’s done. At least the  mound of clay is there to be formed into a story.

So what if you’re team mates have walked through the finish line, pulled on their track pants and gone home. This is your personal challenge.

We’re all individuals just trying to add something good in this world.





Whither MFA? Redux

hannahgriThe writer’s conundrum rises again!  Should writers go for an MFA in Creative Writing?

I wrote about my own quandry a few months ago entitled, “Whither MFA?” –>https://orderofthegoodwrite.com/2015/03/12/whither-mfa/   I’d love to think the NYTimes (my former employer) read my blog, because their website has just published  an article about the subject  (Hey – a lady can dream.)

I’ve decided to say – “never say never” to an MFA. I’m always open. Yet, there have been many people in the writing world who’ve come to me and said they don’t know anyone with an MFA.  Needless to say, many men and women of words weigh the pros and cons of taking two years off from a paying job and sinking almost $50,000 to further improve and enrich their writing talent.

In the end – you have a nice piece of paper to frame on your wall and credentials to add luster to your qualifications as freelance writer or coach.

Then, there are others (like me – for now) who feel their fresh, yet sometimes wobbly ability to express their experiences and subversive concepts of life are enough.

I’m on the fence.  I’m open to both possibilities.  But right now I’d rather use my personal experience to express my stories. Let me lead by example to help other everyday people who love to write – write.

I’ve been through the wringer of after work Non-Fiction and creative writing classes. Late evening workshops were spent with aspiring essayists who wanted to be David Sedaris, ultimately reading their work on NPR.  Other writers just want to write a book about their family – to galvanize proof of their existence on this earth so their vital memories and experiences live on.

Read more literature, join book clubs, attend writing forums, participate in Goodreads boards where you analyze the basics of Jane Austin?  Yes!  That replenishes the font with good thought and practice.

I applaud the MFA in Creative Writing. I think it adds depth to the writing experience, allows you to think about the social aspects of your work and provides an intense connection with other writers and mentors who can boost your network and fortify your expression.

Yet, I believe you can do this yourself. Look around on Google and take a proactive approach. Volunteer at social groups. Be persistent with editors on your new ideas. Travel and explore different cultures. Join groups in person and online where you are provided with opportunities to lean forward and step into your own MFA of Writing.

The education of life can be the best diploma of all. And you can still go to your full time job and save about $50K.

Here’s that NYTimes article:



Whither MFA?

mastersdegreeSo my mind is crackling with ideas and plans for the future. As someone who loves the craft of writing and hopes to parlay it into a career as a writing coach (with some cool ideas up my sleeve), I’m considering entering a low residency program with the goal of earning an MFA in Creative Writing. (My research revealed a low residency is one where I can actually acquire a degree while keeping my job. Other MFA programs don’t do that.)

On one hand, there are many writers and coaches who’ve never gained an MFA in writing.  As a successful applicant, embarking on a campus with my new sneakers and fresh binder – my concern is that I’ll be thrown into a bevvy of workshops where everyone criticizes everyone’s work until you just want to throw your fresh binder out the window. Workshops are useful. Hell, I love them and hope to create a website with webinars and virtual writing workshops. Yet, if you’re not in group of supportive writers, their critiques can be unnecessarily scorching, damaging a writer’s ability, planting a constant voice of self doubt in one’s head. We’re a sensitive bunch, although we shouldn’t be. You’re always putting yourself out their in the written word, and not everyone is going to agree with your voice or style. You can’t take it personal. Yet, we  don’t need negative throwing stars hurled at our confidence.  Of course, we don’t accept coddling either.

There is also the competition of getting into these programs. I’m not interested in Iowa’s Writing Program. I know it’s prestigious, but it’s doubtful if I’ll ever get in, and if the thunder of god came crashing through my roof and I was accepted, I really don’t want to live in Iowa.  Yeah – I’m really into location. It rules my equilibrium. (I even felt sad for Hannah on “Girls” that she had to leave Brooklyn for the leafy world of IA. When she (**Spoiler Alert**) dropped out and returned home, seeing her riding in the back set of a NYC cab felt like a homecoming with butterflies in the belly).

So, I’m starting the inquiry. Should I try NYU?  The New School? UCLA? USC?  Local colleges that would be gentler and kinder to this old writer who is a late bloomer in the world of creative purpose?  We’ll see. So far, the schools I’ve mentioned have full time programs – something I cannot afford to do. I need my job right now. And having noticed this – I remembered why I didn’t go for a Masters earlier in my life. No job. Just school. Some have the funds to do it. I do not.

Is there anyone out there who has an MFA in writing?  If not – did you ever want to earn one?  It’s a writer’s big question for anyone who has obtained a Bachelor’s Degree.  Is higher learning after undergraduate work really worth the bother? Will people take you seriously in your field as a leader and doer if you don’t have this under your belt?

Whither MFA?


Super Bowl Soul Searching Pep Talk from a Coach…Writing Coach

Screenshot 2015-02-01 13.43.05It’s Super Bowl SUNDAY…Sunday…sunday….!!  (echo echo echo….)  And I’m giving a writer’s pep talk in the space of my own football locker room of the mind. Huddle around team.  This is my speech. I hope it inspires you to find your own inner talk of empowerment no matter what it pertains to. Here goes:

Don’t ever stop writing because you’re getting rejected by publishers. Remember – so many incredible books have been passed over – Anne Frank, JK Rollings, Golding, Orwell, Faulkner, the list goes on and one. They were all rejected, nonetheless, in time, they found someone who was willing to take a risk and publish them. Even the best of the best have been unceremoniously turned down.  Check out this interesting list of rejected classics. 

So, go all Nike on them and “Just Do It!”

But if you feel you don’t need the Big Man of publishing to get your book out there, consider self publishing! The process can be  empowering! I know. My book “Hitting Water” is out and I have this new sense of power, and I want to share my experience with people through coaching. (More on that to come in the coming months).  I’m still learning by fumbling and making mistakes. It’s practice to get out of the comfort zone and speak up about your work. Be real. Know about budgeting and marketing your work. Think big – expect small as you write and work on the outcome every day.  See what happens. But be prepared for the biz side. If you think your book will sell about $1000 worth of books, formulate your budget within those means. Don’t be dazzled by others who want to help you for thousands of dollars unless you’re already established and know you can recoup the financial output. Don’t spend more than you realistically think you can make back. There are affordable editors out there, who will edit and proof your book at a minimal cost. There are book designers, interior formatters and proofreaders who will clean up your work or give you opinions on how the book reads to a personal outside your head.

Team, I want to make this short since it’s almost game time. So, I’ll leave now with many more pep talks and suggestions to come. Keep the faith. Let the work flow and allow people to see it. “The Big Wherever” has a rich source naturally using you to bring a little heaven down to earth. Don’t block the flow. If you want (not “wish”…want) to create and put a defensive line of attack against the beauty –  you will be sad. And that’s a penalty. Flag on the play. Timeout. Re-think this. Open up and the clock will start, the game will resume.

I’m a baseball person myself, counting down the days to Pitchers and Catchers (18 days till NY Mets training camp in Port St. Lucie, FL!!! Let’s Go Mets!).  But I’ll say this….Seahawks 46 — Pats 21. My Boston Red Sox buddies will hate me for this.

Go forth and write! Celebrate your writing and how you can present it to world like it’s a half time celebration – Katy Perry and all!

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Inspiration in the Bleak Mid-Winter

martha graham dance“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it.

It’s not your business to determine how good it is, not how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.

You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.”~~Martha Graham