Order of the Good Write

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


2 Comments

Writers Be Writing: Join ‘Order of the Good Write’ Community

pixelponcomonsanto

“Against Monsanto” -Mural by Pixel Poncho

Hello Writers of WordPress!

The mural in this post by Pixel Poncho inspired me today. His murals turn up around the world and fill in the side walls of buildings, beautifying and colorizing a story for all to observe and interpret. (This one was painted for “Shine on St. Pete”).

It also motivated me to get back to helping and connecting writers. So…

Let’s get down to the gritty of the nitty….

As mentioned a few weeks ago on this blog, I’m  in the midst of building a writing community and would like your help.

I’m bringing ‘The Order of the Good Write’ to another level, and am looking for 15 – 20 writers who would like to help me test out a new writers platform I’m building.

For those first 20 people – I’m offering it for FREE. All I ask in payment is your feedback and continuing participation.

You will be the ‘Mercury Seven’. You will be the highly decorated and sought after test pilots. Your mission will be to create and participate in discussion, share books you’ve read, test out writing challenges and create story lines through exquisite corpse play that will make things interesting. Kick the tires on the Wet.Ink space I’m using and be the first crew members to go forth where no human has gone before. (Well, with the exception of teachers and writers who’ve formed their own groups…this is really an awesome site to carve out private online communities.)

And – I won’t make you sit in a gravity chamber, wait through a battery of tests where you have to hold your bladder or have you break the sound barrier. You will fly and, hopefully, have fun.

mercury7

This can be you! If astronauts were writers!

All I ask is that you share your stories, work on gaining confidence and motivation in your writing while using the online tools so I can build the best platform around.

It’s absolutely confidential, and no writing will be copied or shared outside the space.

Please email if you’re interested at drotmil@gmail.com and I will invite you in!

Good writing to you all!

Debi

Save

Save

Save

Advertisements


Leave a comment

Monday Writing Motivation: Spring Sprung

purpletulips

Happy day two of Spring!

To those tulips and flowers thinking they had the all-clear in New York and woke up to a layer of snow this morning – I’ve heard the snow has melted and things are looking up!

Such is the advent of Spring. Although the calendar proclaims it the first day of this new season, for most areas of this country, winter will not pry its grubby, cold hands from the necks of winter weary humans and optimistic little flower buds.

In Los Angeles, it’s spring and summer all year round so the transition has less contrast.  The climate is temperate and things are pretty green around here most of the time. Yet, Spring comes along in February when the blooming Jasmine hatch open and the Pittosporum grows its incredibly fragrant white blooms that make you want to climb its branches and bury your face in a bushel flowery sunshine. (That is – if there weren’t bees everywhere, which is a blessing).  That’s the only way you know there’s a season change – when things start smelling like a perfume laboratory.

And then the Jacaranda trees start showing their purpleness a little later in April and May, adding their fragrance to the splendor and raining down purple petals on the street and cars. It’s ‘Purple Rain’ the way Prince meant it to be.

But enough of all this garden variety metaphorical waxing.  Spring does something more to our brain than we realize. Our goals and our intention to complete them flourish. The synapses in our brains fire off endorphins and fun chemicals that make us break out in spring fever.

And then some of us are still trying to catch up on that hour of sleep we lost last weekend.

Whatever the case of spring may bring on your doorstep or out your window, there’s plenty of fodder for writing.  So…

What does Spring mean to you?  What memories do you have of Spring? What hope do you have for this season? What do you smell, taste, feel and see this year that’s different from other seasons?  Are you exhausted? Happy? Wistful? Sad? Hopeful?

Write it down today. Tell Monday to take a hike. Break through the first day of the week resistance blues. 

 


2 Comments

The Case of “Who” Versus “Whom”

elements

Strunk and White’s page turner of a read known as “The Elements of Style” continues. I’ve hit an iceberg here. The “Whom” and “Who’ conundrum.

We all tend to grapple with the use of who-whom, but I think we’ve got a good sample to remember by:

Who – refers to he.

Whom – refers to him.

Furthermore, Sandy likely does write better than I, rather than better than me.

Who knew? I’ve been using me more times than I would like to admit.

Carry on.

 


Leave a comment

Still Learning…

strunkandwhite

I wasn’t kidding. It’s always good to re-read and refresh your knowledge to deepen and enrich your craft.

Yesterday’s blog post inspired me (yes! I can inspire myself!) to pick up Strunk & White’s ‘Elements of Style’. I’m not just using it as a guide – I’m reading it like it’s a pool side page turner. Well, kind of. I do have a day job where I need to be focused, but have been grabbing and reading the book in between tasks.

I recommend finding this beautiful illustrated version of this classic resource guide. Illustrations are by Maira Kalman, and they make this grammar bible a little artistic journey ever more enjoyable to read and marvel in between discussions of parenthetic  expressions and dangling participles.

And yes, there is a Basset Hound on the cover, and if you know me…I loves me a hound. There’s one sleeping on my sofa back home while I’m in the office.

baxtersnooze

Baxter the hound, sleeping on his butterfly pillow

As a writer, I’m a little dopey about grammar. I can practice it, but I cannot explain it. I can write it, but am dolefully indifferent to passive voice, pronouns, quotations and coma usage. I manage, but I can always be better.

So off I go, getting my ‘Strunk and White’ on…


3 Comments

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.

 

 


2 Comments

Writing Beyond Convention

writing

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Was it as soon as you learned how to read and write? Or perhaps it was during elementary school when you put together your first story or book review for class?

Perhaps you were a book worm and adored every texture and nuance of storytelling. You devoured pages of fantasy and story line. You believed you could do this too. You wanted to tell stories about people real or make believe. You wanted to dazzle strangers with beautiful books the same way beautiful books dazzled you.

For me, the love of writing took time. When I was a teenager I adored drawing cartoon characters of my teachers and wrote funny, dorky dialogue in squiggled bubbles above their inked heads. I’d pass them along to a friend who would add to the cartoon or the dialogue – and before you knew it, we created little vignettes of school satire that produced suppressed giggles.

Being a writer wasn’t on my mind. I think Jimmy Oxley the cute senior who was the captain of the football team fascinated me more. Then Robbie, then David, the Glenn, then Marc….

Perhaps I was a bit boy crazy, and not the brightest bulb on the marquis as a kid, but I wrote well. However, my understanding of grammar and defining adverbs and adjectives, split participles and run on sentences was lacking. Grammar and its strict rules bored me.  Everything did.

As a child, I used to daydream while gazing out the window.

I’d take California comprehension exams – you know, the one you had to take with a number two pencil, multiple choice,  fill in the dots and you’re done?

I used to glean over the questions and fill in any dot. Or I’d create a pattern with the dots. Perhaps a square or a circle. Sometimes I’d legitimately answer the questions and fill in the dots and then connect them with drawn lines. But most of the time, I’d just fill in random dots just so I could go home.

I had to take summer school between first and second grade because my first grade teacher terrified me and I didn’t understand what she was trying to scream into me. And also – because I filled in random dots on my comprehension exams.

Thanks to my love of dots and going home early on exam day, throughout elementary school I’d be taken out of class to see the school psychologist to talk about my life.

I’d have to take tests to see if I  knew how to put round pegs in round holes and square pegs in square holes. I’d have to circle photos of things that were the same, determining the difference between two images.

Sometimes they’d take me into the nurses office to conduct hearing tests, to see if my lack of understanding was due to bad hearing.

This was the 60’s and 70’s. They didn’t know about ADD. They only knew that I wasn’t learning the same way the other kids were.

I was able to bring my test scores up, and found myself to be an average student, kept from the more rigorous classes like AP Chemistry or Mr Clancy’s tough English class where students were required to read big, ominous thick books – Dickens, Steinbeck, James Joyce…within days of each other.

Despite all that, I somehow got into AP/College English when I was a senior in high school. I applied for the program because I knew I was so much better than my school thought I was.

Yes, I got in and thrived. But when I entered college, I had to take Basic English because I couldn’t define the fundamentals of sentence structure and grammar.  I could use them appropriately, but I couldn’t technically define them on a test.

I used grammar the best I could. I’d create a well drawn thesis, funny, well crafted and perfectly backed up with thought provoking samples. I had teachers applaud my good work. One even took me aside and thought I was a professional writer.

But I couldn’t tell you what a split infinitive is.

It took me a long time to learn that just because you don’t get the answers right, it doesn’t mean you’re wrong.

I mean…look at this creative answer.

creative test answers

The student may never know what an ovary or adrenal gland is, but he/she created the “Kung Fu gland”, which feels right in so many ways.

It took a written communication class in my freshman year at college for everything to click. Professor Elsa Nunez busted my butt into teaching me good writing – both creative and analytically. After stumbling with errors and falling on my wordy little butt, it suddenly all clicked.

Writing was my thing. And as I endeavored into the drudgery of the nine to five world,  I pushed it aside like a hobby.

Big mistake.

Yes, I have my bad writing days. No, not everything written and posted is amazing. But the drive to create something, to bring it out in the world – to “finishing the hat”, was the true nugget of desire that stirred in that class and many classes thereafter.

Some writers always knew they wanted to write. Others discovered it through a teacher, a good paper or winning essay. But with so many brains and perspectives, there is no one definite way to be a writer.

And if you stumble over imperfections and poor grammar, pick up Strunk & White’s “Elements of Style”. Don’t stifle your imagination due to the rules of English.  Hire a great editor and learn from her.

Remember why you wanted to write, even when you are stuck. Even when you feel your writing seems to suck.

No one can write your story but you.