How writing changed my life
Writing Was My Deliverance
I didn’t enjoy writing throughout my school years. I didn’t have the patience to enjoy the solitude of thinking through my ideas and then committing them to print. Writing became a necessary evil as my speaking and teaching career developed, and was soon integral to my success. In any public ministry or business, clearly communicating one’s ideas in an intelligent manner is vital.
Writing became my outlet, and eventually my passion, only through the experience of cancer. On August 11, 2005, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Immediately, my world was reduced to chemotherapy treatments, sickness, and plenty of enforced rest. My life in public speaking ended. Most days I was unable to muster the strength to leave the bedroom. Chemotherapy did not eliminate my cancer as I had hoped, and my future looked grim. I began a blog to record my journey and keep loved ones informed of my progress.
Sharing my musings and experiences became a welcome and necessary outlet. Because I was essentially confined to bed, writing became my connection with the world outside my window. I slowly moved beyond mere cancer updates to thoughts on life and family. A friend encouraged me to write some inspirational material for his business, and I leaped at the opportunity to share with others once again. At the time of his invitation, my future was totally uncertain, and I thought I may never stand and speak to a crowd again. Writing could become my ministry; my mission; my life.
My submissions to him were viewed favorably and led to the first professional writing contract of my career. It was a lifeline for me; five study lessons and corresponding teaching plans for commercial publication. All communication was by email and telephone, but the editor to whom I was assigned was wonderful, encouraging, and became a life-long friend and writing mentor. I have since completed many projects with him through the same publishing company.
When chemotherapy was completed, I began daily cycles of direct radiation treatment. Fortunately, what was intended to be the final attempts to eliminate my cancer became is coup de grace. I completed treatments and was declared to be cancer free in May 2006, and was released from oncology care in 2009. By then, writing was my passion. In addition to resuming a busy speaking and leadership career, I completed one or two major writing projects each year that were commercially published. I will never speak to large audiences in person, but the material I compose for publication is used to impact millions.
Writing was my deliverance. It provided an avenue of expression that allowed me to be and feel productive, even from a potential deathbed. I have since enjoyed working with others as they express their ideas, tell their stories, and invest in the lives of people. Writing continues to deliver me every day. It delivers me from the mundane to the adventurous; from the closed to the wide open; and from small crowds to a potential world audience.
What have I learned about writing? Here are a few pointers:
- Get started. Don’t put it off until you get “the one big idea”. Begin recording your thoughts and ideas now. You may not be ready to publish them but record them somewhere.
- Write regularly. If I wait until “the muse” hits me, I will never meet a deadline. Sit down, focus, and get your pencil moving or the keyboard clicking.
- Share with others. Share your work. At first, it may only be with friends or family, but share what you are thinking and writing. Continue to share with others. Get ideas and encouragement from them.
- Get Better. Never stop learning. Read more, write more, read about writing, then go back and rework your earlier efforts. Always strive to get better at grammar, be more creative, and become better informed.
- Don’t Quit. Keep. On. Writing. Don’t give up, even for an audience of one. If writing is your passion, invest in it and enjoy the benefits that surely will come.
For more musings about my random thoughts, writing and editorial projects, or if you're just nosey, visit my blog at http://michaeldstover70.wix.com/michaeldstover