Markers in time are significant, at least for me. They help us to pause, reflect, and take a look back in the rearview mirror of who we are, and what we have accomplished.
Nine months ago, I reached the 18-year mark of being a Non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer survivor. I also just passed the 6-year anniversary of when my “Both Sides of the Bedside” book was published, March 17th, 2016. My heart was led to write a piece capturing the characteristics and sacrifices it took for me to write my book.
It’s funny how God plants talents into a person and over time how talents and hard work can grow a bountiful garden.
When I was going through seven months of hard-core chemotherapy, I knew that I was called to share my newfound knowledge and insight in the form of a book. But, at the time what I was really focused on was battling the beast. I would write my feelings in a journal when I felt like it but that was it. The forming of my book was happening, living life on the cancer journey, but the actual arrangement of my book didn’t happen till years later.
After I completed treatment and was healed enough to go to work again, I immersed myself into working as a pediatric oncology bone marrow transplant nurse. It was hard to be up close with cancer again, since I’d just moved past it in my own life, however I knew God had called me there to help children and their parents through their arduous cancer journeys.
Then, seven years later, it was time for me to concentrate on writing my book. It was a labor of tenacity partnered with dedication. I took an intermediate novel writing class at a university and spent many hours in a professionally-led writing group where I would receive critiques of my work from other authors. Some critiques were hard to hear, and many pages didn’t make the cut, but I was persistent in doing what I knew was mine to do-share my story.
I learned more about grammar and sentence structure. But it didn’t stop there. I took my manuscript on vacations and worked on it pretty much every holiday and all weekends. I turned down countless social activities to stay focused on my writing which was tough because characteristically I’m a very social person. Some nights, I would wake up at two or three in the morning, open up my laptop knowing I needed to get ideas out of my head and into my manuscript. I became really boring. The big portion of my days were spent in my home office or at a coffee shop writing.
I looked at my words over and over and over until I couldn’t see the forest through the trees. There were a lot more steps to this escalating process that I never knew existed. At times I cried due to frustration, but I trusted that there was a purpose in my author journey.
For five years, mostly every day, I would write and rewrite my book.
I was told that I needed to start promoting myself so I got on Twitter and created a BSB Facebook page which were both scary to me. I read other books by successful authors and was in awe of them and their writing ability. I read books on how to write a book. I became grateful for editors and proof readers.
I learned that the writer’s life is sometimes lonely.
I stepped out in faith and listened to God’s spirit within me to ask for things I thought were too big of a stretch to get. Ex. Asking one of my favorite authors, Maria Housden, if she would read my book and maybe write a review which she willingly did.
In the process, I got to piece experiences of my life together in a way I had not seen before. I got to purge emotions that perhaps were keeping me in the past. I got to see what it means to have a supportive husband, mom and dad.
Writing my book was a slow and sometime arduous process. It involved concentrating on one word at a time, rearranging and rephrasing words to make what I was trying to communicate be the most engaging to the reader. I sifted through my manuscript countless times. My book had four professional edits. The process of chiseling the body of my manuscript to become its best was like chiseling a piece of rock into eventually becoming a sculpture. It involved time, vision, and sacrifice.
When I received my manuscript in book form in the mail it was like I was holding a new baby. Elation, relief, and tears of joy flowed down my face. I literally got on my knees and thanked God. My tenacity and hard work had created something. My hope and prayer has always been, and still continues to be, that it will inspire and help others.
I’m not going to go into all the blessings and accolades I have received since becoming a published author. Please see my photo gallery and my book reviews for that. However, what I’d like you to do is to inspire you to see what good you are being called to produce in the world. With steps of faith, tenacity, and commitment I hope this article has invigorated you to give birth to your dream.