As a published author, I'm often asked how to write a book. Many survivors want to tell their story and are unsure where to begin or have tried and are overwhelmed by the process. The good thing is, people want to share their experience.
Whether you intend to publish or want to record your experience for the family's history, writing is a wonderful idea. More for my own sanity than anything else, I journaled throughout treatment, recording everything from private emotions to treatment decisions. Raw and intimate, it became the foundation of my book.
Be authentic. Those who read your words should hear your voice. If you're writing for strangers, it helps make the connection that binds a reader to a story. If you're writing for your grandchildren, they will be more interested in your heart than your medicine.
Write with purpose. If you're writing for others, continually ask yourself, "so what?" Why would readers take time to read your work? Will they find it useful? Entertaining? Informative? Do the words paint a picture? Can we see and feel and taste your experience? Are the characters clearly defined and do we care about them?
Avoid "survivor-itis." Too often, survivors get stuck in the "it was so awful" ditch and can't get out. Readers are more likely to respond to how the problem was solved than belaboring the depth of the problem. Most readers want a sense of hope and inspiration along with education.
Let go. The hardest part for me was being vulnerable with complete strangers. However, in order to reach those who would find my work useful, I needed to just let go.
(Annette's book - Outside The Lines of Love, Life, and Cancer, Skyward Publishing - can be ordered from amazon.com and major booksellers nationwide.)