Silently battling a terminal illness can be one of the most challenging experiences a person will go through. It is not uncommon for patients to feel isolated and alone as if no one can understand what they are going through. Writing can provide an outlet for emotions, a way to share your story with others, and a tool for coping while in hospice care.
It can help you process your experiences and work through the emotions that come with them. Reading or hearing your story can provide hope and understanding to others dealing with similar issues.
If you want to leave a legacy of your experience for others, consider writing your story down. Here are some tips to get you started:
Start by brainstorming all the big and small events that have led up to your current situation. Don’t worry about putting them in chronological order just yet. Just get them down on paper.
Brainstorming means thinking up or generating a list of ideas. It will help you think of everything you want to include in your story. This step is also an excellent opportunity to reflect on your journey and all you’ve been through.
If you find it challenging to get started, consider using some prompts to help you get your thoughts flowing. For example, what are the defining points in your journey? What did you learn from them? You don’t have to be a skilled writer to write your story. Just tell it like it is, in your own words.
Organizing Your Thoughts
Once you have a list of events, start putting them in order. You may want to organize them chronologically or by theme. For example, if you’re writing about your experience with cancer, you could arrange your story by the different stages of treatment you went through. Remember, this is your story, so you can tell it however you want. There’s no right or wrong way to do it.
An unorganized pool of thoughts can be very daunting, but you’ll see how your story takes shape once you start putting them in order. This step will also help you identify any gaps in your story that you may want to address.
Writing Your Story
Now it’s time to start writing. It can be helpful to imagine you’re telling your story to a friend. Write like you would speak, using your voice. Doing so will make it more personal and relatable.
Don’t worry about making it perfect. Just let the words flow and express what you want to say. You can always go back and edit later. And don’t forget to include your feelings. Sharing how you felt during certain events will help others understand what you went through.
Although it may be difficult, try to be honest and open. It’s okay to share the hard stuff, and many say it can be therapeutic. Just remember, you’re in control of what you share. Only write about what you’re comfortable sharing.
Editing and Revising
Once you have a draft of your story, it’s time to revise and edit it. When editing, focus on the technical aspects of your writing, such as grammar, spelling, and punctuation. You may also want to tighten up your sentences and make sure they flow well.
Revising is when you take a closer look at the content of your story. It is where you can add, delete, or rearrange parts to make them better. For example, you may want to add more details to specific points or cut out unnecessary information.
You don’t have to do this part alone. You can ask a friend or family member to read your story and give you feedback. They may be able to point out errors you missed or suggest ways to improve them.
Publishing Your Story
Although it’s not required, you may want to share your story with others. You could do this by publishing it online, submitting it to a magazine or newspaper, or reading it aloud at an event.
Many publishers are open to submissions from regular people, so don’t be afraid to submit your story. Be mindful of their submission guidelines, though. Some may require that your story be a particular length or focus on a specific topic.
However, the process of sharing your story is entirely up to you. You may decide to keep it private and just for yourself. That’s okay, too. The most important thing is that you’ve written it and can look back on it when you need to.
You can use your writing skills to deal with health challenges in simple ways. Start by brainstorming a list of events related to your health journey. Then, organize them in a way that makes sense to you. After that, start writing your story using your voice. Remember to be honest and open with your feelings. Lastly, revise and edit your story, then decide if you want to share it with others. You can better understand what you’ve been through and how far you’ve come by telling your story.