Are you writing a book?

The most common greeting from strangers and friends in the last several months is, “Are you writing a book?” “How is your book coming along?

I excel at public speaking. I am a great physician. Being a great physician translates into the art of collecting and telling stories. Sometimes I summarize the patient’s story back to the patient. Sometimes it’s translating the patient’s story to the surgeon in a way that she understands what is going on without 4 consulting visits. I have practiced telling stories for 20+ years. I like it. The practice has made me good at it.

Writing is hard.

Writing is really hard. The easiest place to process these stories for me is when I talk. Writing them down turns into advanced therapy. Remembering the specific stories for my book . . the ones that transpired over the last half dozen years evokes physical symptoms of pain. Real pain. To cope, I tuck those memories deep into the folds of my mind, away from the active sense of remembering them. As I tuck them away, the pain lifts a little. The deeper I push them away from my conscious, frontal lobe the better it feels. Just maybe I will hide these memories so far away, they will be gone forever and ever.

Except. I know better. As a doctor, I take care of lots of folks with addiction. I get what happens when the awful chapters of your life are hidden and not embraced.

When I go to reach for those memories and write them down, I experience pain. I understand the pain is from the emotional trauma. But I have pushed through tough stuff before. I can just push my way through this. Right?

I want to be disciplined enough to write this book.

I keep failing. I can write for a while. Then I get stuck.

While in the stuck-bucket, I find a million other things I can do with my time and my talents. All these things are great, noble acts. The kind of things you want to tell your favorite mentor about. “Hey! Hey! Look!! I am doing really great services. See here.” Seeing patients for free. Traveling to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation for some wholesome Community Service. Working with my kids on a various number of projects for school. Heck, I could practically do their homework for them if it meant staying away from the STUCK BUCKET.

I have googled and read books on how to push through this. I want the answer to be right in front of me and easy. The books say the same things as the TED Talks. They all say the same thing:

  • Fake it till you make it.
  • Keep practicing.
  • Your brain will rewire. Push through.
  • Sit still.
  • Don’t give up.
  • It will come. Bla bla bla.

It is easier to quit.

So what pushes me to finally push PUBLISH on these blog posts? What pushes me to begin the process of practicing enough to get this book out of my STUCK BUCKET and into written words?


Prescott, age 15. Always to be found with an audiobook playing in his ears.

Walker, age 12. Looks like me. Thinks like his dad.

Chancellor – Age 9. Left Handed, Red-headed. SPIRITED.

These three boys. Someday they will wonder what happened to their life. What happened in that time when the world seemed filled with abundance and all the things life could ask for . . . and then suddenly all the stuff was gone. The life of extras was over. We moved into that old RV. What happened? How will they ever know?

Lord help them if they try to read the news papers. Certainly, the reporting media tells nothing of the real story. Maybe they will find a pok-a-dotted message of the truth by thumbing through my Facebook posts. Probably not.

I must get this story written down for them to ever know what really happened. Here is to Failing UP.

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