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I’ve Been Bad … But I’m Working on it

coffee cup and laptop

So… yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post. The good news is that I’ve been busy with business-related writing. The bad news is that I’ve done little personal writing during that time, other than quick posts on social media.

In just the first 5 months of 2019 I’ve written about:

  • Asthma
  • Autism
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Breast cancer
  • Breast disease
  • Clubfoot
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Colostomy reversal
  • Diabetes
  • Ebola
  • Emergency medicine
  • Executive bios
  • Fitness
  • Gastroschisis
  • General surgery
  • Genital birth defects
  • GI services
  • Gynecology services
  • Health issues in minorities
  • Healthcare administration
  • Healthcare fundraising
  • Healthcare recruiting
  • Hospital administration
  • Hospitalist medicine
  • Internal medicine
  • Interventional radiology
  • Interviewing skills
  • Leadership messages
  • Maternity services
  • Menopause
  • Mental health
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Myocardial infarction
  • New technology in healthcare
  • Nutrition
  • Operational excellence
  • Orthopedic surgery
  • Osteoporosis
  • Patient experience
  • Patient safety
  • Pediatric heart conditions
  • Pediatric trauma
  • Physical therapy
  • Physician burnout
  • Physician profiles
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Robotic surgery
  • Rosacea
  • Schizophrenia
  • Skull base tumors
  • Small business growth
  • Small business insurance
  • Social media in healthcare
  • Solar energy
  • Spina bifida
  • Sports rehabilitation
  • Swallowing disorders
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Vector-borne diseases
  • Wellness programs
  • Workers compensation
  • Wound care

It’s been crazy busy and super interesting. You can read some of the clips that have been published thus far. I love what I do and I feel blessed to be able to make a living doing it every day.

However, I haven’t had the discipline to do any personal writing, and after a few years of personal and professional heartache and growth, I’ve got a bunch of “stuff” percolating in my head. So, to build some discipline into my days, I’m starting a memoir writing workshop this month at Ocean County College here in Toms River, NJ.

As a lifetime lover of the classroom, I’m excited… and as a part-time introvert, I’m a little nervous. BUT, I know that I’m an upholder (according to Gretchen Rubin), so hardwiring discipline is key for me.

Stay tuned for more about my memoir-writing journey!

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What We Can Learn About Writing from Vincent Van Gogh

Lust for Life book

My mother was an artist, so I grew up in a house piled high with paints, canvases, easels, glazes, frames, art books and more. In fact, when I moved out of my parents’ house in the late 90s, she turned my bedroom into her art studio. I’m writing in that room now, and I can feel her creative mojo here still.

While my mother worked in paint and ceramics (and sometimes music notes), I work in words. But honestly, no matter the medium, the struggles are often the same. My husband is a chef and my son is a songwriter. We all still get blocked creatively sometimes and get nervous when someone views our work.

I recently finished reading Irving Stone’s Lust for Life. Published in 1934, the novel is a fictionalized account of Vincent Van Gogh’s growth and struggles as an artist. Van Gogh dabbled in other professions before becoming obsessed with art and pouring hundreds of hours a week into honing his craft and trying to find his unique artistic voice. Quite simply, it drove him mad.

Most would say I still have my wits about me, yet there are several passages in the novel that struck a chord. Here are a few:

“Whatever you do, you will do well. Ultimately, you will express yourself and that expression will justify your life.”

“I can’t draw a figure without knowing all about the bones and muscles and tendons that are inside it. And I can’t draw a head without knowing what goes on in that person’s brain and soul. In order to paint life one must understand not only anatomy, but what people feel and think about the world they live in. The painter who knows his own craft and nothing else will turn out to be a very superficial artist.”

“Do you call yourself an artist?”
“How absurd. You never sold a picture in your life.”
“Is that what being an artist means — selling? I thought it meant one who was always seeking without absolutely finding. I thought it meant the contrary from ‘I know it, I have found it.’ When I say I am an artist, I only mean ‘I am seeking, I am striving, I am in it with all my heart.'”

“The artist has the liberty to exaggerate, to create in his novel a world more beautiful, more simple, more consoling than ours.” (Attributed to Maupassant)

“Then you like it?”
“As for that, I cannot say. I only know that it makes me feel something, in here.”
He ran his hand upward over his chest.

Many resources recommend writing what you know. I agree, to an extent. As creatives, we must also grow outside our walls, our comfort zones, our experiences to bring in new inspiration – and a little whimsy.

What books have inspired your work? What phrases speak to your craft?