As a Writer, I’m Not Ready to Throw in the Towel

As a Writer, I’m Not Ready to Throw in the Towel
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Ever since I can remember, I have loved to write short stories, articles, poems, novels, essays, and more. I entered some of my writing into contests, won a few (mostly in the short stories category), and received a few awards.

As a young teenager, I asked my grandmother to read a story I wrote for school. When she finished, she praised me for how good she thought it was and told me I should be a writer. A few years later, my creative writing teacher in high school told me I should pack up my pencil and find something better to do with my life, adamant I would never measure up as a writer.

I was crushed, but I kept on writing. However, I never asked anyone to read any of my writing after that. I took another creative writing class in college, and when it came time to read my work or have it read by the instructor out loud, it was received favorably, which boosted my morale to continue on.

Years went by, and Parkinson’s entered my life at 34. Along with writing, I journaled daily. Journaling was my way of working through hard things in my life and the lessons learned from those trials. It was also my way of keeping track of the blessings granted to me.

Shortly after my diagnosis, I began a blog titled “Parkinson’s Journey.” I shared my heart on those pages, including all the trials and the blessings, my experiences journeying through this disease, and the wisdom I had gained.

Eventually, I was asked to write for Parkinson’s News Today, which I accepted with great excitement. This is my fourth year here. Lately, I have been wondering if I am running on empty and have nothing left to give. I have questioned whether or not I still have anything worth sharing. I sit down to write and nothing comes. I am empty.

And then, something happened. Somewhere in my messed up brain, I had been thinking that I needed to share more technical information. But I am more of an “experience” writer. I write from my heart, from my personal experiences, and not about information shared in medical journals and the like. I will do it (and sometimes with great enthusiasm and joy) if I have a personal attachment to the subject, but in truth, I usually find it frustrating, and it tends to drain my joy of writing.

And so, I have been mulling over all of this for the last few days and weeks. Nearly ready to throw in the towel, I sat down at the table and did what they teach you in all those creative writing classes. When you are empty, write. When you are stuck, write. When you think you have writer’s block, write. No matter what appears on the paper, keep writing.

I decided to write and see what came of it. And you know what? I found my voice again. I found me, the me with Parkinson’s disease, and I’m not ready to throw in the towel.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

Sherri was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s disease over 15 years ago. She can be found working in her garden, going for walks, taking pictures, or reading books to her three favorite grandkids. Sherri is taking life somewhat slower, and perhaps with guarded steps, but she’s not giving in.
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Sherri was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s disease over 15 years ago. She can be found working in her garden, going for walks, taking pictures, or reading books to her three favorite grandkids. Sherri is taking life somewhat slower, and perhaps with guarded steps, but she’s not giving in.

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4 comments

  1. David Blacker says:

    Dear Sherri
    Hang in there- please keep writing. It’s part of who you are, Maybe Parkinson’s related apathy or depression is playing a role in the way you are feeling, but I bet you’ll feel worse if you give up. We all learn from each other’s experience; personal descriptions remain important for patients, relatives and medical staff to read so we can all understand PD at a deeper level. It doesn’t have to be about scientific papers or the latest data. You only have to look at the books written by Oliver Sacks which illuminate everyone’s understanding of neurological conditions to see how humanistic descriptions of disease can be enriching for us all.
    Keep well and best wishes,

    • David – thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. They were accepted with great appreciation. Again, thank you and in regards to the depression and apathy angle, I do believe a bit of that was part of the ‘mix’ but I think I have gotten through another bout. Thanks for caring.

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