Saturday, 3 December 2011

Cancer, Writing and Priorities

Friday was a good day! My son had his 6 month check-up and all appears to be going well. We will know for sure within a week or two, but all signs are pointing toward very good. Appointment times always stress me out just a little, but that is to be expected.

He has now been cancer-free for 3 1/2 years, which makes us very happy! Checkups are once every 6 months now, and they split the other tests between the two. He has also hit the six foot mark on the height chart; chemotherapy did not stunt his growth at all. It was a long road, but he was very positive through the whole process. He did get frustrated occasionally, and still does. His mobility has been limited due to the surgery but he is taking steps to improve it.

For those who don't know our story, he was diagnosed with a Ewing Sarcoma in September of 2007. Being told your child has cancer is one of the last things any parent wants to hear. The roller coaster ride had begun! I was working full time and could not be at the hospital with him all the time. My ex husband was able to take the time off work and accompany our son to the Children's Hospital for treatment. I was able to take some time off, but not without a fight. My employers (people who I thought were my friends) said my job came first, then my family. Had it not been for the health benefits we so desperately needed at the time, I would have quit then and there.

Treatment and surgery was successful and our son is now almost 18. The healing still continues as the surgery on his leg was extensive. The removal of the tumor and part of the fibula in his right leg left him with a scar from above his knee to his ankle. Plus, he also has a few smaller scars on both sides of his ankle and the top of his foot. The re-routing of muscles, nerves and tendons left him with pain and itching that was very hard to ease.

When treatment was complete and he was given the confirmation the cancer was gone, I gave my notice to my employers. I had come to realize there was more to life than working for someone else. I was giving up a good benefit package, but with treatments complete I could afford to do so. I opted for a private benefit package and concentrated on being available for both of my children whenever they needed me. I still worked, but mostly from home. I secured a couple of bookkeeping contracts and worked, but soon found that wasn't where I wanted to be.

In January of 2010 I became a freelance writer and haven't looked back. I have always had a passion for writing and decided it was what I was destined to do. Bookkeeping was good pay, but being tied to a computer all day was not my idea of fun. Life's too short to go through the motions of a job you don't like; if you are able to make the change then by all means do it.

With well over 100 articles and a couple of books under my belt, I am happier now than before. The road has been a long one and I still haven't hit my fame and fortune stage yet, but I am confidant my time will come. I have realized I do need to create new content on a daily basis to benefit financially. In the beginning I wrote and submitted several articles a week; lately I have been wrapped up in my book and have not done so. It is reflecting in my earnings.

I have some advice for anyone who is just beginning their freelance writing careers: don't stop writing and submitting articles. The more you write, the better. If you have decided to write a book keep up the smaller projects as well, as they are the ones that pay the bills while you write your book. Treat your book as a hobby if you rely on the article income. If you are already earning enough residual income to get by then by all means spend more time on your book.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I learn from my mistakes. I also want others to learn from them as well. I have done some extensive reading lately on marketing, publishing and writing. I have come to the conclusion I have once again gone about things the hard way; but then again, that is just my nature. As I was feeling just a bit sorry for myself for not having the income I was hoping for, I realized there was no one to blame but me. I stopped submitting articles and my earnings show it.

I have been working on my book, plus wrote the "Your First eBook" Course; a workbook type format for beginning writers to learn about writing, pricing, publishing and marketing their first eBook. It is a simple to follow format and will be a great asset. I have written it from my point of view and experience; once again letting others know what mistakes NOT to make.

I have also written a report on starting a craft shop without needing to make the crafts yourself. It is a perfect sideline business for any homemaker who has some extra space in their home. It is an economical way to increase your inventory and provide variety for customers.

It appears I have rambled in this post, but I want you to put what really matters most first. Family is number one in my books and I have made personal sacrifices to be able to be there for my children, parents and siblings when I am needed. I have a very supportive partner who loves me and my children for who we are and does his best to support us financially while my writing career gets off the ground.

With that in mind, I must get myself back on track and start submitting articles once again. They were what was paying the bills and with the holiday season fast approaching the extra earnings will come in handy. Plus, there is still the matter of my van.

Have a great day!


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