I was something of a health nut in my youth, when the word “organic” was not yet even in the common vocabulary. Alternative healing fascinated me and I read every book I could find on the subject.
Sometimes I asked myself, why am I reading all these books about healing when I don’t need them?
Eventually, I came across Dr. Bernie Siegel’s book, Love, Medicine, and Miracles. It was about the power of love and the mind’s influence to heal the body and even produce unexpected cures, or miracles. In the 1980’s, the book was considered pretty out-there, but I thought it made perfect sense and I found it very inspiring.
Fast forward a few decades to when I find myself struggling with severe Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, a very debilitating condition with intense nerve pain, migraines, and other difficult symptoms. Nothing the medical community had to offer helped - not the medications and not the treatments.
But something of Bernie Siegel’s ideas must have stayed with me, because I began looking for my own path to healing through changing my perceptions of pain, changing my beliefs about what was possible, and, instead of hating my pain, sending it love.
The book that resulted from all this is coming out in a few weeks, and guess who my editor found to write the foreword?
Yes, that’s right, Dr. Bernie Siegel.
For me, that’s it’s own little miracle.
Some of us are afraid to write about what deeply moves us because we don’t have a degree or an official certification in that area. We think we don’t have the requisite credibility. After all, people who want to author a book should have the appropriate academic credentials, correct?
Certainly, as a culture, we are sold on the idea that we learn what’s most important by attending school. Along with adding to our storehouse of knowledge, degrees confer status, validation, and the right to write. And it's true, attaining a degree is a true accomplishment and has meaning and worth.
When we’re writing for an academic audience or are expounding on something technical or trying to teach complex methodology, a degree can be a boon. Some readers will only look at our books if we have letters after our names.
On the other hand, do all readers value the same things? Are they all looking for input from school-taught experts?
In my experience, the answer is a big “no.” People want to read about how others like them are meeting life’s challenges. They want to hear personal stories about loss, renewal, redemption, victory, and just slogging along until you get to the other side. And they want to hear from writers who have been through it, writers with whom they can identify.
How do you do that? How do you write a book with authority that appeals to readers? You do that by writing to someone like you. And to do that, you only have to be an expert in one thing. Your own experience.
And you’re the only one who can do that. No one else can write a book based on what you have gleaned from your travails and your triumphs, big or small in scope. You are the top expert in your field because you are the only one who can write from your life experience and with your unique perspective.
So, don’t be afraid to write about what interests you and what you feel strongly about because in all the millions of people on the planet, there are many who want to hear from you. They want your brand of clarity, your humor, your quirkiness, your angle, and your unique insights.
After all, for many subjects, Life is our best teacher, and direct experience our highest certification.