Writing About Cancer #IWSG

Badge for Insecure Writer's Support Group

It’s the 1st Wednesday of the month again. That’s when I take part in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I encourage you to check out their website and even sign up for the IWSG Newsletter. Today I will explore putting a schedule in place for writing. I’ll focus on the genre of self-help as it relates to writing about cancer, as I answer this month’s IWSG Day question:

February 7 question – What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

If you want to have some fun, take a look at the Wikipedia page for the list of writing genres. You may be surprised at how many there are. So, it’s difficult for me, as a writer to choose just one. My favorite thing to write is fiction, especially mysteries. But at this point in time, I write more non-fiction. If I had to narrow it down to a specific genre, it would be self-help. Until I got this question, I never would have categorized writing about cancer that way. It’s interesting to note my reason for writing about cancer is to help people.

Facing CancerMy first book, Facing Cancer as a Friend, How to Support Someone who has Cancer, came about after hearing so many people express how much they want to be there for friends who are diagnosed with cancer, but they don’t feel equipped to help. Many people don’t even know what to say. I was the same way until my own husband was diagnosed in 2012 with stage IV lung cancer. I soon got a crash course in caregiving. We learned what is most helpful, as well as what to avoid when someone tells you they have cancer.

One of the most rewarding things is to get an email from someone or run into someone in person, who says my book or my blog post writing about cancer have made a difference in how they feel when someone they love tells them they have a life-changing disease like cancer. Instead of feeling powerless to help, they feel equipped.

As part of a support group for families facing cancer, we have met countless parents, just like us, who are dealing with cancer. Their number one priority, like all parents, is the well-being of their children. How are they going to help their children through this? No two kids are alike, but they do have a lot in common at the various developmental stages they go through. Understanding the common reactions and what you can do to reassure them can make a big difference in how they cope when their mom or dad has cancer.  That’s why I’m excited that my next book, Facing Cancer as a Parent: Helping Your Child Cope with Your Cancer, is on the verge of publication.

Writing about cancer is often painful. But it’s also important to me because of how difficult it has been to learn what I know. It’s cost our family dearly to learn the lessons I share. So early on I decided that I didn’t want to waste it. Hopefully, others will find what I share in my books and my blogs valuable, and it can spare them some of the pain we have felt.

What are YOUR thoughts?

I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!

About Heather Erickson

I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace.

My book Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer, is available at Amazon.com.

I also blog about living with cancer at, Facing Cancer with Grace.

My Family
The Erickson Family, Photo by Everbranch Photography



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2 comments on “Writing About Cancer #IWSG

Good grief, you could get lost in that wikipedia entry and they wouldn’t find you for months!
Thank you for your inspirational post; knowing the right thing to say sounds simple and yet can be one of the most difficult things.

Thank you, Angela. Even I often have a hard time knowing the right things to say, and I’ve walked this road. Have a wonderful day!

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