When I began to explore the topic of my writer’s block, I published chapters as I wrote them in Life As A Human magazine. I did that to help me stay focused on the real story in what was a complex and intricate topic, and keep me moving forward with the writing project. I published 29 chapters that way, and then I was able to see the best way to finish the book.
My friend Karen told me several years ago that she thought Healing The Writer might be the most powerful book I would ever write. Back in April, I read the polished first draft, then set it aside. I think it has taken me six months to fully appreciate the magnitude of the healing journey I chronicled.
Late last night I watched the end of Mr. Holland’s Opus, where he gets to conduct the symphony he spent years writing, played by former students. The final shot in the movie is a closeup of him with a powerful look of serenity on his face – like he accepted what he had created. I think I saw it that way because I had felt myself coming to that same point.
I picked up the Healing The Writer manuscript today and began reading it once more, with an eye to editing needed. I’m ready, and it’s time.
Below is the Table of Contents, along with links to the first 29 chapters. (The chapters are in reverse order by publication date in the magazine, and this will give a better idea of how to follow the flow of the book).
Healing The Writer
The desire to express, I was taught to repress,
Has caused me a block, I wish to unlock.
I pick up the pen, I start writing again.
I feel the flow –
And then I stop.
– Dan Hays October 1986
Part One – Search For Peace
One: Why Is This Fantastic News So Scary?
Two: What To Put On Paper?
Three: I Find My Writing Voice
Four: I Hide Out To Write A Book
Five: Scared To Put It In The Mail
Six: I Walk Away From Publication
Part Two – Nothing Left to Lose
Seven: Ghosts Of The Wheat Harvest
Eight: The Query Letter and The Question
Nine: I Abandon A Book – Again!
Part Three – What Mamaw Said
Ten: They’ll Call You Crazy – And Lock You Up!
Eleven: I Capture The Writing Vision
Twelve: The Creative River Flows Once More
Thirteen: The Writer’s Conference and the Fear
Fourteen: What Is It About That Particular Park?
Fifteen: I Can Have You Committed
Sixteen: The Fear And The Light!
Seventeen: Breaking Through – Moving Beyond Writer’s Block
Part Four – Down To The Roots
Eighteen: Red Rocks and Remembering: A Writer’s Road Trip
Nineteen: A Writer’s Journey of Inspiration
Twenty: The Landscape of a Writer
Twenty One: Publishing a Book: Getting One Step Closer
Twenty Two: A Disappointed Writer and a Backup Plan
Twenty Three: The Fearful Writer – Monsters in the Closet
Twenty Four: How My Writing Got Locked Up
Part Five – Freedom’s Just Another Word
Twenty Five: Insomnia – A Writer’s Night Journey
Twenty Six: Confronting the Fear – A Writer Prepares to Publish
Twenty Seven: “I’d Like To Read Your Manuscript.”
Twenty Eight A: A Writer Revisits High School – Part One
Twenty Eight B: A Writer Revisits High School – Part Two
Twenty Nine: I Am A Published Author
Thirty: A Hopeful Omen
Thirty One: Publicity Can Be Rewarding – Or Maybe Not!
Thirty Two: The Origin of Minute To Freedom
Part Six – Moving To The Light
Thirty Three: I Combine Publicity And Therapy
Thirty Four: Healing The Wounded Child
Thirty Five: Preparing To Leave The Dark Closet
Thirty Six: Independence Day
Thirty Seven: Little Danny Set Free
Thirty Eight: The “Don’t” Messages – Deep Damage Healed
Thirty Nine: Deep Healing and Destiny Arising
Forty: The Terror of the Dark Death
Part Seven – Free To Write
Forty One: Writing For Publication as a Healing Tool
Forty Two: Killing The Octopus
Forty Three: A Sign of Healing – The Poetry Returns
Forty Four: Am I Able To Work – As A Writer?
Forty Five: A Sign of Healing – I Become a Freelance Writer
Forty Six: Epilogue
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