Read Laura Hillenbrand’s story about her battles with a debilitating chronic fatigue syndrome and how she wrote the best-seller in spite of it, and you might not be able put your own writing off without feeling a bit uneasy.
It’s hard enough to complete the writing of a book even if you are enjoying perfect health and have the skills and resources to do it. Hillenbrand’s story is truly inspirational because of the additional adversity she overcame to pursue her dream of writing Seabiscuit: An American Legend.
Where does that powerful motivation to express the written word come from? Hillenbrand’s story is compelling, but not unique. Other writers, famous and not, have produced amazing works despite daunting challenges.
I recently watched the film My Left Foot in which Daniel Day-Lewis portrays Christy Brown powering through his crippling cerebral palsy to type a book using only his left big toe. Brown actually wrote several books and painted using his foot as well. I have difficulty using the keyboard with ten fingers.
The desire to write is a profound impulse, and sometimes it cannot be denied. Those who feel this drive know that it is not easily ignored. If it is ignored, there is usually some personal price to pay.
Brown’s and Hillenbrand’s stories are useful if they provide inspiration and motivation, but harmful if we use them to feel guilty and lame about ourselves. We all have our own unique path and challenges, and these authors show us that even gigantic barriers to writing can be overcome.