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“Write For Life – Communicating Your Way Through Cancer” – A Book Review & Giveaway!

Generally speaking I don’t do reviews, even book reviews, very often because frankly, I get tired of being a vehicle for free promotion. So unless a book grabs my attention or is about a topic I’m super interested in (and think you will be too), I mostly pass on these “offers”. If I am interested, I usually say sure send me your book; in fact, send me two copies.

I like to offer free stuff to you, dear readers, once in a while and free books are always nice, right?

Even then, I don’t commit to a review post. I just say I’ll read it and take things from there. This seems to work well and weeds out more than a few requests.

Some subjects I am truly passionate about and one of these is writing.

Writing is healing. Sharing is healing too. Put the two together and well… just about anything is possible. It’s why I started blogging and why I keep at it.

This is also why when I was asked to consider reviewing, Write For Life – Communicating Your Way Through Cancer by David Tabatsky, I pretty much knew I’d be saying yes.

Write For Life. The title alone is great, don’t you think?

Sometimes I quite literally feel as if I do write for life. Or live to write. Or something like that, but you get the idea. Writing is a huge deal in my life. I believe it can be in yours too. It can be in everyone’s.

Right off the bat in the foreword of this book I read this:

“Writing for your life is about telling your truth. Trust your feelings; they tell you the truth.”  

I think I’ve written something pretty similar more than a few times.

Truth telling is what it’s all about. Honoring your own truths about cancer or whatever you are dealing with.

Is there any other way? Umm, yeah…

Write For Life – Communicating Your Way Through Cancer is divided into three parts:  Part One Me: It’s All About Me! Part TwoYou:  It’s All About You! (and Me) and Part Three Us:  It’s All About Us (The World at Large).

Each section contains a little story, words of encouragement, general information or questions to get you thinking followed by writing prompts to get you closer to the goal – writing  stuff down!

Admittedly, at first I was skeptical because I was waiting for the part where you are asked to write down how cancer has taught you such and such and how you are now a much better and wiser version of your former self.

That kind of thinking does not work for me. I reject the notion that cancer magically turns you into a better person.

No, the author instead encourages the reader to pay attention to her genuine feelings – whatever they might be. He goes so far as to call one exercise, Blood on the Page and says this:

“If you feel it, write it. If it hurts, say so. Why hold back? This is your life.”

Don’t you love that? I do.

There are also prompts for making practical lists and heaven knows, after a cancer diagnosis, we need some of those too.

Part two focuses on relationships and contains prompts to encourage writing about gratitude (for people not cancer), communicating with family members and doctors and improving active listening skills to name a few.

Part three has tips on how to actually write. The author offers tips on where to write, how to set a scene, the benefit of laughter and there’s also a snippet on editing along with a few suggestions on how to go about actually getting published.

So all in all, the book is a handy tool to get yourself writing more.

My only “complaint” is that at less than 100 pages, it’s almost too brief. I would have liked more exercises, especially in Part One, where the focus is on self-examination. You can get through the entire book pretty quickly, which come to think of it, after a cancer diagnosis is not a bad thing after all.

It’s also worth mentioning that this book is appropriate for anyone whose life has been impacted by cancer – definitely including caregivers, other family members and yes, the medical professionals too.

Finally, the following words from the book are ones I live by every single day when I sit down to write:

“Life changes in an instant. It can happen to any of us. Your story, poem, song or drawing may resonate for someone else in ways you can never imagine. Inside each of us is the potential to heal another through care, compassion and honest communication.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Perhaps we should all Write For Life, or at least read the book!

For a chance to win a FREE copy of Write For Life – Communicating Your Way Through Cancer by David Tabatsky, leave a comment below stating you want to be included in my drawing by noon CT on Tuesday, November 5th.  The winner will be announced shortly thereafter.

Why not enter today?

Do you write (or want to) on a regular basis?      


About the Author

David Tabatsky is a writer, editor, teacher, director and performing artist. He is the author and co-author of numerous books, including Chicken Soup for the Soul’s The Cancer Book: 101 Stories of Courage, Support & Love. Mr. Tabatsky teaches writing workshops at cancer centers throughout the United States.

To learn more about David Tabatsky’s work or to PURCHASE any of his books, visit or click on the image above. (I’m pretty interested in one of his other books, Beautiful Old Dogs).


Saturday 18th of January 2014

I found myself 4 the 1st time in my life truely feelin alone,my daughter was all grown up n moved on with her family&didnt want 2 burden her,on her 3rd baby&baby having problems I didnt end up tellin her till my hair was falling out.BROKE ME SO BAD TO SEE HOW MUCH I HURT HER WHEN I TOLD HER I had stage 3agressive breastcancer,losing my eyelashes eyebrows along with my thick once healthly hair@my waist now not just feeling alone but also starting 2 feel so unpretty after chemo having my breat removed I started 2 feeling my hurt turning 2 anger feeling like I was no longer a real women feelin like anything else u wanna take kinda feeling happy that my husband wasnt gonna be there for me due to he wasnt coming home 4 another 3yrs after my mastomy was done I didnt even want him 2 see me till my reconstuction,not returning his calls for 8mths only sending mess through my mother inlaw,Instead of looking@how Im here another day Ive not only made it through agressive stage 3cancer but through 4treatments of chemo instead of6 cuz I was responding so good 2 the chemo,never looking or feeling my breasts 2 see how much its going dwn just goin on wit my life tryin not 2 dwell on things if they r gettin better if they r just stayin the same then thinking Im all better now after mastectomy,I dont need radiation done after surgery a let it go 4 3mths n said Ive come this far just finish.....thanking GOD 4 MY GRANDBABY WHO WAS TRUELY THERE 4 ME CUZ SHE MOVED IN WIT ME TAKIN MY MIND OFF BEIN SICK JUST KNOWIN I HAVE 2GET UP EVERYDAY 4 HER I HAD NO TIME 2 FEEL SORRY 4 MYSELF N DWELL ON HOW SICK I REALLY WAS.So I thank god exspecially 4 her& that Im gonna be around 2 watch all my grandbabies grow,n I can be here for my babygirl when she needs a shoulder 2 cry on or just some1 2 listen 2 her.n reading all these personal blogs HELPED ALOT! Ive never read any of the paperwork the doctors send hm with me they r still sittin in the same hosp bag the doc gave me 2 read But 4 some reason I wanta read that book,n I now wanna start writing again Ive put my pen dwn now 4 over 10yrs n Im done hinding my sickness under wigs Im gonna share my health n my 2nd chance@life.


Monday 20th of January 2014

Selana, I'm sorry about all your physical and emotional pain...I'm glad you find the blogs you've been reading helpful. I hope you do read the book and start writing down your thoughts. Putting thoughts and feelings on paper can be quite validating and healing. Thanks for sharing. My best to you.

Nicole Renée

Tuesday 5th of November 2013

Writing fills the void when isolation appears to be my only friend. It's healing, rewarding and a true lifeline.

The book sounds wonderful, and I would love to be entered into the drawing!

Thank you,



Tuesday 5th of November 2013

Nicole, Writing does fill a void sometimes. And yes, it can be a true lifeline indeed. Thanks for participating in my giveaway!


Monday 4th of November 2013

Would love to be included in this Nancy! Thanks for sharing!


Monday 4th of November 2013

Toni, Consider yourself included!

Summar Ruelle

Sunday 3rd of November 2013

I would love to write more than I do, as I very much find it therapeutic and love to know that perhaps it may help others in the future, on their Stage IV Breast Cancer journey. It has been difficult for me to write regularly though, with our daughter home, in and out of school for her ALL (leukemia) treatment and sometimes I struggle not having enough energy or I wonder if I'm too much of a downer or perhaps just too real. I would absolutely love to win this book though! Thanks for sharing!


Monday 4th of November 2013

Summer, Being real is not being a downer. You are entitled to feel how ever you are feeling! Sometimes it is hard to muster up that energy and it's no wonder in your case; it sounds like you have an awful lot to deal with. Thanks for entering my drawing. You're in!


Sunday 3rd of November 2013

It seems like this book really encourages the reader to be in that moment so they can genuinely experience it and then let that moment go. That would seem to facilitate a much healthier approach rather than stuffing all those feelings inside.

Thanks for posting this.



Monday 4th of November 2013

Paula, You're right. This book encourages honest self-expression and that's so important. Repeatedly stuffing one's feelings down is unhealthy and in the long run, potentially quite harmful as well. Thanks for reading and participating in my drawing.

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