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Do you have a plan B? (A cancer update.) :O

~~~ Notes from Minnesota ~~~

Hey Freelancer,

Wow. It’s been a while! And what a roller coaster it’s been over here.

If you recall, when last we spoke, I mentioned my five year cancerversary wasn’t going as expected; I complained about a cluster of “plump” lymph nodes in my chest.

Well, docs ordered a PET scan, injected me with radioactive sugar water, and guess what? Contrary to Marvel comic lore, I didn’t receive any super powers (I was hoping to at least turn into the Kool Aid man…) But worse yet? Those nodes “lit up.” Possible cancer.

Next step: Biopsy.

Problem is, central Minnesota has exactly zero docs who perform this crazy procedure called (I’m paraphrasing) an ultrasound assisted biopsy via broncoscopy. So, off to the big city (Minneapolis) we went.

That was a couple weeks ago. Then, I got the final results by phone.

The lymph nodes are clear. Docs suspect generic inflammation. I’m still considered NED (No Evidence of Disease) and cancer isn’t on the list of possibilities. (Yay!)

It seems really weird to condense a month’s load of nightmare into a few paragraphs. Plus, I also cannot verbalize the emotions when I reflect on yet another cancer nightmare juxtapositioned with the incredible support I’ve received. But let’s just say I appreciate every kind note more than I can say.

So… now the drama seems to have resolved itself (for now), the plan going forward is that I’ll have one more CT scan in three to four months. This will verify that these nodes are fine. After that, if I pass that test, I’ll be considered cancer-free and will graduate from the Willmar branch of the Virginia Piper Cancer Center.

Oy… it’s more than I can imagine…

‘Til next time,

Beth 🙂

P.S. If you’re trying to write while chaos reigns around you, welcome to the club. This is how I worked through a good chunk of my cancer drama:


Let’s talk shop!

If you want to get a book published, whether it’s via traditional channels, self publishing or anything in between, this month’s issue of The Creative Entrepreneur Newsletter will interest you. A lot.

You see, this is where I discuss a fundamental error most writers (and even seasoned publishers) make when they start their publishing journey. In fact, making this one decision will affect pretty much everything, every result, every marketing method, even the type of reader you attract… from that day forward.

I want to make sure you understand the pros and cons of each choice as well as how to tailor your marketing (and publishing schedule) for each.
So… let’s untangle these crazy, all important decisions. We’ll gossip (just a little). Perhaps have a little fun, too.

Let’s hang out at the Mocha Club.

Get more info here (and download a complementary issue of The Creative Entrepreneur Newsletter.

Just click here
Plan B.
Beth Ann Erickson

I just got off a great roller coaster ride called the “cancer checkup.”

At first, this “vigilant monitoring” by my cancer team felt reassuring, comforting. “If they find something,” my doc said, “they’ll catch it early.”

Okay. Fine.

Except, the luster has worn off this gem. Last year, docs suspected I had ovarian cancer. After a nightmarish gauntlet of tests, poking, prodding, and general angst, it turned out I was ovulating. (What? A female ovulating? Whoda thunk?)

This year, it was plump chest lymph nodes that landed me in the test tube. With nearly two months of my summer burned up in uncertainty and stress, I like to think I’ve become fairly proficient in working Plan B.

Here are a few tips for when you need to formulate and implement an emergency Plan B: When faced with uncertainty, whether it’s schedule disruptions, health emergencies, echoes of other people’s actions… here’s tip #1: Keep your editorial schedule flexible. Hard deadlines will add stress to an already difficult situation. Give yourself lots of lead time to ensure you can handle your projects with finesse.

Tip #2: Understand that some days will sweep you away. That’s just the nature of life… especially as you, and those around you, age. One trip to the MD can burn through an entire day. Easily. This is a big reason it’s important to keep your schedule flexible.

Next, be kind to yourself. Watching other writer’s success can be bitter sweet at this point. It can be difficult to look at your own circumstances and compare your career to another person’s. That’s an unfortunate trap you should be aware of and actively avoid.

Every human earth plays a part in their own orchestra. To compare your song to another’s is a futile activity. Enjoy your music. Allow others to play theirs, no comparison necessary. Truth is, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, mostly you live between these two points.

Also, be sure to have a contingency plan to adjust things fast. When I was in the middle of the latest, and quite serious, cancer scare, I had a way to swap around every project at a moment’s notice, relying on trusted team members to take care of essential tasks. I also worked ahead, for example, mailing royalty statements early to give me lots of wiggle room if my publishing schedule got decimated. I figured if I had my ducks in a row and everything went south, I could exit the office a while before all heck broke loose.

Lastly, treasure your faithful readers, team members, and be sure to thank everyone who supported you during your rough patch. Life can be difficult. None of us will make it out alive. The kind people you meet along the way are precious. Always remember that.


You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this byline:

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, write killer queries, get published. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.”


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