Healing With Words, A Writer’s Cancer Journey Interview with Diana M. Raab

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 Diana M. Raab, MFA, RN, has been a medical and self-help writer and poet for the past thirty-five years. In 2003, she earned her MFA in Writing from Spalding University. Diana is the author of eight books, including her recent memoir, Healing With Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey and her first memoir, Regina’s Closet: Finding My Grandmother’s Secret Journal which was the recipient of the 2009 Mom’s Choice Award for Adult Non-Fiction and the 2009 National Indie Award for Excellence in Memoir. She’s editor of Writers and Their Notebooks, a collection of essays she compiled by esteemed writers who use journals to inform their work. Diana teaches in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. She frequently moderates panels at conferences across the country, with a focus on writing for healing. Diana’s website: http://www.dianaraab.com

blog: http://www.dianaraab.com/blog; facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Healing-With-Words/132549903424367 twitter: http://twitter.com/dianaraab; redroom: http://web.redroom.com/author/diana-raab

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>/h2>Healing With Words: A Writer’s Cancer Journey is written by a nurse and author of eight books who at the age of forty-seven found her life shattered by a diagnosis with DCIS. Five years later she was diagnosed with another, seemingly unrelated and incurable blood cancer—multiple myeloma. The book is a mélange of reflections, poetry, memoir, journal entries and writing exercises for readers to express their own personal story.


In lieu of allowing cancer to destroy her life, Diana Raab has embraced the experience and turned a negative into a positive by creating a memoir and self-help book to help others with a cancer diagnosis. While coping with her loss, Raab found her lifeline to survival was writing about her experience.   

Since early childhood, Raab has drawn strength from the practice of journaling. Her journal provided a safe haven and platform to validate her feelings and she teaches others to do the same.


Hi Diana Raab

 Welcome to Paperback Writer.

 Thank you for having me.

Q:  Would you share with us how you came up with the idea for your book? 

 I have been writing for over 40 years. Most of my creative work originates in my journals. After being diagnosed with breast cancer I immediately began journaling. Eventually I transformed my journals into a memoir and self-help book for others.

Q:  Was it a light bulb moment or something that you thought about for a very long time?

 Intuitively,  I write about what I am going through.

Q: How did you come up with the title?

 Brainstorming with my publisher.

 Q:  How did you find an agent and publisher?

 I sent out queries. Many, many queries.

Q: How long did it take you to complete the first draft?

 The first draft was a part of my creative thesis in nonfiction writing at Spalding University in Kentucky. It took about one year.

Q:  What’s your favorite time of day to write?

 The mornings.

Q:   Do you have a writing routine? Daily goals (# of pages, word count) or a specific ritual you do to jumpstart the writing muse.

 Depending upon my ritual, I have a few centering rituals, such as lighting a candle, having a cup of coffee and/or meditation. If I am stuck on what to write about, I do what I suggest to my students, on the top of my page I write, “I don’t know what to write about today,” and somehow this gets me going! Otherwise I turn to reading my favorite authors who inform my work.

Q:  With all that you have encountered on the road to publication what advice would you give to new authors.

 Persistence pays off.

Thank you, Diana Raab for stopping by Paperback Writer. I wish you continued success with your tour.

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