Write Choice Services, Inc.

February 2016

Perspective: Writing Coach vs. Hospital Chaplain

From the Pen of Dr. Tim Morrison, President and Writing Coach of Write Choice Services, Inc.

Most of the readers of this e-newsletter know that I tend to Write Choice Services stuff during the day and on weekends. Late afternoons and evenings during weekdays are devoted to my job as a hospital chaplain. I thrive in both. From the outside one might think there is little, if any, similarity between being a writing coach and a chaplain. But there are similarities between the two jobs. For me the most significant is perspective.

We understand perspective in writing – it is the view from which one elects to write: first person, third person, narrative voice, omniscient observer. Perspective can also address how we elect to present our writing to our target market. Having an understanding of perspective is critical to good writing.

Perspective carries impact for hospital chaplains. My colleagues and I often remark, “Remember, all we do is pray.” Then we laugh or moan. We do so much more than that, but our sense is that staff and patients believe that is what chaplains do, period. And it comes from perspective.

Most people’s perspective of clergy comes from the pastor, priest, rabbi, imam, deacon, elder who leads their faith community. These religious professionals preach, teach and pray and they visit the members of their particular faith community in their homes and in hospitals and when they do, they pray. Ipso facto: chaplains pray. The more times hospital staff interact with chaplains, the more they realize the breadth of insight and actions that chaplains have to offer as part of the healing process. Patients during their hospitalizations gain awareness as well.

This month’s guest columnist, Barry Mirakian, discusses how sitting in his office and gazing at his bookshelves and piles of papers and articles triggered a perspective that he had something valuable to offer out of his career as a consultant. Barry was absolutely correct.

I had the privilege of being Barry’s editor and writing coach. I watched his manuscript take shape, become stronger as he worked and re-worked sections and content. I sensed the passion that he brought to his writing both as a consultant and as an advocate of fly fishing.

I encourage you to ponder Barry’s article in terms of your own career and interests. Don’t we all have books to which we turned to gain insights into what we do? We attended seminars and workshops and online courses. We took what made sense and generated our individual approaches – a unique perspective on how we do what we do.

I challenge you to do as Barry Mirakian has done: share your insights, your stories, your adventures through a book. Let Write Choice Services guide you in that adventure. Click here to contact us and get that journey underway.

Why I Wrote Growth on the Fly

By Barry Mirakian


Why did I embark on a journey to write a book? I am not an author and had never formally written more than an article for a local newspaper.

One winter morning in Vermont, with the bright sun pouring through the windows, I was in my home office looking at a wall of books, notebooks, and magazines stacked on shelves. They were full of business related reading material, writing, and notes. This was material collected during many years of work, study, and research. The spiral notebooks and three ring binders, stacks of manila folders if stacked in a single pile would have been over four feet high. That did not include what had been thrown out or left behind at places I had previously worked and lived.

I have always had an enormous curiosity about why so many businesses and organizations struggle to succeed and so often fail. I began to think about how I could leverage what I had learned through so many rich experiences, from all the reading, studying, and pondering the subject.

Experiences, good and bad, through both successes and failures were recorded in the vast collection of notes. As I thumbed through the notebooks, memories of the experiences, the serendipitous moments, and revelations flooded my mind. I realized that I had something that I could contribute.

The first seeds of summarizing the material began to form in my mind. I thought if I could organize and use the collected material to help just one business succeed, it would be worth the effort. It was at that time I remembered a saying attributed to Wayne W. Dyer, “Don’t die with the music still in you.”  

It was at that moment that I decided that I must write a book. I began to look through more material; to leaf through the business related books heavily marked with pen, pencil and colored marker. I soon began to see common themes. There were quotes from famous and not so famous people. There were quotes rewritten from my memory from others who in real life said them far more eloquently than I.

I began to dig more. The more I dug, the more excited I became. It was like looking back in time over my long career. I began sorting the material by subject in piles on the office floor. Leadership here, strategy there, people, visioning and another half dozen subjects scattered around the office.

I shouted then and there, “I will write a book!”  

That was three years ago. I began sorting and writing slowly. As I learned and practiced writing, I sought coaching and support. The process began to accelerate slowly but steadily – like a train leaving a station from a dead stop. The more confidence I gained, the faster the train rolled. The book was completed recently and is now in the process of final editing for publication. As the book progressed, a title and core purpose suddenly became clear. I named the book Growth on the Fly: the Six Core Principles Required for Making Great Business Decisions. The purpose was to help business owners and their organizations understand how to use the book's core principles to make better informed decisions, especially in critical situations or…on the fly.

The original purpose in authoring the book was to use it as a tool to assist business people and clients to benefit from the knowledge I had gained through experience over several decades. But an unexpected benefit presented itself. The more I wrote, the more I learned. Curiosity kept growing and resulted in doing more research. Business situations I had puzzled over for long periods of time suddenly produced a clarity that surprised me. I learned more than I had ever expected.  

Most importantly, the music came out.



Barry P. Mirakian is the principle of Continuum Group. He has held executive level positions in both large companies and small businesses. Continuum is focused on small business growth and has served dozens of business owners as an executive and staff advisor, consultant, and coach. Visit Continuum's website or email Barry.

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