Reader of the Month: Keith Maginn

Hi all! If you’re just coming into this week’s series, be sure to check out the Reader of the Month section to stay updated with this month’s very inspiring people/readers of the month.

Our next reader of the month is Keith Maginn, an inspiring man, who overcame many difficulties to get to where he is today. He is a self-published author, who has two books out right now, so be sure to check those out! He also started his own “Pay it Forward” movement with a friend across the United States. Go Keith! You can read his article below:

Reader of the Month #4: Keith Maginn

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“I’m not what I ought to be, I’m not what I’m going to be, but thank God I’m not what I used to be.”

This famous quote sums up where I am these days. I am still a work in progress, but I am light years beyond where I was just a few years ago. There were times back then when I wondered if life was worth living. I do not feel that way whatsoever anymore.

About five years ago, I found myself sitting outside of a psych ward in Atlanta, Georgia. My fiancée was struggling terribly with bipolar depression. I had done everything I could, but was powerless to help her. I was also fighting my own battle with chronic pain and anxiety. I had no idea what I could do to turn things around. No matter how hard I fought, how much I prayed, things seemed to get worse and worse.

I soon found myself slipping into a deep depression, though I remained outwardly happy. Few of my family, friends or co-workers had any idea how desperate my predicament had become. My fiancée was adamant that no one know what she was going through, but I knew I couldn’t keep everything bottled up inside. I was perilously close to a complete nervous breakdown. Not wanting to betray her trust and talk to anyone, I started writing. It was my therapy, the only way to get some of the anger, sadness and confusion out of me.

I have been writing most of my life, as far back as I can remember. But it was never focused writing, just here and there. Now the words (and emotions) poured out of me. The story seemed to write itself. I realized that others might benefit from what I was writing. I felt people could relate to at least some of what I went through: heartbreak, depression, chronic pain, frustration…

Despite more hardships and heartbreak initially, my life gradually started to improve. I felt I was doing what I was meant to be doing, fulfilling my purpose. My mental and physical health improved and I had a new direction in life, a new focus. Things were looking up, finally.

Keith in Kiawah

When I started writing what eventually became Turning This Thing Around, I had no plans of ever publishing it. I wrote for myself, for my own sanity. But what started as a very personal diary evolved into something that I wanted to share with others. If I could overcome what I had, then others could, too. I decided to take a chance and self-published my writing as a “self-help memoir” (changing my fiancée’s name to protect her privacy).

I had no idea how people would react to my book. Would they think I was feeling sorry for myself and looking for pity? I had my doubts, but I am very glad I decided to go ahead with the project. The response was wonderful. I have gotten many replies from people that relate and share their own stories with me. I am happy that people can learn from what I went through and that we can connect on an emotional level. I now know that people are often going through more than they show, making empathy, kindness and understanding all the more important.

As Eckhart Tolle said in The Power of Now, my challenges helped me grow as a person and gave me more “depth, humility and compassion.” I knew it was time to be around my family and closest friends after ten years of living four hours away. Once I swallowed my pride and reached out to them, their support was overwhelming.

Keith with nephew Ryan

I moved home two years ago and threw myself into writing. In January, I self-published my second book, Goodwill Tour: Paying It Forward, about a philanthropic road-trip that I went on with a friend around the southeastern United States. After working at a library for the past year and a half, I took a leap of faith last month, leaving my job to pursue writing full-time. I don’t know what will happen, but I will in no way regret not giving my dream everything that I’ve got. Though I may never understand why I have gone through what I have, I remind myself often that I am right where I am supposed to be and that everything happens for a reason.

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[As an unknown, independent author, I am grateful to people like Christine for giving me a platform to help spread my message. I also appreciate people like you for reading my story. I would love to connect with you on Twitter (@Keith_Maginn) or at my website (keithmaginn.com). Thank you and all the best!!]

Super Keith

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30 Responses to Reader of the Month: Keith Maginn

  1. Great story, Keith!! I salute you for your courage and for following your inspiration despite the misgivings you felt at the time! I believe you truly are living your life’s purpose. As an ex-depressive, I can relate!! Way to go!

  2. I predict you will do well and writing will be your vehicle of travel. I liked the hope that sharing something deep and real could be the only way we really get to people. They know honesty when they see it.

  3. Even in this short post, your evolution is so apparent. I am sure there are many more layers to reveal and many more insights to gain, but your current place seems to be one of awareness and power. I think many could learn from you.

  4. Wonderfully inspiring blog post, have enjoyed it fantastically and it really does give food for thought on many levels. Thank you 🙂

  5. RAmccolley says:

    I really love to hear of people overcoming their obstacles. I believe sometimes they are there for a purpose, so kudos to all who persevere and move beyond them to find their strength!

  6. sow4hope says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I find it very encouraging as I am in the middle of a similar project. I am writing a book that is helping me understand & overcome various traumas in my past & the different person I am now – the journey. Like you Keith I am not certain if I will publish it. Again thank you for the encouragement! Keep it up & God Bless you!

    • Keith Maginn says:

      I think it is good that you are writing your own story, sow4hope. I found the process very therapeutic and I learned things about myself that I would not have known otherwise. You are welcome…and thank you for the kind words! Keep up the writing!!

  7. starlarosa says:

    I love what you’re doing on your blog x I think it’s great x I have you as one of my nominations for versatile blogger award 🙂 http://sembanks.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/thank-you/

  8. Simona says:

    Hey Keith it’s Simona I haven’t read any of your books yet, but I did read your article it’s great. We miss you back at home. God Bless You!!

  9. Simona says:

    Thanks god bless you to.

    • Simona says:

      Yeah that’s me, Sarah, and my mom. Knoxville us!! We really miss you!

      • Keith Maginn says:

        Great to hear from you, Simona. My best to you, your mom, dad and siblings. I miss you guys, too! I’d love to send you all an e-mail update. Here’s my e-mail: maginnka@yahoo.com. If you all do e-mail, would you reply with yours or just shoot me an e-mail (so you don’t have to make it visible online)? All the best!

  10. Simona says:

    Keep in touch with us!! 🙂

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