How Norwich writing workshop can help your wellbeing
PUBLISHED: 19:00 10 November 2020
Leah Larwood is running a series of online courses to help you feel happier.
Tell us about the writing for wellbeing workshops...
Usually writing for wellbeing workshops last between one and two hours. This really is the optimum amount of time because in writing for wellbeing, it’s introspective, so you’re not studying form and technical aspects of literature, you’re tapping into how you’re feeling and exploring what that means to you, it’s about what you’re experiencing rather than what makes an excellent piece of writing. Usually what happens is we’ll start off by easing into the session with a small activity, then there will be poetry, or other writing, that we read. This will often act as a springboard, which is when we then use different writing prompts and guided exercises for you to do during the session. Often these little exercises offer new insights and a way for you to explore and process your feelings.
In what ways does creative writing help with wellbeing? Especially as we’re now in another lockdown.
Writing for wellbeing is an insightful way to work with the unconscious and tap into feelings you didn’t know you were experiencing or else as a way to unpick something...and it can even help to heal experiences both from the past and things we’re going through at the moment. It can also give participants a greater sense of connection with others in the group, a feeling that you’re given yourself space and time just for you. Often the exercises can lead to integration of self and more self-compassion – these are all good things to experience at any time, and especially now. Participants may also find it’s a supportive thing for now in particular because often it can help people learn how to deal more creatively with what can’t be changed.
Looking at the programme online, the workshops are focused on connecting with nature and the environment – how is tuning into your surroundings and the seasons beneficial to wellbeing?
I think it’s important to harness the seasons we’re in, to slow down and reflect in the winter, to emerge and try new things in the spring and work with that feeling of abundance that summer evokes. Working with the seasons can be really beneficial, and a good way to tune into our surroundings and get the most out of the different qualities we find in the changing seasons.
If someone is a beginner, or hasn’t really done any creative writing for a long time, for example since school, can they join in the workshops?
Yes absolutely. You don’t need any writing experience to join. There are no rules in writing for wellbeing. You don’t need to have any writing experience whatsoever, just an interest in exploring texts and using writing as a way to explore self. In fact, it’s not about creating a fine piece of literature or a poem (though many people find they are left with a piece of writing they would like to develop further). It’s not compulsory for participants to share their work with the rest of the group, though people tend to make more breakthroughs when they do. You don’t need to prepare for the session and you can say as much or as little as you like in the group
When did you start writing? And how does it help your own wellbeing?
I’ve always enjoyed writing as a form of creativity. When I was young I used to write short stories and a I kept a dream diary too (I still keep dream diaries now). I then went on to study a MA in Creative Writing, which was around 10 years ago. In recent years I’ve written poems as a way to explore my own wellbeing, to express my feelings and as a way to understand certain aspects of my life a little better. I find the process of reading an inspiring poem and then writing my response to it, which can sometimes end up as a short story or my own poem. It’s a very cathartic experience. As Elizabeth Goudge said: “A poem can be like two hands that lift you up and put you down in a new place”. That really rings true I think.
Leah is running a series of writing for wellbeing workshops over Zoom in the next few months.
Dream Writing Workshop: Nocturnal Journaling
December 5, 11am-12.30pm
Use your dreams to understand yourself better. Learn the golden rules of dream journaling, the benefits of documenting your dreams, and take part in some guided writing exercises to help you process and explore your dreams and find creative inspiration while you sleep.
Winter Solstice: Twinkles in the coal pile
Sunday, December 20, 4-6pm or Monday December 21, 6.30pm–8.30pm
Harness and tap into the still and wild beauty of winter, embracing the darkness and slowing down.
Before the Clock Strikes: Using poetry to find New Year gifts
December 31, 3-5pm
Examine the highs and lows of 2020, ways we’ve grown or adapted, things we’ve learnt and explore what you will do with our “one wild and precious life” in 2021.
Planting seeds: Winter Wellbeing Writing
Five weeks from February 27 until March 27, 4-6pm
This writing for wellbeing five-week course offers a safe and creative space to explore the final month of winter, arguably the hardest stretch for some, and transitioning from the season’s wild and still nature, into the first glimpses of spring.
To book on any of the workshops email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit themoonlab.net/writing-therapy
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