Please feel free to share your poem in the comment box. I will check it out and put it up. You don’t have to be a great poet, but have something you want to say in verse. Lots of interesting poems are written, but never get shared or read. There is much talk about copyright, but what is the point of copyright on something that never gets read? This is an opportunity to share what you have written, for only the satisfaction of knowing that someone else has read it.If you want to put a link to your poetry publication you can.
I wonder why I can’t write A work to inspire acclaim! It isn’t that I’m not that bright, Or have no talent to my name. With creativity I’m more than blessed. Wisdom floods r…
Source: A Wanna Be Writer’s Lament
Sri Lanka is where I have spread the word about Creative Writing and enjoy being an observer of the culture here.
Three years ago I complained to our British foreign minister that this fountain was in a poor state of repair and so was the area around it. Sri Lanka had been through 20 years of civil war and a bomb blast at the temple.
The fountain was forged in Glasgow and it was put in situ in 1875 for the then Prince of Wales. He came here to look around against the advice of the UK government. Sri Lanka was not at all like it is now. Sadly, HRH came here to shoot animals. Having a broken fountain doesn’t change that.
Now it has been beautifully restored and local people and visitors alike can enjoy it.
This is what I love about Sri Lanka. Someone needed to dry their washing and found a suitable spot.
When you stand in this spot the smell of the flower stalls selling jasmine and lotus flowers is
I would like to extend my reply to a young would be writer I chatted with on face book. You will see from my bio that I taught Creative Writing in adult education for 18 years. After retirement I am still teaching the subject to a more diverse cross section of students, but for the pleasure of doing so. Creative Writing has become my way of life for which I rarely get paid but love to do.
In the last sentence is the truth of the life for most writers so why teach the subject to young people when they are going to need a paid job?
Scientists need imagination to ask, what if? Computer studies can take on real purpose when a writer understands how everything you learn to do with a computer will help support a writing career. In fact, you can’t be a writer these days without access to the net and the ability to compute. Making a web site, taking photos and editing them, making videos as well as excel for spread sheets etc., If you want to be a writer go to every computer class you can and learn at home.
A child said to me, “I don’t need maths to write.” That was wishful thinking. Marketing needs maths to record incoming and outgoings (your outgoings will be bigger than your incomings to begin with). You need to be able to make reliable financial projections and analyse your business responses to tweets, blogs, Facebook etc.
History can give a depth to your stories and you can learn history by making up your own stories around historical events choosing to be historical characters. The man who thought up Horrible Histories was on to a winner.
Improving your college C.V. can come from running or contributing to the school magazine. Working to dead lines and seeing your name in print are useful skills. Getting involved in the school play is a huge writers’ learning curve and fun.
Sociology and cultural studies teaches about other people, they could be your potential readers. If you are going to be a writer you need readers. Who are they? Communication and media studies are often criticised as soft options for ‘a’ level subjects and for a degree. I would disagree. They are only poor subjects if the students believe these courses will make them rich and famous. These subjects can be stepping stones into a wider job market. i.e. A film studies student and artist became a make-up artist for carnival and minor films. She makes her money from weddings. You can learn a list of subjects by studying film and whatever you choose to do in life is will not be based on one subject.
The broad picture! Science teaches the writer useful facts and teaches the scientist how to use fiction to imagine new outcomes.
Our brains are wired to learn from multi sources other than plain facts on a page. Add pictures and stories and the facts are easier to learn – that’s a known fact.
Learning languages, in my case teaching English as a foreign language, Creative Writing is a great confidence builder. We now know that students encouraged to use a language creatively and allowed to make mistakes and mix a native language with a new language have better learning outcomes at the end of 5 years than those who learn solely from a book. In Sri Lanka children can use three languages in one sentence. It was thought this would discourage them from learning English but the opposite has proven to be true. Interesting.
Art and music, for inspiration
and story writing. Poetry to music for the school play. Music for your videos and knowing which music to mention in a story.
I guess there is a book here but I’m busy writing fiction. In the meantime I thought I would share these random thoughts.
If you have ideas to contribute or examples, please add them to the comments box or send me a link to your blog.
2. Creative Writing for Adults
I want to share what I have learned for free. You might like to check out my other blogs.
Please forgive the link to my book on Amazon. My Romantic Comedy only 99p and it gets 5* reviews around the world. http://tinyurl.com/jd6bn9 Has a target audience of women 35+ I know men read it too.
facebook; Marriage, a Journey and a Dog
I recently wrote a reply to an Indie author bemoaning on Facebook they weren’t making sales on line. I think my reply is worth sharing.
There are 1.5 million Indie books published in the US alone, every year. I wondered how many of these authors buy Indie books?
I buy 2 a month as that fills my reading time. Mostly I find them lively and interesting, the occasional one, not so. No different from a traditionally published highly advertised book, they are not always great even if the grammar is pretty much guaranteed. To be a successful Indie author you have to be better than the best, even then you might not make it. It’s like agents who have turned down amazing works of literature many times over but they have gone on to be best selling novels, the reading public are doing the same thing, turning away from amazing possibilities. Don’t miss out on discovering a book that might be brilliant; buy loads of Indie books. How many agents turned down Beatrix Potter and J. K .Rowling etc. As an Indie author your experience may be like theirs and you have to keep marketing – and waiting, and hoping readers will cotton on to your amazing book.
In the meantime why not buy a few Indie books and enjoy the whole reading writing scene?
As a Creative Writing tutor I have read across genre, often reading genres I would not have freely chosen. Sometimes they have surprised me at how much I have enjoyed reading them, sometimes I have found them awkward and uninteresting. I am never sorry to have read them. The bad ones teach me how not to write a book and I think about the author who has embarked on a learning curve and , on day, they might become a great writer. Everyone starts somewhere.
From a writer’s perspective reaching the top rung of success can be an unrealistic goal. If you play tennis are you going to be a Wimbledon champion? Would you give up singing if you weren’t the winner of X Factor? You can enjoy playing tennis and singing at any level – you can enjoy writing at any level.
Make friends and meet people on line and through organisations; enjoy working on language skills, going to literary festivals etc. There is so much more to do when you are interested in writing than become famous. Even listening to related programmes on radio or analysing something you are watching on T.V. I would recommend a writer’s life to anyone.
Why do people ask, ‘Do you write? What have you published?’ Would we ask, ‘Do you play tennis? What tournaments have you won? If a writer is successful they will tell you without being asked!
It’s all about money for some potential authors. If that’s you and you’re starting out, make sure you have a good day job.
I have made a living out of writing. I started out earlier than most and this was a big advantage. From selling articles and poems to major magazines my writing career developed. I went into education and taught other people to write, I wrote Creative Writing examinations and marked them. This gave people a qualification that was recognised in a subject they enjoyed and I loved teaching. Splitting the subject into communications and media studies at level 3 meant that adult students could use it for university entrance.
The aspect of my career I enjoyed the most was Creative Writing for rehab of mental health patients, for prisoners, and as a stepping stone for homeless people back into education.
Over the past few years I have been teaching Creative Writing in Sri Lanka (for free), a work/vacation. I’m lucky that writing has added so much to life, and I believe in can for others. Don’t be a lone writer, get out there and join in things.
What I really have written this blog for, is to say to indie authors – buy indie books. If we all did this we could start an indie revolution.
As I sit looking at my cup of coffee I realise that for half the price of that coffee I can download an Indie book. For the whole cup – thats 2 books (I’m sure you worked that out). So what if I don’t enjoy them all? I will certainly enjoy most. Of all my reading this year one indie book stood out and I will always remember it. I bought it because I met the author at one of these social writing events and bought the paperback. Indie books can be better than the best.
My husband has met people at these indie events when he has tagged along with me. Occasionally he smiles at the daft book, but it made him smile and other times he has raved on about how good a book is. Because it’s indie he has been able to read their blog, join their twitter etc. and he has spoken to the author and might meet them again.
I write reviews when I’ve read a book, but if it is not my usual genre I say so, that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth a good review . If it really is bad then I don’t say anything. I’m sure a poor writer is capable of giving back what they get. When I do write a poor review it is for a highly publicised book and the story genuinely isn’t good. I hate reading a traditional published book with the might of the media behind it and it could – no should be better. You can forgive indie books but not professional writers. Readers have often agreed with my review and said so. If I love it I do always say so, or if it’s good but not my type of book it may be worth 5*.
Christmas is coming and I’ve order my presents – I want paperback Indie books and they will cost under £10 They will give me several hours of pleasure when Christmas is over. ‘Which indie book,’ I’m asked. My reply, ‘Surprise me. You know me.’
I belong to BGS. If you are looking for an indie book join this site or something similar.
See what other people are reading. Goodreads has indie books with reviews.
Be bold and make an Indie book a regular addition to a book club reading list. My Romantic Comedy is only 99p 5* reviews around the world. http://tinyurl.com/jd6bn9a
Writing is a journey to which there is no end. Writing for pleasure, for therapy or for profit, there is always a reason to write.
Here are some ideas for you:
Write a story for ‘pleasure’ it can be about anything, It needs a beginning, a middle and an end. For ‘therapy ‘put yourself into the story as a character, for ‘profit’, be prepared to learn about writing for a market, and keep on writing when success eludes you. For ‘profit’ you must also have access to a computer and knowledge of computing skills. Know if you want to write 500 words or 100,000+.
Write poetry for ‘pleasure’ – enjoy writing with rhythm, for expression of emotion to capture a moment. For ‘therapy’, write out your thoughts and put them into words. Try a stream of consciousness, – (any thoughts as they come into your mind) then write how you feel. For ‘profit ‘- learn poetic structure, read poetry, be prepared to read to an audience and don’t be put off by writing wonderful poetry that doesn’t sell – be satisfied with the achievement of writing to a high standard.
Write articles for newsletters and local magazines. For therapy – share with readers the good, the bad, and the interesting. If you want to write for profit -learn about article writing and marketing articles. It’s a fun thing to do.
Read widely and take on reading challenges, it will help your writing and if you find the right book it can help your situation.
Meet with other writers – at local clubs and meetings – ask at your library for details or look online. Join online groups, (don’t be fooled into spending money unnecessarily). Be an artist and capture in words beautiful places and things or emotions.
When you are writing for therapy don’t get stuck in a groove, push yourself into new experiences with words.
This is the last introductory Writing for therapy Blog.
I’m told that this introduction to Writing for Therapy sounds like I’m chatting more than instructing. I take that as a compliment.
I wrote for pleasure and profit, but of course, therapy is in there too. This book has drawn on some of my life experiences and expresses my sense of humor that has always helped me through. No one is going to escape the challenges of being alive, some challenges are far greater than others. At all times escape into your imagination and create as much positivity as you can.
Click writing for therapy tag to see 5 more blogs or scroll through my blogs.
Writing for pleasure – my book – a wonderful means of expression and a way of life.
Responsibility with words.
Writing for Therapy and Creative Writing can merge into one another. As a tutor you have a responsibility towards your students on both fronts.
Writing for Therapy or Creative Writing cannot ignore the fact that when a freedom with the written word is taking place many truths come out. There is a responsibility as a tutor towards the rest of a group and towards the individual.
Reading out and sharing what you have written can be productive, but there are times when sharing with just one person is better. In a group situation, no pressure should be put on anyone to read out only an opportunity.
A child wrote about her sexual abuse in the home in a Creative Writing class. The subject matter could not be ignored, but judgement as to the truth of it or looking at the possible outcomes of exposure doesn’t lie with a Creative Writing teacher. In this case it was a question of discussing the possible outcomes with someone with more authority and getting another experienced teacher involved. It isn’t the writing teacher’s place to mention names unless advised to do so and the situation of the author protected. Did the child want it mentioned to anyone else and was anyone ready for possible outcomes? This particular case was in a foreign country where I believed the child, but was unaware of the help available. A medical specialist on the subject was found, she took over and addressed the children in the class on the subject, then made herself available should anyone want to go and see her or importantly – write her a note.
The words people write need careful handling, especially on sensitive subjects.
A student in my adult Writing for Therapy class wrote of very severe abuse as a child – she also wrote about a wonderful childhood. After three weeks I realised that she had a dual personality and was under the mental health care unit.Tutors aren’t told everything when a group starts. I did nothing as I knew she was getting all the help she needed and as to the truth of what she wrote I had no idea. This particular lady enjoyed coming to class and socializing. I moved her onto writing creatively for pleasure and her obvious language skills were a pleasure to listen to. In a creative writing class her abilities were appreciated and there weren’t many places she could feel accepted. A class promoting imagination suited her.
I was moved by a poem of a 15 year old who wrote about prostitution. Clearly this was not her situation, but she was looking sympathetically at the woman’s situation who could not feed her children. Writing for Therapy or Creative Writing can bring about understanding. It can scratch beneath a surface.
Writing for therapy is a stepping stone that leads somewhere else, and it can be a process of bettering a situation.
Eat cream cakes and chocolate to stay thin might sell a lot of books. Perfect your life with Writing for Therapy, might also sell books – neither would be true. Cheering yourself up with a doughnut or chocolate can do your mood good and put weight on, would be real life. Write for therapy or pleasure and experience of the power of words – now that would be accurate.
One last case history. I was asked to teach Creative Writing in a faith school where self expression and uncontrolled personal thoughts were not encouraged. Several students came to me confused between what they felt and the inhibitions on what they could write, set on them by this secluded sect. I ploughed on teaching the students Creative Writing for their exam in the only way I knew. In the end, I was not asked back and the cook was asked to teach them instead. I don’t know if they ever passed their English exams. Before leaving I read them Michael Rosen’s poem about chocolate, only to be asked by the students not to read poems about chocolate again as they weren’t allowed to eat it. Problems emerged when, in the poetry class they started to write what they felt and began asking me about their thoughts and feelings. I told them there were books available and they must ask about them. What the sect made of their poems I don’t know.
In my own family when the children went through hard times, as they all do, I encouraged them to turn to creativity, art, sewing etc., and of course writing stories. They have grown up to write all the time and find it a great outlet and can make money from it as well.
Keep on writing
You might like reading Romantic Comedy – A good read can cheer you up.
Writing for pleasure, this is my book, and a wonderful means to express myself and way of life for me. – Marriage, a Journey and a Dog http://tinyurl.com/jve22js paperback and ebook, internationally available on Amazon and other platforms.
Catch the moon on a beautiful summers night. Keep it in your memory as it disappears. Inspiring romance, and ghost stories. Myths versus science. Carrying dreams through the night.
A writing for therapy tool kit.
Where would you like to start?
A writing for therapy diary? Write words of self expression and encouragement every day. Add on achievable goals.
Write a letter to yourself from an imagined person.
Write a letter to someone else – real or unreal. Post it, bin it or keep it.
Write a past problem you cannot change and ‘carefully’ burn it.
Make yourself a character in a story and write your own different life. See if any goals come up – like reading – it can be escapism. Ask yourself, What would I have my character do?’
Write down what you would like to say to someone – give it to them or practice saying it in a good way. If you can’t say or give it to them at least you have told the paper.
N.B. You don’t have to be good at your language skills – just imaginative as to how you can use what you know.
If you are happy writing you can improve your skills if you want to. Read books on how to, join a writing group, go to writing events in your area or in a different country. If you say you are not good at writing, but want to learn my experience of writers is they are caring people and they will help you.
Write a sketch with someone like you in it and create characters who speak with you or back to you.
Personification is giving an animal or object human characteristics. You can use this in your writing.
Write a plan for discovering something new – new music – the natural world – friendships – new places, etc.
Look to move on – answers are not always looking back.
1 A precious daughter fell out with her mother when the father died. The mother didn’t understand why. Trying to address the problem proved fruitless. The mother used a word association to see if anything could be done ‘now’. When the answer was that the relationship could not be forced the mother wrote of her feelings and made a plan to move herself on and quietly hope that that the relationship would mend in time.
Her creative word association helped her to make a plan, including travel and a new hobby or two. If or when her daughter settled back into the relationship the mother would be a stronger, happier person – that was the goal for a diary.
2 Bullying is an often internalised situation. ‘Don’t speak to anyone’ – OK don’t, but you can write your thoughts and feelings down. Find a trusted person to share them with if you can. Make a plan to find written material on the internet or in a book – there is lots of help out there. Keep a record of events. It’s a small tool that students and people dealing with workplace bullies have found useful.
3. Slimming stories abound and unlike a lot of slimming advice, ideas for finding ways of helping yourself can be found through writing for therapy and sharing in a group, and the help you can give yourself and share is FREE. Keep a slimming diary, put notes on the fridge, make a shopping list, engage in an interesting hobby, add more ideas in the comments please.
Pick up a pen and paper take it with you everywhere.
I hope these ideas may be useful to all the readers of Writing for Therapy – Introduction.
You might like to read Romantic Comedy – A good read can always cheer you up.
Writing for pleasure, this is my book, and a wonderful means to express myself and make writing a way of life for me. – http://tinyurl.com/jgqpgyw paperback and ebook, internationally available on Amazon and other platforms.
Sharing words that you feel (or maybe didn’t know you felt), is a heightened experience when expressed through poetic language – without the restraints of sentence structure and with freedom of expression.
Faced with four students who were in prison for murder, torture, and knife crime, writing poetry sounded an impossible class to take. They were men with their own ideas and, with a little guidance, managed to translate raw emotion into words.
One young 3 times murderer sat in class and said, ‘I can’t write anything it hurts too much.’ – Such is the power of words. His childhood had been depraved beyond belief. Expression of thoughts can lead to rehabilitation. I repeat – counselling is a specialised field. Through Writing for Therapy students can listen to themselves and if they choose, they can help each other and seek out helpful resources.
Words can be used to underline perverted behaviour as well as relieving problems, this is a journey to a destination that is not one a tutor would personally want or want a student to go down. As with all therapies, there can be a downside.
Sharing written words with the homeless, and mental health patients is a means of expressing raw emotion and a recognition of amazing insights.
A lady who was agoraphobic was able to write meaningful poetry and, eventually read her poetry in public. I taught the poetry – not the mental health rehabilitation – that was the job of other professionals. Writing for Therapy was a stepping stone for her.
A popular topic these days might be weight loss or financial issues. A marriage breaking down was happening to a student with arguments all the time. They were able to work out that the problem was not each other, but the stresses they both had and together they should shift their attention to working together on issues.
This is an outcome that was right for them. All students and situations are different. This anecdote happens to show what would be considered a positive outcome. Another outcome maybe helping someone to help themselves through a divorce. That could be positive in a different way.
How do we convert a creative word association to poetry if you have never written it poetry before?
Take a sheet of writing paper. Draw a margin down the left and right hand side.
Take ‘one’ word from your word association and start writing.
Keep your poem to the topic you have chosen.
Try to use more than one of your words.
Don’t write complete sentences – write your thoughts in short phrases.
You have a kind of poetry.
If you are Writing for Therapy it is about the subject you have chosen – not about writing perfect poetry. Creative Writing is about writing great poems. People who can write poetry so often use it as a therapeutic expression – it comes naturally to them.
I write poetry to entertain and make people laugh. That is a kind of therapy.
When teaching Writing for Therapy or Creative Writing, with the freedom of language and touching someones inner thoughts, comes responsibility. When the words are out, what do you do with any far reaching outcomes?
As a tutor you should be part of a team and know where to refer people if someone wants more help. This can be part of a plan as a result of analyzing word associations. Students should look for the resources they need to pursue a plan , and ask around. If you are writing for therapy on your own, look for resources, take action.
It’s like a shopping list of what you need to do. Resources are not always associated with the problem, but to a broader spectrum of answers.
For all of us poetry can be a meaningful tool. Reading and listening can be powerful. Make poetry a voyage of discovery. Listen to poems they can cheer you up, make you think and share empathy.
Some people only write poems when they are struggling. This is a shame – try writing positive, happy poems and reading them as well.
In most places there are poetry groups and poetry readings – an opportunity to make friends and meet people.
Poetry can be used in any rehabilitation situation or ongoing day to day living.
To write a poem you don’t need to be any sort of expert, it doesn’t even matter if you can’t spell. Launch into it. Think about lyrics for songs. Some don’t make sense but they work in their way. What is your way? Experiment if you are brave enough – share and don’t let anyone put you down. Usually they won’t.
The aim is to start – you don’t know where you might end up – it is a journey.
Try to progress from writing for therapy to writing for pleasure.
Sharing your thoughts with paper is sharing. Only if you want to, do you share your words with other people, written words can be an easy way of organising your thoughts before speaking to someone. If people shared more with someone they value or trust it would save a lot of angst. If you can’t share – seeing yourself on paper can take you further along a path.
When my group of homeless people at the day centre started to write and express themselves openly, for some of them it was the first step back into the world of education and work. They enjoyed the achievement of writing and sharing. For some that was never going to happen, but their stories have left permanent thoughts with me. We published a poetry book for them.It was a great idea but I felt we couldn’t sell it openly as some of the phrases and poems were so good I wasn’t sure if they were really theirs.
If you have a poem written for therapy or a poem you love that someone else wrote about their experiences, (with their permission), please share it in the comments.
Next week – A writing tool kit with exercises.
Writing for pleasure – my book – a wonderful means of expression and a way of life. –
Marriage a Journey and a Dog.