‘I have never looked back’ — how WriteWell launched a new career.
When journalist and former nurse Kathryn Godfrey signed up for the Navigating Change course on the WriteWell platform, she had no idea just how much it would change her life.
I have worked with the written word as a journalist for many years. But it was only when I discovered writing for wellbeing through WriteWell that I started to enjoy writing just for writing’s sake.
Having worked in health journalism for many years, Kathryn knew she felt ready for a change, but she felt stuck — unsure of what that change should be or how exactly to move forward. As a former nurse and health visitor, she had always felt passionate about the necessity of supporting mental health — something that led her to train as a Buteyko breathing therapist, exploring the important relationship between how we breathe and how we feel both physically and mentally. But though Kathryn had worked with the written word for many years, it wasn’t until discovering WriteWell that she began to understand how writing could also be used as a tool for supporting mental and physical wellbeing.
‘During a WriteWell workshop I wrote a poem that I was pleased with and opened up an area of creativity that I had not considered before. I tried out more and more of the activities including Positive Postcards and Who’s On Your Team which, with my interest in football, I particularly enjoyed. After building my confidence I took the plunge and did a four-week course on WriteWell called Navigating Change.’
Little did she know just how much those four weeks would change her life. ‘Doing the exercises made me realise what was holding me back and enabled me to leave a job I really needed to leave. Doing the course gave me the confidence to move forward and identify the blockers that were holding me back. I handed my notice in and took this lovely job with the supportive team at WriteWell’.
Now, Kathryn is the business development and partnerships lead at WriteWell. This ties in well with her previous experience as a journalist and in developing online learning products in partnership with different organisations. Her focus is always on how the online resource can best serve its audience and on how partners can work together to get the best result for all involved. Asked what excites her most about her position, she says: ‘I love working for a unique project that makes writing for wellbeing more accessible and available to all. Writing for wellbeing is such a powerful tool. It is great that more people are getting the opportunity to benefit by using our low-cost and supportive resources.’
Even though she’s now part of the staff side of the operation, Kathryn still uses the WriteWell resources every day. She particularly enjoys the Feel Good In 3 exercises, which set her up for the day and help her to work through any issues that are bothering her.
She also enjoys the Just Write Together sessions that run most Tuesday mornings: ‘It’s a joy,’ she says. ‘It’s run by Claire, our community guide, who is so warm and welcoming. Every session is different in what you write about but every session makes me feel better and makes me think about an issue in my life or brings thoughts to the fore that interest me. It is all revealing and stimulating’. Kathryn also tries to attend as many of the specialist author workshops as she can. ‘I always learn something new about writing,’ she explains, ‘and something about myself’.
Kathryn cautions that writing doesn’t always come easily. On those days when the words won’t flow, she finds it helpful to remind herself of the tremendous amount of research behind writing for wellbeing: ‘When you look into it, there is an amazing range of benefits and not just for mental health — physical health as well.’ Reminding herself of just how good writing is for mental and physical wellbeing helps rekindle the inspiration and motivates her to keep going.
Fun Facts about Kathryn:
Hand-written or typed? I prefer to write with pen and paper as you can do mind maps, arrows and underlining easily. I use writing to work out issues that are bothering me so I rarely do so in a linear way as typing would not work. Also, I associate the computer with work and I see writing as being more creative. I like painting as well so writing with pen and paper is closer to that art form.
Poetry or Prose? Definitely prose. I do like poetry but often it feels to me as if it is trying to communicate complex thoughts with too few words. Why not just use prose and then it is easier to say what you want.
Favourite thing about Writewell? The Just Write Together session which runs every Tuesday morning and the specialist author events.
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