If you’ve spent any amount of time on the WriteWell platform, you’ll have come across the calm and resourceful presence of Community Guide, Claire Maguire. She’s the go-to for answering queries and helping members navigate their way around the website – if you have a question, Claire will meticulously hunt down the answer, if she doesn’t already have it to hand.
Claire is also a fully qualified first-aider for mental health, so she’s well equipped to provide support and guidance around some of the more difficult emotions that can crop up when working through challenging writing topics.
“When you write and share with a group it gives deeper understanding and clarity on all things worldly. This helps us not to judge each other but instead form a compassionate and loving response to ourselves and the people in our lives.”
Many of you will also recognise Claire from the 7-day mindfulness challenge course and the weekly Just Write Together meet-ups on Tuesday mornings, where her down-to-earth demeanour has a way of putting people at ease, making the space feel especially safe and inspiring for all who attend. These weekly group Zooms are one of Claire’s favourite aspects of the WriteWell community: ‘…listening to others helps motivate me’, she says of the meet-ups. ‘I always feel good after the Just Write Together sessions’.
And for those of you who have noted the dulcet tones of Claire’s lilting Irish brogue, you won’t be surprised to learn of her radio background, presenting the news on Today FM and Newstalk, Ireland’s national radio stations, for over 10 years. It was there she worked as a Broadcast and Multimedia Journalist, spending time as a producer on the Sunday Business Show before moving into education, which eventually brought her to The Professional Writing Academy therapeutic writing team in 2019, and finally to WriteWell. Claire has also lectured with the internationally acclaimed ‘Centre For Talented Youth’ at Dublin City University, a high achievers academic programme for under 18s.
In addition to her work for WriteWell, Claire runs a private yoga school outside Dublin where she promotes wellbeing through postures and meditation. She also wrote a monthly opinion column with Inspire Magazine offering new and alternative ideas concerning health and living. For her, writing is yet another facet of a healthy, thriving lifestyle and one crucial in supporting our mental health. Partial to poetry, she’s found writing such a comfort during difficult times, such as the lockdowns of recent memory: ‘I felt when no one around me would listen to a voice of reason, the page would,’ she says. ‘And It did. I felt a hundred times better for writing my thoughts down. It gave huge clarity to my inquisitive and truth-seeking mind.’
Claire has found the most powerful benefits of writing can often take you by surprise. This was particularly true of the Your Dog, Your Mirror course, 4 weeks of writing exercises fostering self-discovery by seeing yourself through your dog’s eyes. ‘It brought back wonderful memories of my dog from childhood,’ she says. But what she hadn’t expected was the way the course would lead her back to moments with her mam, who had passed away in 2020. ‘[Her loss] left a gaping hole in my life’, she shared. ‘Writing is a form of meditation,’ Claire explains, ‘which helps to tap into the subconscious mind, a place where suppressed emotions reside and sometimes trauma too’.
But the best thing about WriteWell for Claire is simply the way it gets people writing regularly. ‘When someone posts to the course forums or to the Everyday Activities forum I get a thrill of excitement,’ she explains. ‘It is such a wonderful feeling to be able to read and comment on other people’s poetry or stories, as often their words and ideas resonate with me.’ As to why she feels writing is so important to our mental health, Claire explains: ‘writing is like an empathy machine. We have so many thoughts and words spinning about our heads every moment of every day, repetitive and sometimes negative, or even destructive. Writing helps to slow down our thinking and to be in the present moment. This helps us not to judge each other but instead form a compassionate and loving response to ourselves and the people in our lives.’
Fun Facts about Claire:
Most loved exercises and courses? Your Dog, Your Mirror, Highlighter Poetry or the Feel Good in 3 writing prompts (A Place to Relax, Mindful Moment and Free Your Mind).
Hand-written or typed? I like to type. I see the words very clearly that way. Sentences form much quicker and my creative juices flow more easily. Though, when inspiration strikes, I’ll jot it down on a scrap of paper and often it’s with a crayon or a marker, anything I find nearby.
Poetry or Prose? Poetry
Favourite thing about Writewell? Just Write Together
You can find Claire on Tuesday mornings at the Just Write Together meet-ups, posting useful tips and kind words on the course forums, or by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.