When you think about your own self-care, does writing ever come to mind? If your answer is yes, then we’d love to hear about your experiences.
Writing for wellbeing has a long history, is backed by a growing evidence-base and it comes in many shapes and sizes. Now, we’re celebrating just how supportive the written word can be through our #writingcan initiative!
‘It’s amazing what we can do with just a pen and paper, keyboard and screen – the places we can go, the doors we can unlock, the light that suddenly pours in.’
Share your story
We’re inviting anyone who has found writing to be beneficial for their wellbeing, in whatever way, to get in touch. You can send us as much or as little detail as you like, from just a sentence about why you value writing to a longer example of how writing has helped you.
‘So many people have a story to tell about how writing has touched their life,’ says Christina Bunce, WriteWell co-founder and director. ‘It might be the small, everyday things that make a difference – such as keeping a diary or writing lists to help manage the ups and downs of daily life.
‘For others, writing can be life-changing. It may have helped them through a difficult time, such as losing a loved one or going through illness. There are lots of stories out there. We’re hoping to collect as many as possible.’
Finding support in unexpected places
For some people, writing as a wellbeing activity comes naturally. Journalling is one popular approach – a ‘way in’ that is extremely versatile. There are numerous activities to suit different needs and personalities.
Other people come across the concept of ‘writing for wellbeing’ unexpectedly. This was certainly the case for WriteWell’s founders. In 2007, Christina Bunce and Susannah Marriott set up the first Masters’s degree in writing to take place entirely online. It was a bold decision at the time and it was a great success. It also led to some unexpected results.
‘We noticed that our online students were collaborating more than our on-campus students. They were creating amazing work and had also developed their own support network,’ says Christina. ‘At around this time, too, we began to notice that writing was having a positive impact on our learners’ wellbeing. Often people were drawing on their own personal experiences as part of their writing. Some were weaving more challenging experiences from their own lives into their work – whether it was fiction or non-fiction – and through the writing process, they seemed to be finding a sense of resolution. As they developed their writing skills, their confidence in other areas of life seemed to grow too.’
A chance meeting
The story might have ended there if it hadn’t been for a chance meeting between Christina, Susannah and the writer & poetry therapist Victoria Field.
‘Victoria opened our eyes to the possibilities of using writing in a therapeutic way,’ says Christina. ‘We knew that by taking writing online we could bring its benefits to a wider audience. So, in 2012, we left our university jobs and founded the Professional Writing Academy. It was the UK’s first online education company dedicated to writing and creative talent development.’
The journey continued in 2015 when Christina and Susannah collaborated with Victoria and another therapeutic writing expert, Anne Taylor. Together, they developed a new course: Introduction to Therapeutic and Reflective Writing.
‘We were taking a chance. The course was an experiment, really. But the first 8-week programme sold out and so did the second one. We were getting very encouraging feedback from students and the course is still going strong today,’ comments Christina.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in 2020, Christina and Susannah saw another opportunity. They created WriteWell – an online space that combines the strength of a community with the power of writing and creativity for self-care. Through everyday activities, bite-sized classes, short courses, events and more, people can add simple but effective strategies to their wellbeing and recovery toolkits.
‘We know from our own experience and from the evidence-base out there that writing is a powerful tool,’ Christina comments. ‘It’s affordable, accessible and can be used in a huge variety of ways. There are so many reasons for people to add writing to their list of self-care activities.’
Help us to spread the word
WriteWell’s #writingcan initiative is celebrating the many ways writing can support wellbeing. With your help, we can spread the word even further.