Writing as Self-Help: A Workshop

writing as self help adult-1868015_960_720Sometimes workshops do not go according to plan. Sometimes that’s a good thing.

Recently I had the privilege of conducting a two-evening workshop on writing as a tool for suicide prevention with a group of five youth. A town nearby had experienced a troubling spate of teen suicides over the past year. A youth worker from the area asked me if, as a writer, I could put a workshop together on how writing might be a prevention tool. Continue reading “Writing as Self-Help: A Workshop”

Writing as Therapy

perplexed woman using writing as therapyMany of us might consider what we do when we write creatively to already be therapeutic; after all, if we didn’t get that story and those characters out of our brains and down on paper, we just might go nuts. But I’ve found a huge therapeutic benefit from writing when I need to vent, when I need to puzzle something out, and when I need to get a grip on some issue so I can quit obsessing about it.

I was reminded of that recently. I was having a problem and needed to write a letter to get it resolved. The sticking point was that I could not lay the problem solely at the doorstep of the people I was sending the letter to; I had a hand in it, as well. Although I had acted in good faith, I had made a weird situation worse, and I had to own up to that. But the overarching problem began with these others. Continue reading “Writing as Therapy”

When Your Writing Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself

ksbnynySome people write as therapy. Some people let their subconscious write. These are both cognizant choices that are made by the author as part of their craft. I’m not talking about either of those.

Have you ever written something that just popped onto the screen? Some strange character backstory – something instrumental in forming the character’s personality – and then thought, “Well, that’s weird. But it works, so I’ll leave it.” Has that ever happened to you? Continue reading “When Your Writing Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself”

Writing: A Healing Art

Ed GriffinGuest Post
by Ed Griffin

Aristotle said, “Art releases unconscious tensions and purges the soul.”

I volunteered to teach creative writing first in a maximum security prison in Wisconsin where I lived. When we moved to Canada in 1988 I volunteered again, but the prison administrator told me I wasn’t needed because Simon Fraser ran a university program at Matsqui prison. A year later the program was cancelled and I started to teach creative writing.

That was twenty years ago and I made Aristotle’s quote my motto. Writing was an art, and it helped people understand themselves. I remember giving an assignment, “Write about a safe place you knew as a child.” Nothing was more productive than this. “Me and my brother, we had a fort behind the house where we went when ma was looking for us.” “My safe place was under the steps. I hid there when my old man came home drunk.”

If a guy stayed with the class, he got beyond “F…. the system,” though I was glad to see him write that, rather than act it out. Only a few guys in all those years turned into ‘real writers,’ but that didn’t make any difference to me. Continue reading “Writing: A Healing Art”