As the first published article of Safe and Sound Press, it seems appropriate to briefly summarise the purpose and benefits of writing for wellbeing, as well as to clarify our aims and the mission of the press moving forward.
What is Wellbeing Writing?
Wellbeing writing can be described by using the common phrase “it does what it says on the tin”: using writing for your own or others’ wellbeing. The writing can be created, sometimes arguably, into a vast number of forms including (but not limited to) poetry, autobiographical fiction, storytelling, and scriptwriting. Wellbeing writing classes, exercises and practices have been taken into prisons, retirement/care homes, schools, charities, therapy and the local community, to individuals and groups with a ranging spectrum of writing backgrounds.
Although our press publishes exemplary pieces of writing, wellbeing writing in and of itself does not have to be anything publishable. Many wellbeing writing groups do not focus on the presentation of a piece, or how ‘correct’ it is, when using form, spelling and grammar but more so on the emotional benefits the material has provided the writer. Examples of these could be inspiring confidence to share pieces of writing in group situations, discovering new ‘tools’ to use in everyday life, or the sense of satisfaction that comes when using writing as a way of reflecting on your own life, behaviours and awareness.
There are countless practices and limitless exercises an individual or collective can do in order to write for their personal wellbeing. Typical occurrences in wellbeing writing sessions can be focussed around journaling, reflective and reflexive writing, reading and writing in response to poetry, flash fiction and other manners of writing styles and free writing. Additionally, classes usually consist of short, simple to follow, guided exercises provided by a facilitator. It is worth noting that these examples are in no way a comprehensive list of activities that can be explored.
There are a multitude of practitioners that use creative writing for therapeutic purposes; Gillie Bolton, Kate Thompson, Victoria Field, Deborah Alma, to name a few. Alma operates the Poetry Pharmacy with Dr James Sheard, and has frequented the role of an “Emergency Poet” using an old ambulance to travel around the UK ‘prescribing’ poetry. Bolton, Thompson and Field have written numerous books on the topic (at times collaboratively). Please find a list below of recommend publications of these practitioners for further reading:
A question often wondered by facilitators that engage in wellbeing writing work is:
“where is writing’s place in the world of therapeutic practices?”
People are usually aware of Art Therapy, Drama Therapy and even Play Therapy. However, ‘Creative Writing Therapy’ is comparatively less well-known. Yet, there are a multitude of qualitative studies that discuss the therapeutic benefits that creative writing can provide. Writing exercises can often include art, drama and play practices in order to elicit writing that benefits a participant’s wellbeing. There is a powerful emphasis on reflective activities that can sometimes be lacking from other creative therapies. This is considering that one can write in solitude, in quiet moments, with very minimal preparation needed (some choosing embellished, decorative journals, and others simply using applications on their electronic devices to write). Writing can be a peaceful reflective/reflexive practice, whilst also having the possibility to be active and group focused.
Taking to Twitter, our account (@SafeandSoundP) asked the question “How has writing affected your wellbeing?” to gather some opinions and here are some of the replies:
This feedback only goes to show the positive reaction that writing can have on a person’s wellbeing. It seems known within the writing community that writing is good for you – and this is something we, as a wellbeing writing press, want to share, discuss and represent.
This site will aim to publish the best examples of writing with an accompanying wellbeing writing statement submitted by the author. We are also interested in articles, interviews, reviews and potentially other voluntary writing, at the discretion of the press.
If you have any ideas of something to publish and aren’t sure whether it would be suitable, please feel free to email us on firstname.lastname@example.org, otherwise please take a look at our submission page to check for acceptance windows and entry guidelines to follow.