Writing for the Health of It is an 8 week, weekly course focused on how to write, finding the undiscovered ‘self’ in writing, gives memory a sense of ‘structure’, cohesion, shapes our memories, experiences, makes current experiences more bearable (more on this later about a study involving writing and PTSD), distance yourself from an event to see it from a new perspective, personal growth and a sense of purpose. Story writing is a way of making sense out of our lives.
The course begins with a handout on How to Write:
*Write freely: just write naturally, worry about grammar, spelling, structure after
*Write what you know: adds voice and connection to your writing
*Be committed to your topic: write about something that matter to you
*Write about your experiences, memories, interests
*Reactions/Reviews on things you read, watch, see, hear
*What’s your point? Ask yourself why you are writing and what you are trying to say
Not a complete list but some good starting points for ideas and reasons to write.
Writing for the Health of It delves deeper into ourselves to examine our emotions, fears, future goals, past you are hanging onto, what’s important in your life.
The instructor said, ‘To write we have to go to that deep place within ourselves where good and bad go. We have to say the unsayable, bypass the ‘Guardian of the Gate’ that says ‘you can’t say that, who will listen?’. This leads us to empowerment, validation, reflection, new perspective and you get to be in control of what you write and share’
I went into the hour and a half class, knowing we would have homework and wondering if I felt like doing homework and if my writing would be evaluated ie. graded. The teacher in me thinking of grades, proper grammer, homework, and all that stuff that makes writing no fun. Instead as we all gathered, the instructor told us a story about asking her mother for her life story. Her mother’s reply, ‘why would anyone want to read that?’. After her mother died, she went through her papers and buried deep was the audiobiography of her Mother’s life with a dedication to her daughter for asking and caring about who she was. Her mother’s personal story allowed her and her siblings to gain a deeper understanding of her mother’s life and why she was who she was.
Than the instructor read to use the syllabus for over an hour, at that point I began to doddle, lose interest in what she was saying. I can read, I have never been a fan of someone reading instructions to us and not being able to have a discussion about it. Infact she continued to repeat the purpose of developing our listening skills. Yep guess still working on that part.
For the last half hour we had to shake ourselves awake, or maybe that was just me, and write out the letters in our name and put a word or sentence beside the letter. Who remembers doing this in school?
Mine was Emotional, Rollercoaster, Intuitive and New (trying new things). We all took turns reading and sharing, elaborating on our words and commenting on others work. I was very impressed and grateful at how she heard me and heard the inner work behind what I was saying. I didn’t realize I started off each sentence saying, ‘I am learning’ or that my words were like a life story, reflective on being sensitive yet hiding that part, every day rollercoaster ride of life, using my intuition to guide me and being open to new things. Feedback was very positive.
Homework is to chose 3 items from home, write a paragraph about them and present for 5 mins to the class. The class is not allowed to critise or offer advice only reflect on what you said and say something encouraging or something they recognized in our writing.
Overall Week One, reminds me a lot of what I do with my students in September called, All About Me. The hour long speech was unnecessary. The end part where we shared and received feedback was reflective emotionally and felt great to be validated and heard.
Week 2 next Wednesday. Still have my homework to do.
Why do you blog? What 3 items would you bring in?