My approach is forever in process, the result of over twenty years of making writing with all kinds of wonderful people in many different settings, from universities and schools to community groups, corporates, not-for-profits and as a psychotherapist in private practice. These days, I design and deliver creative writing and creativity programmes at Teesside University.
I've made writing for as long as I can remember, folding little books out of paper and filling them with my words, stories and dreams as soon as I began to learn to write and read. But for a long time, in my 20s, I struggled with my creativity, primarily focused on what I needed to do to earn a living and trying to figure out how to live in the world as someone who makes things.
It was only in my thirties, during my doctoral research, that things began to fall into place and I began to be able to really let go of what I thought I ought to write and make in order to immerse myself in the sheer pleasure of the process. Today, I love sharing my passion for making writing with anyone and everyone. I believe that writing can help us to make meaning out of our experiences, think things through and reconnect with our innate creativity. Becoming a parent has given me another perspective on this process and has consolidated my long-held belief that we are all creative and that human beings need to express our creativity in some way.
Wherever you are in your writing journey, I hope you find inspiration and ideas here that will help you to fall in love with words, and what words can do for us, all over again.
Making Writing With Children
Are you looking for inspiring ways to make writing fun?
Maybe you're a teacher or educator or a parent looking for activities and ideas.
My approach to writing has been tried and tested through years of working with people in many different settings and now as mum to my own curious five-year-old. For me, writing is all about enjoying the process, learning to make mistakes, relishing the power of story and connecting with the creativity that all children have when we only give them the chance.
In the early years, it can be so simple to add practice with letters, words and sentences into all kinds of practical, hands-on activities. I'm always in favour of more colour, glitter, glue and anything you can make out of a cardboard box.
Take a look at my blog for some inspiration. You could start here. Please do check back as I'll be adding a collection of downloadable resources to this site.
There is increasing evidence that writing is a very effective way of supporting our mental health and may even have benefits to our physical wellbeing too. If you'd like to find out more, you might be interested in a paper I wrote about this here.
You could also check out Creative Writing Lab, the research network for creative writing and wellbeing, which I co-founded here.
You may also want to look at the Journals section of this website.
I am fascinated by the way that writers have used journals and diaries in the past. Personal and learning journals and reflective writing techniques form the foundation for many of the classes I teach at undergrad and postgrad level, including our module in Life Writing, part of the BA English Studies with Creative Writing at Teesside. I'm currently beginning an exciting new research project at Teesside, which looks at the ways that learning and reflective journals are used across our courses and programmes. More info on this to follow soon, or drop me an email if you'd like to chat about this.