Creative writers highlight wellbeing

The connection between creative writing and wellbeing will be highlighted at a Brightlingsea WinterFest event at the town's library on Saturday February 15.
Members of the Brightlingsea Creative Writing Group will be giving recitals of poetry and prose, including work featured in their recent anthology called Brightlingsea and Beyond. There will also be a chance to explore how creative writing can be beneficial to people's overall sense of wellbeing.

The creative writing group was formed following a workshop held at the 2016 WinterFest by Helena Nwaokolo. Helena said: “In teaching creative writing previously I had learned the positive impact that writing can have on people's wellbeing. It is something to do with building confidence, expressing the inner self, moving memories, anxieties, experiences and confusions from our minds on to paper, externalising emotions.”

The workshop proved a success and inspired the formation of the Brightlingsea Creative Writing Group. The group's first anthology has been another milestone and was supported by a grant from WinterFest. The book, collated by writing group member and WinterFest co-founder Dave Griffiths, is available on Amazon and also from local shops including Spirals, Spar and Little Boat Gifts, priced at £3.99. As with all WinterFest events and activities, proceeds from the sale of the book are going to WinterFest's Wellbeing Fund and the mental health charity Mid and North East Essex Mind.

Helena has put forward the following thoughts on Creative Writing and Wellbeing and, along with other members of the creative writing group, is looking forward to welcoming people to the WinterFest event which starts at 11am in Brightlingsea Library.

It is recognised by practitioners that there are five behaviours that contribute to mental wellbeing.
According to the mental health charity Mind these are:

  • Connect with others
  • Be physically active
  • Learn new skills
  • Give to others
  • Pay attention to the moment (mindfulness)

Creative Writing can work as a vehicle for encouraging these behaviours by:

Connecting with other people:
Creative writing in essence is normally a solitary activity but being with other writers and sharing the triumphs and frustrations forges supportive connections.

Being physically active:
Walking is an activity naturally conducive to finding inspiration for writing

Learning new skills:
Whether writing for pleasure, leisure or profit, learning the craft of creative writing and learning where your writing fits into the bigger picture improves self esteem.

Giving to others:
As a member of a community of writers (face to face or online) you can give constructive criticism, ideas and reassurance. When ready to share the writing with others you may be offering ‘a voice’ for readers, covering universal themes and emotional responses.

Pay attention to present moment (mindfulness) :
Observation is a vital part of writers’ tool box. Paying attention to the physical or more abstract details of a place, person or emotional responses focuses the mind on that momentary experience.

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