MakeShift Workshop: The Remedy of Writing

3 hrs
$65 / $50
Thirroul Community Centre

A prescription of writing to manage anxiety, depression and stress.

The act of writing is as old as human existence - a powerful way to make record, tell stories, craft histories, tales, and reach across cultures. Despite writing being such an effective way to tell stories to thousands, millions of people, the act of writing can be solitary - a quiet place for getting words in one's mind, onto paper, and into existence.

Writing as a form of therapy has been around for many years, and used heavily in psychotherapy to be a channel for expressing difficult memories, experiences and thoughts. However, more recently, research has found that the act of writing - the creative process of putting pen to paper, structuring sentences and paragraphs and lines and stanzas - whether it's about difficult feelings, your favourite food, an old much-loved dog, or the moon! It is the creative process itself which actually has enormous benefits in helping us remain present, reduce anxiety, promote mindfulness. Developing a regular writing practice can be such a useful tool in helping to alleviate and manage anxiety and depression.

This workshop is co-facilitated with Rumpus, and begins with delving into an understanding of how stress, anxiety, depression and burn out can manifest - what are the symptoms that come up in daily life? From this understanding, we briefly turn to the evidence that a writing practice helps to manage some of these symptoms, and over time can be a powerful habit that forms part of our treatment for these experiences.

We are joined by writer, author Helena Fox who will gently introduce a range of ideas, tips, writing exercises and techniques designed to inspire, foster and develop a writing practice. Whether it's short novellas, poetry, journalling, fiction, blogs, articles, science fiction or just free flowing prose that floats your boat, Helena's experience of writing, becoming a writer, and finding ways to commit and develop this practice will help inspire your own ways to build this into your world, to help with mental health and wellbeing.

In this workshop, Helena will invite participants to tell stories together, take their thoughts for a walk using stream-of-consciousness writing, and explore elements of fiction writing. The workshop's focus will be on giving our words and ideas a place to breathe, and letting our imaginations out to play.

What to expect:

  • A welcoming, friendly, safe place
  • A gentle intro into writing as a practice - you won't be asked to share your work, or read your writing to the group!
  • An exploration at your own pace
  • Some information about anxiety, stress, and depression in the body, and how writing is proven to help alleviate this
  • Anyone interested in exploring this topic is welcome. Whether you have a diagnosed mental health condition, or are looking for some more tools to maintain wellness, and everything in between, you are welcome.

This workshop is part of MakeShift - a social prescribing initiative that connects creative practice, artists and people together to explore how creativity helps and supports positive mental health.

Please note this workshop is for ages 18+

Helena Fox

Helena Fox is a writer and creative writing mentor living in Wollongong, Australia.

Helena Fox lives with her family by the sea in Wollongong, Australia. She has been a creative writing mentor and workshop facilitator for over ten years. Her debut novel, HOW IT FEELS TO FLOAT, explores the impact of grief on mental health, and was published this year in Australia, NZ, North America, and the Netherlands. Helena is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College in the U.S.

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