When life hurts, writing can help…
Welcome! You may have found your way here by design or accident, but most likely because you have an interest in writing, or you’re searching for a workshop. Perhaps you, like many others, have experienced a difficult chapter of life, whether life threatening illness, sudden loss or painful events, and you’ve begun writing as a way of release and making sense of life hardships, but you’d like to find workshops that offer writing together from serious illness/hardship/loss in a group.
Writing, as decades of research as shown, can be beneficial to health–emotional and physical. Many years ago, while I was being treated for an early stage breast cancer, I stumbled on to the ground-breaking research on expressive writing by James Pennebaker, PhD, and his colleagues. It was a defining moment for me. I had always written, and during some very difficult and traumatic times in my life, writing was an important means of expressing my pain, but also, of gaining insight into what I was feeling and why. A few months later, I initiated my first writing group for breast cancer survivors. That was over 20 years ago, and I’ve never looked back.
Since then, I’ve initiated and facilitated many writing groups for many different people, but gradually focusing on writing with cancer patients/survivors and most recently, those living with a variety of cardiac conditions. (I became a heart failure patient not long after my cancer treatment). I have also mentored and trained potential writing workshop facilitators, teaching a week-long intensive on writing and healing at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA. I have also been privileged to teach creative writing and transformational writing for UCLA extensions’ Writers Program and lead the series, The Writers’ Workshop at Stanford Medical School, from 2005-2017. For the past many years, I’ve focused my work on writing as a way of healing, facilitating workshops and authoring a blog anyone experiencing serious illness and suffering. This site is intended as an informational source for workshops I am leading in the coming months. But if you’re also looking for inspiration and prompts to get you started writing alone, you’ll find those at my blog, “When Life Hurts, Writing Can Help.” To reach it, use either http://www.writingthroughcancer.ca OR http://www.writingtheheart.ca. (A new url is in the works, http://www.whenlifehurtswriting.ca.)
Sharon Bray, Ed.D.