Writing Through Cancer features weekly writing prompts designed to encourage anyone living with cancer, another debilitating illness or difficult life circumstance, to write from that experience. If you’ve come to this site and have questions or would like more information, contact me at: email@example.com.
Writing Through Cancer began as a website, inspired out of my personal experience with cancer and the many writing groups I’ve led over the past ten years for men and women–patients, survivors and caretakers–whose lives have been touched by cancer. Little by little, the word has spread, and the number of people who access the site for the weekly writing prompts has grown. If you’ve accidentally stumbled onto this site but are struggling with some other serious illness or painful life situation, you’ll find most of the prompts are adaptable to any situation and to anyone who wants to write for healing purposes.
Why write from the pain and struggle that comes with cancer or other life difficulties? Studies have shown it can actually be good for you. When you repress emotions and silence your stories, your ability to heal is weakened. Writing offers you the safety to unearth and express all that you think and feel. When you begin to shape those thoughts and feelings into stories or poems, it helps you to make sense of things and to cope more effectively with the emotional roller coaster that a cancer diagnosis can trigger.
Writing is also a form of creative self-expression readily available to anyone who wants to do it. You don’t need a special place or a lot of special materials. You can write almost anywhere: at home, on the train, in a waiting room, or at a cafe. All you need is a pen, paper or a laptop and the freedom to express what resides in your heart and mind. The prompts can serve as a way to get started or be the inspiration for a poem or story.
Here’s how it works: Each week, I’ll post a writing prompt designed to inspire your stories or poems that arise out of your cancer experience. Each prompt will be available on the site for several weeks, allowing you to refer back to them or even use the same prompt to write something that may be expanded or different from your first effort.
I hope that you’ll find some inspiration and encouragement from the prompts, and that they offer you a gentle nudge to write and discover its healing benefits.
Best wishes from Sharon Bray
(Content is copyrighted, 2011, by Sharon A. Bray, Ed.D., unless otherwise stated. Permission required from the author to cite or use any of the information posted on this blog site.)
I’m a writer, teacher and author of two books on the healing power of writing during cancer: When Words Heal: Writing Through Cancer (Frog Books, 2006) and A Healing Journey: Writing Together through Breast Cancer (Amherst Writers Press, 2004). In 2007, I co-edited, together with Pat Fobair, LCSW, Learning to Live Again, an anthology of cancer patients’ writing published by the Stanford University School of Medicine. I continue to lead ongoing expressive writing groups for men & women with cancer at Stanford Cancer Center, Palo Alto, CA, Scripps Green Cancer Center, La Jolla, CA, as well as a creative writing workshop series for faculty, students and staff of the Stanford Medical School. Each summer, I teach a week-long course, “Writing as a Healing Ministry,” each summer at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA, and throughout the year, online classes in creative nonfiction for the UCLA extension Writers’ Program. My professional affiliations include The Society for Arts in Healthcare, International Expressive Arts Therapy Association, and the Transformative Language Arts Network.