I recently had the truly blessed opportunity to review a writing course for Esther of the Life in Slow Motion blog. Esther has an MA in Professional Counselling, and does one-on-one in-person counselling in the Baltimore area, in addition to blogging, so this isn’t your average course – it was written from experience and expertise as a writer and Counsellor. I never recommend anything I haven’t tried for myself, and I won’t recommend something that I can’t get behind. *note – as a reviewer, I didn’t pay for the course, it was provided to me free of charge for the purposes of review*
The course I reviewed is called 31 Days of Expressive Writing for Chronic Illness and Pain. Before I delve deeper into what you can expect of this course, I wanted to say a few words about writing and chronic illness/pain. When you are suffering in any way, be it grief, mental pain, or physical pain, distraction is the key to diminishing your misery. Writing is a powerful tool, as it can be therapeutic as an outlet to your thoughts and emotions, and it can also allow you to understand and process these. If you’re a blogger with a chronic illness or chronic pain, you know what I’m talking about. Writing is cathartic. For me, writing comes a little too easily – I tend to be long-winded. For others, it may be more difficult to figure out what they want to say. Either way, writing has become a healthy and wonderful outlet for those who are cooped up, living with chronic illnesses, and/or living with pain.
This course is comprised of a warm ‘welcome’ section, and 6 main sections:
-Your Story; Your Grief and Emotions; Your Faith; Your Relationships; Your Strength, Joy and Hope; and Your Goals.
The course wraps up with a final prompt to get you moving forward.
When I started this course, I didn’t know that a near and dear family member was going to become very ill while undergoing her third round of Chemotherapy for breast cancer. I also didn’t know that she was going to die a week later.
As God’s Perfect Plan always works, she died while I was just starting the section on grief and emotions. My focus changed, and I found that I was more introspective, and my writing responses to the prompts reflected the grief I was going through, both because of her death, and because it made me reflect more on my life and those of my children. While I’m used to writing about what I know about chronic illness and pain to help others, I had never written so directly about what I feel because of it. My own grief, and my own emotions. Her death changed my perspective, and I began writing on a more personal level. I learned to accept who I was, what kind of life I was living, what I had lost as an active triathlete and Personal Trainer, and also reflect on those things that I was grateful for. I learned to accept the things that I couldn’t change, and think about what I could; what kinds of plans I could make for my future, what I could do with a brain injury, Fibromyalgia, migraines, arthritis, and osteoporosis. It brings to mind what my father said to me one day as I was leaving after dinner one day. He had cancer, and had turned down Chemotherapy in favor of a better quality of life. He said, “I don’t ask myself, ‘what can’t I do with cancer,’ but instead, I ask myself ‘what can I do with it?'” He was an active volunteer in the community until a few weeks before he died, which was long after doctors had predicted.
I can’t recommend this course enough, both to chronic illness and pain sufferers, but also to bloggers. I can truly say that this was a life-changing course for me, as the prompts were succinct and really asked the important questions.
Getting back to the course content, each section has several writing prompts, each of which takes around 10-15 minutes to complete. While you could go through the whole course faster than thirty-one days, I strongly recommend that you take your time, and try to do it daily, or at least 5 days a week, to allow you to reflect on your previous writing before starting the next prompt. Whether you are spiritual or not, you will find that responding to the writing prompts somehow brings you to a peaceful place of introspection. Nobody is reading your responses, so you can be as open as you like when you’re writing without fear of judgment.
As a former teacher and Curriculum Coordinator at one of Canada’s top universities, I can say that the course is well-designed, well laid-out, and the progressions are logical and flow well into each other. If you complete this course, blogger or not, I recommend that you get yourself a journal, or start one on your computer, and continue with your writing. For me, this course was very therapeutic, and offered me the opportunity to reflect openly about my own life. The ability to step in closer and truly observe your own thoughts and feelings.
What a wonderful gift it was for me.
What a wonderful gift to give yourself.
Want to try it out? Click here to sign up through my page; I’ll get a small commission, and you’ll be helping me to continue bringing you great content through my blog!