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Who are your writing for wellbeing workshops aimed at?

Our writing for wellbeing workshops are designed for people who wanted children but did not have them for any reason including for example: infertility; never meeting the right person; partner not wanting children; unsuccessfully trying to adopt; being in a same sex relationship; or making the difficult decision not to have children to avoid passing on a medical condition (this is not an exhaustive list).

If you are happily childfree, still trying to have children or hope to have children one day (by conceiving, adoption, surrogacy etc), please do not register for one of our workshops, as the writing exercises won’t be right for you.

Our workshops are open to all genders.

***By registering for one of our workshops, you are confirming that you are childless-not-by-choice and expect to remain so***

 If you are in any doubt as to whether our workshops or webinars are right for you, please contact us.

Why are writing for wellbeing workshops specifically for childless-not-by-choice people needed?

Involuntarily childless people report high levels of loneliness, isolation and poor mental health, in addition to grief and loss. While there are many excellent writing for wellbeing courses and workshops available, there is very little designed specifically for involuntarily childless people. It can be hard for others to understand the unique pain and loneliness of not being able to have children, and many childless people have been hurt by careless comments, or struggle with their emotions in situations where everyone else seems to have the children they longed for. We wanted to develop workshops that could introduce the techniques of writing for wellbeing, but in a completely safe and supportive environment where all participants and workshop leaders are also childless-not-by-choice.

Do I need any writing experience?

No. Our workshops are designed for writers at all levels, from complete beginners to experienced writers. Please don’t worry if you don’t feel creative, or think that our workshops and webinars aren’t for you, as the exercises will have a wellbeing focus and will be carefully designed to ensure they are accessible for all.

How long will the workshops last?

We had planned for our ‘in-person’ workshops to last around 3.5 hours. However, as we are now moving online we have made the workshops a bit shorter and they will be 2 hours long.

We have also recorded some online webinars which last around one hour.

How much do your workshops cost?

Thanks to the generous funding we have received from the Arts Council England, the ‘in-person’ workshops were offered at the low cost of £5. As we are now moving online, the workshops will be free of charge thanks again to support from the Arts Council.

Our 60-minute online webinars have always been free of charge.

Do I have to share my writing during the workshops?

 No, not if you don’t want to. There may be opportunities for the sharing of work during some of the writing exercises in the workshops, but this would always be optional.

What if I get upset?

The focus of the workshops is on how we can use writing to help us heal and move forward. We hope that participants will find it a positive and uplifting experience. Part of healing and moving on is acknowledging the pain and grief many of us feel as a result of being involuntarily childless. We understand that this is a difficult subject for many so while we hope you don’t get upset, if you do, we will support you with love and kindness, and without judgement. Now that we are moving the workshops online, we have redesigned them to make sure they are safe to deliver even though we won’t be in the room with you.

There is room for you to bring all your feelings, no matter how strong, but we should say that our workshops are NOT a substitute for counselling and if you have complex or enduring mental health problems, they may not be the right place for you. Please do contact us to explore this further if you are in any doubt as to whether our workshops are right for you.

Do I need to bring any equipment?

For workshops, bring something to write with and something to write on, preferably a shiny new notebook you will only use for the workshop, and any writing for wellbeing you may choose to do afterwards at home. We recommend using pen and paper for the exercises, but if you prefer or need to use a laptop / tablet that’s fine.

Do I need to do any preparation in advance of the workshops?

It’s not compulsory, but in the week leading up to the workshop, you may wish to jot down in your notebook some things that have brought you happiness over the course of the week. This doesn’t need to be anything major – it could be the sound of birdsong, finding an unusual pebble on a beach, or catching up with an old friend for coffee. Whatever brings you a glimmer of joy or happiness during the week. (If you can’t think of anything or don’t feel comfortable doing this, that’s absolutely fine.)

Who leads the workshops?

The workshops have been designed and will be led by Annie Kirby and Meriel Whale, who are both childless-not-by-choice writers.