To follow the progress of the writers, that’s the best part of this work, according to Write Your Self guide Anna Marklund.
– They become clearer and more focused – it even shows in their bodies. Writing helps create a clearer path onward in life, she says.
Anna Marklund is used to expressing herself, and writing has always been her go-to way of making sense of life during messy times. However, at the time when she first heard about Write Your Self, she wasn’t writing at all. It had been a tough year, she had been through a divorce, she had health issues and inside she felt numb and closed off. At this time, she learnt that NBV, the educational branch of a major Swedish sobriety organisation, was looking for people who wanted to learn the Write Your Self method. When she heard this, she became aware of a longing inside.
– I intuitively felt that this was something I needed to do. This was something I had been looking for, she says.
Telling one’s own story too
Anna Marklund was chosen by NBV to attend the training, and she remembers having mixed feelings as she started.
– It was a strong sense of longing, paired with so much resistance.
She worked on the assignments for a long time and it became clear to her that she needed to write her own story – she needed to do it alongside the training.
– To write and create stories about our difficult experiences is actually something natural, and the Write Your Self method makes perfect sense to me. Looking back, I can see how many times in my life I would have needed it.
It can feel like a big responsibility to guide people who have been through difficult things. As a newly certified guide, Anna Marklund was eager to get started leading her own writing courses, in order to avoid becoming stuck in hesitation. Deep down she knew she was up for the job – she had the method to lean on and plenty of experience to bring to the work – and she soon got the hang of it and got so much joy from seeing how the method helped people.
Offers workshops and writing circles
Today, Anna Marklund works for NBV in Umeå, where she offers writing groups according to Write Your Self, both during daytime and as evening classes. She also hosts a writing get-together every Friday for former participants, where they can come for a moment of focused writing, as well as Tuesday meetings for women, called The Inner Life, where writing is a recurring ingredient.
– I have the method to support me, but I’ve also found my own way of being a Write Your Self guide now.
Anna’s writing courses share space with yoga classes and courses in grief processing, something she describes as enriching.
What does Write Your Self bring to the organisation NBV?
– NBV is part of the sobriety movement, which is a good place to hold conversations about the value of expressing oneself. There are too many people for whom the drugs functions as the primary engine in life. Often, drugs lead to violence and a lot of the victims of that violence also use drugs to cope and to numb themselves. There are also so many people who are struggling with hidden addiction as well as those who are affected by the addictions of others. There’s a lot of silence around these matters. I believe that if we make space for the creative expression of humans, alcohol will lose some of its significance.
What has being a Write Your Self guide meant to you personally?
– It’s an ongoing process, with many layers to it. In the creative work, there is room for so many nuances of our humanity. Earnestness and curiosity. Fragility and strength. I used to be a person who lived a lot in my head, but Write Your Self has helped me pay attention to my body and the stories it wants to tell.
Anna is a writer, lecturer and workshop leader at Write Your Self. She believes in play as one of the most serious/important things we as humans can devote ourselves to, and that imagination is necessary to understand and repare our reality.
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