Fran used poetry and creative writing to help her move forward after treatment. Here are her top tips for getting started. 

Fran Arnold

After my radiotherapy I wanted to thank the incredible team who'd helped me, but they don't have much time to chat as they're so focused when they're working. Instead I decided to write a poem, something I'd never done before. 

At first, I worried that everything I wrote was awful. But I shared it with friends who were so supportive, and eventually published a book of poetry about my experience. Through sales we managed to raise £5,000 for Dorchester Hospital, which was incredible. 

It can be so hard to open up. But it's important to do so for every aspect of our lives, especially the more demanding times. Here are some top tips for writing: 

  1. Have a go privately at first – then you won't worry whether it's good or not.  
  2. Try different ways of writing – for me it was poetry, but for others it can be prose or a diary, either detailed or simple.  
  3. Ask for feedback – it can be scary, but share your work with loved ones. I read all of them to my husband, except for the one about him. When he finally read it, he said it made him cry, which was so touching.  
  4. Don't be afraid of opening up – It won't hurt you, but will help you. Writing gave me strength, and I felt so proud once I'd created something.  
  5. Do it for yourself – you don't have to share anything if you don't want to. It's worth writing just for the benefit it gives you, helping you understand how you feel and deal with any demons. You can still be proud of what you've achieved. 


If you’re interested in using writing as a tool in your recovery, check out our handy writing guide to get you started. 

Writing guide