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Writing for wellbeing

What's your 2020 been like? Put your feelings into words

What's this project about?

2020 has been an extraordinary year and you may have experienced lots of changes in a short space of time. Writing about how you feel can have a positive impact on your mood and help you to make sense of how you feel. 

In the run up to World Mental Health Day (Saturday 10 October), we’re inviting children and young people just like you to take part in Beyond Words for World Mental Health Day. The project runs from 14 September – 18 October but you can submit your work up to 30 November

We encourage you to get creating and to share your work on our online hub. Get inspiration from award-winning poets and authors below to help you get started.

We’ll publish some of the stories shared on our gallery throughout the project. We will email you if your story is shared on the website.

Tell us your story!

The theme for Beyond Words for World Mental Health Day is ‘My 2020’.

You could write about coronavirus and lockdown, Black Lives Matter or climate change. Or you might write about a personal experience – an important life event, your friends and family or what makes you happy. 

You could win an individual recognition award of a £40 book token or £250 worth of books for your school. Plus, we’ll donate £3 for your submission to provide funds for charitable projects that support young people’s mental wellbeing.

How to submit your story

We’ve created a short guide to help you share your words. We recommend reading the guide first before submitting your story. The guide has all the details you need to get started. We also answer some questions you might have about the project.

If you have any questions or need help with the form, please email the Bupa Foundation team.

Resources for young people aged 12+ years

How do I put my feelings into words?

Sophia Thakur, storyteller and poet, shares some simple techniques you can use to put what you're feeling inside on to the page. 

Use Sophia's worksheet with her video (4:56 minutes) to explore how you can use the five senses to make your readers physically feel your words.

How do I start writing a poem?

Caleb Parkin is a poet and performer. He has been writer-in-residence for Beyond Words at Cheltenham Festivals since 2018. 

In his video, he shares some practical tools and techniques to help you kick-start your own writing. Download Caleb's writing activity and use it alongside his video (4:29 minutes), using the theme of 'change' to start creating.

Resources for children aged 8 to 12 years

How do I begin a story?

Jennifer Bell writes stories about young people who go on adventures to new places or discover secret worlds hidden within our own. You might already have an idea, but knowing how to actually start a story can feel daunting.

In her short guide, Jen shares three exercises you can use to get your creative juices flowing.

photo of author Jennifer Bell

Writing about emotions using poetry

We are all likely to be experiencing a wide range of emotions at this current time. Poet Joshua Seigal's poetry workshop involves writing about these emotions in a creative, playful and perhaps humorous way. 

Resources for children aged 5 to 12 years

Where can I find inspiration?

Poet Matt Goodfellow shares how he takes inspiration from everyday life to craft his poetry. 

Not sure what to write about? Take a peek into Matt's imagination as he shares the real-life story behind one of his poems 'Doggy' in his video (2:25 minutes). Plus, hear his top tips on how to live like a poet!

Resources for children aged 5 to 8 years

Get messy with poetry!

Poems can provide a small, safe space to explore what’s going on, how we feel, what we’re thinking. And that smallness can be reassuring when what is going on around us is very, very BIG!

Laura Mucha has put together some writing exercises to help you come up with your own poem - and it involves creating a great big mess! Watch her video (5:18 minutes) and use it with her worksheet to get started.

Writing about how you feel

Finding a way to let others know how you are feeling can be hard.

Cheryl Moskowitz's ‘The House That Is Me’ activity takes the body as a starting point to find the right words to express how you are feeling on the inside.

Teachers and parents can use Cheryl’s guide along with the video to help children create their own ‘The House That Is Me’ poem.

Finding your way with words

Sue Hardy-Dawson is an award-winning dyslexic poet and illustrator. As a child, Sue hated writing and initially struggled with reading. Nowadays she loves both.

In her video (3:14 minutes), Sue shares some tips and tools to help you write with confidence. Ideas and creativity don’t always rely on having brilliant handwriting or spelling – just good ideas!