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Marie Jennings |Student with The Writers Bureau – become a published writer

Writing as therapy

“I’m sorry to have to tell you but it is terminal. Your mother has only six to twelve months to live,” said the oncologist.

It was October 2010 and these words were about to change my life forever.

During Mum’s fight with oesophageal cancer I expressed my sadness by writing my feelings down. Fifteen months later on Christmas day 2011 Mum died and I sank into a depression, something I had endured bouts of throughout my 39 years. I was lost, and my life had a large Mum-shaped hole in it.

Previously I had turned to food when things were tough and used bulimia to self-medicate, but this time I couldn’t use such a destructive coping mechanism and risk putting my children through the same ordeal as I was going through. This meant I had to find a different way to get through the darkness.

One day as I was emptying my head, scribbling words down on paper I looked back over my earlier work, and to my surprise it read quite well. That’s when I had the idea of writing a book. And I did, a very bad book. I sent my manuscript out as soon as I’d finished, and obviously I was met with rejection after rejection.

Help was what I needed. So I bought a writing magazine and came across an advertisement for a course with The Writers Bureau. I quickly enrolled and got started. A year on and I had finished my course and achieved publication in a number of magazines and newspapers.

My articles, stories and letters had earned me more than double the course fees and enough to have my novel, which I had rewritten using my new learnt knowledge, edited. I don’t know if it is good enough to be published but without The Writers Bureau I would never have given it another go.

For me, joining The Writers Bureau was so much more than just learning to write. The course provided me with a pastime, a part-time career that I could fit in alongside caring for my ninety year old Grandmother, cured my twenty-five year addiction to bulimia, gave me a new direction and was the best bereavement therapy I could ever afford.

Now, nearly three years after Mum’s death I am enjoying writing more than ever, and I continue to attain success, proven by sporadically finding my name in print.