My writing journey started as a child at primary school - projects like 'write about your summer' made my heart swoon and I would eagerly scribble away - not that my teachers always appreciated it. As in my excitement, I often missed out and misspelt words, leaving sentences looking more like riddles. I never tested for dyslexia (apparently I was just 'lazy'... but I'll not comment on that!).
However, as writing was something that gave me so much pleasure, I wasn't interested in someone else's opinion on my work - I did it because I enjoyed it. I carried on, and my tenacity paid off - I won a few awards throughout secondary school, and even revelled in writing essays at uni (naturally all completed the night before the deadline!).
After qualifying as a nurse, it became clear that writing was a big part of the job - but not in the way I enjoyed it; free and fun. Although, I did take the opportunity to write for a medical journal, and had two clinical articles published by 'The Journal of Aesthetic Nursing' before going on to have three more pieces published by industry giant 'Consulting Rooms'.
I enjoyed the discipline of writing academically again but missed the creativity of writing whatever came into my head. Fast forward a few years, and I was delighted to find out I was pregnant with my daughter. However, I was crippled, with depression and anxiety. Feeling so alone, alienated & frustrated, I decided to begin a blog 'pretty on the inside' - exploring that my daughter was beautiful, but this horrible black cloud of mental illness was ugly and overwhelming. Long story short, I didn't get far with it. But it did inspire me to create 'the Ashworth model' when my daughter arrived.
Blogging for me is a cathartic way to express my complex emotions surrounding motherhood and mental illness. But more than that - when I shared it on Facebook, I couldn't believe the response I got. So many other mums felt the same too, but didn't talk about it!! I wasn't alone after all!!
As life got busier with a growing baby, my blog was left somewhat abandoned, until a friend introduced me to Mum's The Word writing group. A chance for me to write, every month, without guilt as well as meet and enjoy the company of other mums too.
I didn't have to be 'a writer' to join - or to scribble furiously into a leather-bound notebook. Some use iPads/phones, while others pen and paper - it's personal preference.
As a nurse, I know that groups of women can sometimes be a bit daunting... but Mum's The Word is an exception. There is no boasting, or rivalry. Although having children is a common theme for us all, what unites us at Lower Shaw Farm is our passion for writing and support of each other.