The Writing Shed
Daniela Pesconi-Arthur is the founder of The Writing Shed online magazine, which is a website for women to read topics related to empowerment and self-esteem. It's is also a website that provides online courses and workshops. We have conducted an interview with Daniela.
Which particular event inspired you to the founding of The Writing Shed?
The Writing Shed was founded a couple of months after we moved into our current home. My husband got me a small summerhouse for the back garden ~ the real writing shed (photo bellow) ~ and I fell in love with it immediately. That’s where the name of the magazine comes from. I made it my writing space, and also my grieving space, where I started writing the “Letters to my mother” (I’d lost my mother to cancer a few months earlier). This had a huge impact on my grief, and I thought that I wanted to do the same to help other women. I have an MA in Creative Writing , studied some counselling and was a teacher/lecturer for over 15 years, so I thought that it would be amazing if I could use The Writing Shed Magazine as a means to help women empower themselves through writing.
What is the most important motivation to create this for women?
For me, it was from my own experience. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship in my early 20s, and it took a lot of time and support from amazing people for me to recover, and to regain my self-esteem and confidence. I am a very anxious person and have mild depression, and know how helpless and hopeless we can feel when we’re not whole within ourselves. My biggest motivation is that I can make “The Writing Shed Magazine”, as well as the Facebook group, and any other private groups The Writing Shed maintain a safe place for women to be. I am part of other women support groups online and the connection between these women is inspiring. I wanted to create the same for The Writing Shed’s readers, and women who take our courses. The Writing Shed manifesto (below) is what we are all about.
Which steps are you taking to reach out to all women in the world?
One of the network groups I am in is the Classy Career Girl. It is a group with over 5,000 women supporting one another, and it’s a brilliant way to reach out to women from all around the world. We also have collaborators, who write about different themes, all women directed themes, such as relationships, parenting, well-being, weight loss, grief, and surviving cancer, among others. We have a lovely mix of personalities in our collaborators, which enriches the themes, and make the articles a great, fun and light read, as well as touching on very serious subjects. Our collaborators are awesome, and we’re always welcoming more! (click here if you would like to be a collaborator) As for the technical part of “reaching out” to all women in the world, one of our collaborators is Techy Girl, from EG Management Consultant, has been brilliant in helping us with our social media and maintenance of the website. Besides, our readers pass our articles on to their friends, who pass them on to their friends… Women supporting women! That couldn’t be more perfect!
How do community centres and councils help you to offer your free workshops?
At the moment, we’re still starting to reach out to community centres and local councils. If you are reading this, please contact us! We’d be thrilled to do a workshop and/or a talk in your local school, company, community centre! Our aim is to do at least 4 workshops a month, by the end of 2017.
Which are the top 3 most popular topics/courses on The Writing Shed? How do you intend to make it more widespread?
Our most popular topic at the moment is the “Write your weight off 12-week challenge”. It’s a “course/support group” that approaches weight loss in a holistic way. The members of the challenge will learn about finding their reasons for losing weight, setting up a successful support network, discovering their values and using them to set up their weight loss and exercising goals. More information on how to join here.
Then we have the two first “Write yourself” e-courses: “Write your self-esteem” and “Write your whole self”. “Write your self-esteem” is the base course of The Writing Shed. It will provide women with the necessary tools for self-discovery, guiding her to regain and/or improve her self-esteem and confidence. The next step is “Write your whole self”. In this course women will dive into self-discovery more deeply, focusing on each different role they play in their lives (wife, mother, worker, etc), with the objective of “gathering all their pieces together” and becoming whole. This will give them the awareness of their weaknesses and strengths in performing each role, and transferring their strengths to other roles they play. You can find more information on these courses here.
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