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Monday Moments: Writing To Overcome

Introduced By Amber Hall

Hello readers! This month marks the start of our new theme, which is ‘Overcoming’. I’ve been thinking about the ways in which writing can be used as a tool to find oneself or return to oneself, perhaps, after we’ve faced challenges in our lives.

Writing has been an important part of my own journey to wellness, both mentally and physically. I’ve drawn a lot of strength from it, especially over the past few years. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that, in finding my literary voice, I found my literal voice.

It feels pertinent to be speaking about overcoming now. I’m writing this from a small studio apartment in Bridgetown, Barbados, where I’ll be living for the next month. And this wouldn’t be worth mentioning, not really, if it weren’t for the fact that it reflects the more profound changes I’ve made since healing my long-standing and complex relationship with food, and with myself, and with those around me. Living abroad has never been an option for me until now. I genuinely couldn’t have managed the daily nuances of my illness in a foreign country. In all honesty, I’m not sure how well I’d have fared even a year ago. Having lived with anorexia for almost two decades – and restricted my life in all senses – experiencing freedom like this is revelatory. I feel it in the great expanse of the ocean as I swim, pulled by the tide to a new life full of possibilities.

As I said, writing has played a big part in my getting here. I think it has allowed me to step into my authenticity, for want of a better word, and take ownership of my stories so that I could relinquish the shame I felt about them. Writing takes courage because, by doing it, we reveal parts of ourselves we might otherwise keep hidden. The stories we tell say a lot about who we are, even if the subject matter isn’t autobiographical. Whether you’re penning fiction or non-fiction, poetry or prose, there’s a little bit – a lot, actually – of you in each line or sentence.

The pieces I’ve chosen for this month explore the idea of writing to overcome. Each reflects on the power of writing as an act of reclamation and self-preservation, and as a celebration of ones’ strength and tenacity in the face of adversity.

First, we have a piece by DaVon & Greene, who reflects on his own writing journey as one of overcoming.


There are often times in one’s life where we feel vulnerable, exposed to the judgement of others, the opinions of the mob pounding our flesh like arrows from an oppressor. This is what every writer has had to overcome; this is what I have had to overcome.

It’s a strange thing, writing.

I find solace in the difficulty involved in trying to lay out the perfect sentence. Looking for that elusive word can take several minutes, only to finally reveal itself as you stroke the keys of your computer. Compiling your thoughts into a cohesive, coherent achievement can be akin to winning the lottery three times in a row. Good luck with that.

As human beings we have all overcome so much just to be here. Imagine the birth of a newborn, a one-in-a-billion chance unveiling itself with the cry of a child. This soul has had to endure countless battles, resulting in an embryo that, in turn, evolves into a wonderous life form.

I can remember a conversation with Saul David. I was in my early teens and had recently completed my first serious work, a classic novel of 300 pages or so. At least, that was my perspective. My father did not want to read a word I’d written, thinking he would be biased, so he decided to let my uncle critique my work.

Saul David was a Hollywood producer with several successful films. He’d often come to our family New Year’s Day Celebrations, an all-day affair where my dad cooked constantly. I recall the smell of waffles, bacon and spiked eggnog was something I woke up to every New Year. Back then, everybody was my uncle or aunt or niece or nephew. That’s just the way it was, and Uncle Saul was always part of the mix.

His house sat somewhere in the hills of Southern California, a monument to old Hollywood. Sitting there at his kitchen table listening to his utter dismantling of every chapter, every paragraph, every word, was something I will never forget. When someone you highly respect tears you down it can often be life-altering. The funny thing is, I can hardly remember anything he actually said. What I do recall is the way it made me feel. My humiliation quickly devolved into self-doubt that resulted in anger, a rage he couldn’t see, yet it was there, hovering just under the surface. That particular moment in time sent my life spiraling in a whole new direction, the lure of fast money beckoning.

Looking back, there was one particular phrase that clung to me. I vividly remember these words: “I want you to paint a picture with your writing. I want to see what you see.” Saul David told me that some 40 years ago, leaving a lasting impression. History has left nuggets of knowledge we should all take to heart. The following is one such lesson.

Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner. This quote by Lao Tzu flawlessly relates life’s constant challenges. Remember it.

© DaVon & Greene, 2024

Find out more about DaVon & Greene’s work here:, or connect with him on Instagram: @ davon_and_greene and TikTok: @jwperkinsgroup.


Next, our Thoughtful Tuesdays page editor, Eithne Cullen, writes about the psychological and physiological benefits of reading and writing.  

Reading And Writing For Wellbeing – Is There A Link?  

There’s a famous Albert Einstein quote: If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent… and, of course, people go off thinking about maths and science books, so it’s delightful to know he said: read more fairy tales.

Einstein stuck to his argument, adding that creative imagination is the essential element in the intellectual equipment of the true scientist, and that fairy tales are the childhood stimulus to this quality.

There’s no doubt that creativity and imagination are essential to our wellbeing. So many articles about ageing well and staying healthy in our minds relate to being creative: take up a hobby, paint, draw and, of course, write.

There’s much to be said for writing to free our thoughts and help us understand our emotions. Some health advice will encourage patients at the end of treatment to journal or write a letter to their future selves, outlining feelings and emotions they can revisit at a later date. Just look at the self-help books so many writers embark upon after their own difficult journeys. Researchers will talk about how writing is transformative, how poetry has therapeutic potency and the power of writing to deal with grief and loss.

There’s no doubt that reading takes us to places where we can relive our childish thoughts, escape our cares for a moment and broaden our horizons. In fact, as Dr Seuss told us: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. There’s also a lot to be said about the power of words and stories that help us grow and experience the world in different ways.

Eighteenth-century writer and politician, Richard Steele, said many years ago: Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. I think he may have been well ahead of his time.

American journalist Edward P. Morgan put his thoughts across very well with: A book is the only place in which you can examine a fragile thought without breaking it or explore an explosive idea without fear it will go off in your face. It is one of the few havens remaining where a person’s mind can get both provocation and privacy. This is a powerful quotation which deepens my feelings about the power of exploring the world and ourselves through words and books.

I’d like to end by paraphrasing Gustave Flaubert’s words – write in order to engage with life – and the real quotation: Read in order to live.

© Eithne Cullen, 2024 

Connect with Eithne on X: @eithne_cullen and Instagram: @eithnecullen57.


Finally, I want to share a poem from a collection titled Recovery Voices, edited and kindly shared by Helen Aitchison. Helen worked with Recovery Connections, which operates in the North East of England, to create this body of inspiring work written by service users and staff. This poem speaks of the reality of healing, and we get a sense of how relentless it can feel. Ultimately, though, the piece is hopeful and full of light. The last two lines in particular struck a chord with me: Now I thank my lucky stars / For my beautiful recovery.

Better Days Are Coming

Will I ever get out of here?
A place full of darkness and pain.
An evil merry-go round,
That slowly drives you insane.
There’s no turning back now,
This is my only way out.
I have a future of battle and trauma,
No doubt.
Is it worth all of this?
The troubles in my head.
I could just go back to being me,
Getting drunk instead.
I know it won’t be easy,
Getting my life back on track.
But I am worth it,
I want the old me back.
Eventually the clouds part,
And I see a shaft of light.
Things start to get easier,
And my future looks bright.
Rainbows appear,
The sun starts to pour.
My feelings change,
I love myself once more.
A new life begins,
A journey of self-discovery.
Now I thank my lucky stars,
For my beautiful recovery.

© Lisa Peacock, 2023


Issue 20 will be out on 10 April. Find in in libraries and other outlets. In the meantime, you can read issue 19 online here and find previous editions of our magazines here

You can hear great new ideas, creative work and writing tips on Write On! Audio. Find us on all major podcast platforms, including Apple and Google Podcasts and Spotify. Type Pen to Print into your browser and look for our logo, or find us on


If you or someone you know has been affected by issues covered in our pages, please see the relevant link below for ​information, advice and support​:

In fact, I’d go so far as to say that, in finding my literary voice, I found my literal voice.