Write for The Cure for Sleep…

“Shadrick wrote The Cure for Sleep to chart her reinvention from shy, small-town outsider to someone stamping their presence on artistic and literary life…and she wants to help others follow in her footsteps.” The IPaper

Thank you for joining me here. I’m Tanya Shadrick, author of The Cure for Sleep: my story of waking up, breaking free and making a more creative life – even as I remained a wife and mother in a small town.

Here’s where you can start to turn your own creative dreams into reality by finding like-minds, discovering life-changing stories, and - importantly - sharing your own true tales. You’ll also be able to experience seeing your work curated in the story archive over at thecureforsleep.com for others to read and enjoy.

More and more contributors are going on to prize listings, course acceptances and book deals after having their words published as part of this project, and I’d love that to happen for you too.

Read on to learn more about what’s on offer and how to take part…


what to expect

  • Unlike most Substacks - where you receive weekly or sometimes daily posts/emails - The Cure for Sleep is a monthly series that runs part-year. Season Four is now in session…

  • ..but you don’t have to wait for a new monthly post to get started. All the previous prompts from Seasons One to Three remain open for your story submissions. I give feedback on each piece you submit and my usual response day is Wednesday.

getting started

  • Use the Your Stories section to begin exploring hundreds of short true soul stories already contributed by writers for our community.

  • Say hello and find out more about your fellow project members.

  • Dive deep into the craft of writing and what it takes to build a creative life by reading through the Q&As on my always-open Ask Me Anything post.

  • If you arrived at this project via a recommendation but don’t know already know my work, find out more about my background and book in the Tanya’s Story section.

  • You can also find links to my interviews, podcasts, essays and art projects in the Resources section.

how to become a writer for the project

  • Each prompt in the archive takes a story from the book, inviting you to tell me one in return on that theme from your own life.

  • To take part, simply use the comments field on the post you’re responding to, sharing a reflection, memory or true tale of up to 300 words.

  • All themes stay open for your story submissions: this helps the project remain accessible to those with health, caring or other time constraints.

  • You can write for just one of the themes - or all of them! Or revisit a theme, as your writing voice develops or you gain new insights on an experience.

  • IMPORTANT: Please read the contributor guidelines before you submit your first piece to this project. I can only engage with submissions that show an understanding of the criteria for inclusion.




Why is it free?

Giving feedback to every contributor and curating the stories on thecureforsleep.com is a time-intensive process. And I’m touched by how many contributors offer to become paid subscribers. But I’m keeping this project free so it remains fully accessible for those with the kind of financial, health and time constraints that made my own creative life so hard (and late!) to reach.


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“It’s a special act of generosity when a writer you respect asks for responses to extracts from their work. Fear held me back but then I responded to the piece on regret. No regrets” Tim LeRoy

“When I first saw the word limit, I thought, no, that’s not for me, I cannot do that. Then, I did! I really believe that I have become a more confident and better writer through the word constraints, it really made me think about what could be stripped from the writing.” Sheila Knell

“I’m so glad to have constellated the courage and drafted something that assembles peace” E E Rhodes

“It’s a privilege to be a small part of this reflective conversation and the community it brings into being” Nicola Pitchford

“If you’re writing away by yourself and anxious about showing your work to others, here’s a lovely opportunity to share in a kind, supportive space. Have a look. Take the leap. I’m so glad I did” Sheila de Courcy


Subscribe to The Cure for Sleep with Tanya Shadrick

Writing prompts for waking up, breaking free & making a more creative life. Explore and respond to three seasons of themes from author & editor Tanya Shadrick. Discover like-minds and see your words published alongside other aspiring writers...

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Tanya Shadrick

Author, artist & small-press publisher with a big commitment to encouraging creative confidence. The Cure for Sleep - my story of waking up, breaking free and making a larger life - was a Waterstones & Evening Standard Non-Fiction Book of 2022.