welcome information for new arrivals - and a request to regular contributors
The Cure For Sleep community is an 'Encouragement'. It is a safe space to test out your words and emotions as a writer, knowing there is heartfelt, generous, helping-hand mentoring from Tanya, of course, but also from the wonderful collection of talented writers whose words illuminate the themes. At the heart of it all is Tanya Shadrick, writer of astonishing words, a human key to unlock your emotions through exposure to hers. There's a warmth in every thread of comments, heart too, humanness aplenty. It is remarkable to find it all in one place in an online community. It is a space to treasure. Inside it, your words will be treasured. You can entrust them to this space, safe in that knowledge.
Hope this is the right place to post about "Faith" Tanya, if not apologies:
When it comes to faith, I believe in “Me”. Not always admittedly. Sometimes I don’t think I’ll ever achieve anything. This is usually because I’m not in control of my own decisions. The Local Authority, the Department for work and pensions, Westminster City Council Adult Social Services all have a massive influence over my day to day living and often invariably do things that are not in my interest - which is ironic, as that is their sole raison d’etre.
But a constant belief in my ability to take on any challenge, overcome any obstacle and win at any war of attrition has served me well over the years.
Take this morning as a classic example, I’m training to race in the world famous Peter Pan Swimming Race in the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park. I’ve been training and acclimatising to the temperatures since May of this year. It’s been a lifetime ambition, at least from first seeing it on the news as a child growing up in South Wales.
I woke up to hear the sound of torrential rain pounding down outside my sofa-surf location in Essex, I could have easily said sod it and quit then. That decision was made even easier when I picked up my towel and discovered it still drenched from its wash last night. When the Elizabeth Line shut down at Farringdon and added another 30 minutes to my journey, I could’ve turned back - I didn’t.
I was going to be late, but too late? Who knew, so I kept going.
Thankfully, I made the last race, got into the water and finished so close to my competitors that I’m not sure if I made the top three or not.
I didn’t care though, I believed in myself, raced, and that’s all that mattered.
I joined this space a couple of months back having given myself limited opportunity to talk myself out of it. The atmosphere is wholly encouraging, non-threatening yet suffiiciently challenging that the work of writing happens. I have been gently but surely nudged out of a long writing stupor.
Thank you Tanya, so much, both for A Cure For Sleep and for your open invitation into this beautiful space.
I joined Tanya's wonderful Substack many months ago after reading, loving, and gifting The Cure for Sleep to friends who enjoyed it as much as I did. I haven't (yet!) contributed, but it feels like such an open space of possibility that I feel welcome lurking here. I am a visual artist and writing seems hard, but I know - and trust! - creative flow, so thank you Tanya, for your devotion to the possibility of our process…
This program has helped me generate more idea prompts to keep a steady flow of creative writing which has been wonderful!
For me this platform has been truly transformative. It has provided a structure - like the walls of a church, to set down an offering. Tanya's diligent, thoughtful and incredibly generous commitment to create this space and offer feedback is something truly special. As someone not used to sharing my words It's been exactly what I needed at this stage of my life and that I've not found anywhere else. I'm most grateful. I've loved the thoughtful prompts and having a 300 word count has helped me shape things in much more interesting ways. I've been emboldened to keep writing, and inspired by the incredible talents of the other contributors. To be part of this beautiful, thoughtful community is a real blessing. Thank you Tanya. x
I discovered this community about a year ago now, and it took me a while to brave leaving my first contribution, but I was so glad I did! It feels like such a safe space to write what can often be very personal and vulnerable words, and Tanya is kind and generous with feedback. Having a link to share to your writing if and when you want to is a great way to feel like your words are available to be read, even when rejections from elsewhere are coming through thick and fast! I plan to respond to many more of the themes in time, but this is a link to the first piece I shared. https://thecureforsleep.com/the-cure-for-sleep-march/#jennifercarter
If you want a regular prompt and a space to share work without fear or judgement, this is the place to do it!
Hello fellow readers and writers. I'm responding to Tanya's request for current contributors to speak to the meaning that this space holds for them. Here is a link to the first piece of writing that I submitted: https://thecureforsleep.com/voices/#zofiakstanley . I first discovered this space in April 2023, when my first child was seven months old, and I was emerging from the haze of the early newborn days and looking to find myself again, trying to excavate my sense of identity. Encouraged immensely by Tanya's kind and thoughtful response to those first words, I started writing again, at first privately and in such small snatched moments, more recently over here on substack. This space has been transformative for me, it was my introduction to the wider substack platform, but I have found so many helpful and inspiring resources on Tanya's substack alone, especially her "Ask me anything" thread, and her "Resources" thread. The latter has lead me to discover a whole world of writing inspiration and support, to give just one example, Tanya's interview with Ali Millar on the Not Too Busy to Write podcast, hosted by Penny Wincer at present, has opened up a treasure chest of other interviews and writing support. It is very early days for me, but this space has already been transformative. I am now working on a project I care so deeply about, and I think it would have taken me much much longer to seriously consider this without the community that I have found here. Zofia
Dear Tanya, thank you doesn't seem to be enough... I’ve been lurking in the background on and off for a while having first discovered this wonderful community around the time of your book launch.
It is only in the past couple of months that I have had a pocket of space to respond to your invitations to write. You’ve created the most beautiful, welcoming and inclusive community it has been such a gentle way for me to find my way back to the page
Each prompt has been like a kind companion that walks beside you with a soft, gentle hand on the back, one that offers comfort and reassurance and the brevity and word limit is a wonderful way to work that writing muscle without tiring it. It has been such a safe and enriching space for me
Your generosity, wisdom, warmth and unerring encouragement provide a lantern to any writer who may out looking in the dark for words. Thank you xxx
Someone has said this before and I am sure many will say it after me, but meeting Tanya and finding out about this shared platform she has created has been truly transformative for me – it gave me the confidence to finally present myself as a writer, write more and show my work to others. The 300 words limit has been a wonderful focus and editing exercise. This is an encouraging and nurturing space of like-minded people where everyone is allowed to shine. One of my wishes for 2024 is to contribute more!
Dearest Tanya I'm so sorry for delay in reaching out so much has been going on but I ALWAYS think of you and I hope in the new year we can meet up , I know this first Christmas without your lovely mum and I just want you to know I'll be thinking of you
Much much love ❤️ my girl and peace to you and family this festive season💗🙏
Any new subscribers, wondering if they should dive in? Absolutely do! Tanya's Substack, TCFS, is a wonderful corner of the internet. It is a generous place: the space, the time, the words, all given as encouragement to you to engage and write.
From a practical point of view, I finished my MA in Creative Writing last year and have found myself a bit rudderless. When I have entered competitions or applied for other writing opportunities, they often ask for a writer's CV, and mine's is sorely lacking: no competition wins, no publications despite the queries, no agent fighting my corner. But through Tanya's generosity I now have a wee bit of the internet that I can refer to. And it has given me confidence. Now I can refer them to the page that Tanya has created, with my name, and all of a sudden I have the start of a list.
The comments from Tanya, and from others are thoughtful and encouraging. And there is such a breadth of voices here, that no matter your style or subject matter, you can be certain there is a place for you here.
There is discipline in the 300 words. I am a self-confessed over-writer - for 300 words, I'll usually have written a thousand. But I love the process of exacavating the 300 I want to share from the splurge I first commit to the page.
I don't contribute as much as I would like, so far, due to life giving me a bit of a battering over the past year. But all of the prompts are written in my journal for me to engage with when I'm able.
Through being brave enough to post (and it did take me feeling brave) I have been inspired to stat to think about starting my own substack next year - something that I would never have thought possible were it not for this space. This wonderful, generous, writerly corner of the internet.
This is a community I dip in to from time to time and enjoy seeing other's contributions. I'm not sure I would fit the title of 'writer' per se, but I ruminate on things and occasionally dare to put stuff in writing. I perhaps need to develop a little more discipline around writing and connecting here... I was moved by Tanya's 'Faith' post and was pleased to share my own experiences in response. https://thecureforsleep.com/december-issue-on-faith/#mikewinter
I felt embarrassed the first time I submitted work to Tanya’s ‘Cure for Sleep’ community some years ago, uncertain about my words. But I had set myself a writing challenge and the pure beauty of Tanya’s creative work suggested this might be a safe space to start. And how right that was. With Tanya’s support and the kindness of the whole community I gradually gained confidence. Seeing my words outside my head and alongside other people’s also allowed me to reflect on my style of expression - what worked and what didn’t. Some day I hope there will be a gathering of The Cure for Sleep community, a mega writing workshop, but until then big big thanks to Tanya. And to anyone who might be thinking of writing? Press send. You won’t regret it. I look forward to reading your work. Xs
I’ve missed being part of this community. It is something very special and of course that stems from the specialness of Tanya.
I remember it was on a Sunday morning like now that we first met on Twitter. I was amazed she responded to me so readily and that encouraged me to write straight away this to my mum in Birthday Letters as I’d just realised I’d missed hers- https://thecureforsleep.com/october-issue-birthday-letters/#tamdeanburn
I loved the 300 word limit which gave the opportunity to hone and refine. I quite quickly found another focus in Hands to write about my dad- https://thecureforsleep.com/april-issue-hands/#tamdeanburn
That was also in Season 2 but far from binge-writing through the seasons, that’s all I’ve managed so far. Life, politics and work of course intervene and only so much gets done. It’s not just my writing that’s ground to a halt but much else, especially my music playing on my baritone horn, keyboard and guitar. They are all keen and eager for me to re-engage and it’s an exciting thought to do so. I’m not just setting all this as New Year resolutions but looking forward to the period between Christmas and New Year when there’ll hopefully be some settled time to enjoy this precious Shadrick gift.
Bless you Tanya, seasons greetings to all here and Peace on Earth please now. Tam Dean Burn xx
Tanya’s space changed the way I see myself. I now feel like a writer. My mind is always humming with words. And with permission. Through her encouragement and the encouragement of the other contributors, I gained confidence and began to enjoy my creativity. Tanya has collected a wide range of contributors that have offered fascinating writings that illuminate what it means to be human. The space she created is full of generosity and kindness, a soft place for us all to land with our stories and feel heard and held. Since starting to contribute and receive her feedback, I’ve become confident enough to sign up for two classes and to devote my time to writing more, experimenting more. So grateful!