Creative writing and storytelling both use words. Lots of words. But that doesn’t mean people with aphasia should avoid these art forms as a means of expression. You still have words inside of you. Get creative to let them out.

Writing on Your Own

Think creative writing means toiling away on your own in front of a computer to write the Great American Novel? Think again. The MakeWrite app was created with people with aphasia in mind. It’s currently only on the iOS app store, but it’s a fun idea out of the University of London.

Drawing on the themes of constrained creativity and ‘Blackout Poetry’, MakeWrite enables users to choose a piece of text, redact or erase some of the text, arrange the remaining words, and then share the text with friends or via social media. MakeWrite can be used by anyone with a love for words and language.

This free app allows you to make your own magnetic poetry. You choose a piece of writing from their list, click a button to reduce the number of words you’ll have to play with, and then move to the next screen where you’ll be able to slide the words around a workspace, similar to tangible poetry magnets. Once you have the words arranged, you can click a button to hear the words aloud.

Creative writing is just playing with words.

Additionally, if you’re having difficulty speaking words but still have the ability to read and write, telling your story––either on your own or through a medium such as the Aphasia Threads project––is an empowering way of expressing yourself.

Writing with a Group

Writing isn’t always a solitary affair. There are plenty of writing games that can be incorporated into a support group. Pass the story is an easy way to tell a story as a group, reducing the pressure to come up with words and ideas on your own. When the story is written down, it’s called Exquisite Corpse.

Storytelling projects, such as The Moth, combine writing and performance. We once had a post about The Moth working with an aphasia group to tell their story. You can recreate their work and stage your own performance with your speech therapy group.

Have you ever used creative writing to express yourself?

June is Aphasia Awareness Month. We’re taking this month to look at off-the-beaten-path ways that people are treating aphasia using the fine arts. Whether you’re on the stage, behind the easel, or viewing a sculpture or performance, there are plenty of ways that people are leaning on creativity to help restore speech. This is the second of four posts in this series. You can read about visual art.