For years, writer Hayley Timmons, struggled with writer’s block. Frustrated with not knowing if her was writing was good enough or even mattered, she found a glimmer of hope when she stumbled upon the details for the UNSTUCK Writers’ Retreat on an event page last summer.
“I’ve always wanted to attend a retreat of some kind, and I have been writing for a very long time,” Hayley recalls. “At the time, I was in a really bad place with my writing. Writer’s block and procrastination kept me from finishing or starting or even attempting to write. The UNSTUCK Writers’ retreat web page said that the retreat would help me get out of my head and help me get my writing out into the world, and I was in desperate need”, Hayley remembers.
Excitedly, Hayley registered for the early-October retreat being held at the peaceful Mountain Inn Resort nestled in the heart of Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia. Little did she know her life was about to change.
Hayley arrived at the retreat scared and a little nervous. “I’ve never slept away from home by myself before,” she shared with the group upon her arrival. However, over the course of the weekend her timidity gave way to courage and her confidence slowly began to grow.
“There was some talk at the retreat of blog posts and hosting a blog. I have always wanted to start something like that, but I never really thought about going through with it. I mean who would care what I had to say?” Hayley shared.
However, as the weekend progressed, she soon saw that her fear was a normal part of a healthy writing process and her fear slowly began to give way to courage. She met other writers whose struggles mirrored her own, and she found a community of support, encouragement and creativity inviting her to share her story and speak her truth.
“So, I went back to my room, during the retreat, and did the unthinkable. I said, ‘What the heck?!’ and started a blog on WordPress on my phone right there in the hotel room. At first, I didn’t know what I was going to write about or what my blog would even be called, but eventually, I decided to share stories about my struggle with mental illness.” And the rest as they say was history.
Today, Hayley is a blogger whose website Dear Brain Please Shut Up is committed to helping others with mental illness get over their fear and shame. By sharing her experiences and personal stories, Hayley gives life to those who may be afraid to share or speak their truth.
Hayley credits the UNSTUCK Writers’ Retreat with helping her take actionable steps to producing and sharing her writing publicly.
By attending UNSTUCK, I have learned to get out of my comfort zone and write about things that may scare me. I’ve learned that writing about real things is as important as writing fiction. Real stories lie deep within every fiction book, and I believe that’s true for me. I have become a better writer from this retreat by just opening and listening to myself and letting the words just flow. I no longer sit for hours thinking about what I’m going to write or rather if someone will read my stories and like them. If I like what I’m writing and I enjoy doing it then the passion inside of me just flows, and I believe it really shows in my work.
–Hayley Timmons, Blogger & UNSTUCK Writer
With each new post, Hayley encourages others to embrace the power and hope in their story. And this year, she’s even planning her first mental health retreat to help change her readers’ narratives the way the UNSTUCK Writers’ Retreat helped change hers.
To connect with blogger Hayley Timmons, you can subscribe to her blog Dear Brain Please Shut Up at dearbrainpleaseshutup.wordpress.com or you can follow her on Twitter at @timmonshayley and Instagram @timmonshayleyauthor .
Keep shining Hayley! You are a Rockstar and your story is changing lives.