Alert close - icon Fill 1 Copy 10 Untitled-1 tt copy 3 Untitled-1 Untitled-1 tt copy 3 Fill 1 Copy 10 menu Group 3 Group 3 Copy 3 Group 3 Copy Page 1 Group 2 Group 2 Skip to content

View the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus. Find out about new measures at recycling centres and check waiting times

Due to essential maintenance, this website will be unavailable from 5pm to 8pm on Monday 25 May 2020. Apologies for any problems this may cause.

close alert bar

New inspiration from a creative writing course

Facing health challenges, Claire Sheldon grasped the opportunity to develop and cultivate a passion for creative writing. 
Claire Sheldon

Read Claire’s story about how she has found a new passion and purpose in novel writing, helped by our creative writing course. 

"After the birth of my son, 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. My symptoms later worsened after the birth of my daughter and, reluctantly, I took the difficult decision to reduce my working hours down from full time to 3 days per week.

"This left me with 2 days of the week when I found myself sitting around at home thinking “what next? What do I do with all these hours that I suddenly have free?”

"I decided to join a Derbyshire Adult Community Education Creative Writing class which would partly fill up my Tuesdays while my hubby went shopping.

"In November 2016 I went to my first class which is where I met my tutor, John Gibson. John was friendly welcoming and he even shook my hand when we first met and every session after that! For the next year and a quarter the creative writing class became a highlight of my week.

"After the first session with John back in 2016, I started writing my novel 'A Perfect Life'. I would go to a session on a Tuesday, feel inspired and go home to write. With patience, inspiration and work, my book came together.

"Having a creative writing class to attend has helped my heath and stop the slippy slide towards depression. Having suddenly had my work hours cut for the sake of my health, I could have just sat at home feeling sorry for myself, but on a Tuesday I had a class to get up for so I would drop the kids at school and go to the group.

"I remember how long the holidays felt having no creative writing class to attend and how gutted I was when the class ended. But, thanks to the foundations John helped build, I went on to complete my novel and I’m now seeking publication. I’ve now started a further English course at the adult community education centre.

"I truly believe all this wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t been inspired by John, as well as the other really friendly and supportive students on the course.

"With living with MS on a daily basis I felt that it was only right for one of the characters in my book to go on to develop MS and navigate the challenges he is going to have to face being the DI of the Long Eaton Police Force. Though I work in insurance, I face the same problems he does with my health. I wanted to show that, though MS is life-changing, there is a way we can continue to live our lives to the full. "