Creative Writing: Life as a Metaphor


Many cancer survivors and co-survivors develop their own set of creative tools they utilize throughout their survivorship journey to find joy and manage fears that often accompany the ups and downs of a cancer diagnosis. For some, creative writing is an important practice to help work through the emotions of a cancer experience.

In August, Forge hosted a creative writing workshop, “Life as a Metaphor” with Forge Volunteer Coordinator Christina. Keep reading below to learn about the program and how you too can develop creative tools to utilize in your survivorship journey.

Creative Wrting: Life as a Metaphor

Metaphors are common literary devices used in the creative writing process. Unlike similes, which often say something is like something else, metaphors remove that barrier and claim that something is something else. They help us articulate emotions that we might have trouble putting words to. Take a look at two popular poems that utilize metaphors to get at a deeper meaning:

  1. “Hope is a thing with Feathers,” by Emily Dickenson 
  2. “Dreams,” by Langston Hughes

Now, try this exercise designed by the Albany Poetry Workshop to try your hand in metaphors!

  1. Split your paper into five columns!
  2. In the 2nd column, write 5 nouns you like (Ex: flowers, garden, paint, books)
  3. In the 3rd column, write 5 verbs or activities (Ex: climb, groan, dance)
  4. In the 1st column, write the following body parts: hand, eyes, ears, feet, stomach
  5. in the 4th column, write a sentence with one word from each category (Ex:  My hands are flowers that climb)
    1. NOW! Make the sentence answer a question according to the verb: What do they climb? How do they climb? When? Who? Why? etc.
    2. Take a minute to write out each sentence and see what resonates. Pick your favorite one and and continue to write on it as an extended metaphor, similar to the example poems listed above.

Email us at [email protected] if you complete this exercise and share with us what you wrote about!