It may feel strange to think about doing something as private as journal writing while sitting with a room full of other people. However writing with a group that may well take your journal writing to the next level.
Benefits of Writing With a Group
Writing in group is like exercising in a group. The energy of those in the class challenges me and keeps me moving in a way that exercising alone in my living room simply does not. Similarly, writing in a group keeps me focused and on task, helping me reach new and deeper insights. And group sharing about what was written provides perspective we would not gain without hearing the thoughts, ideas and experiences of others.
Three Types of Writing Communities
Journal Circles: A journal circle is a group of people who gather to write (or do artwork), reflect and discuss a journal prompt or topic provided by a facilitator. The group members write privately for 20 – 30 minutes. Then those who wish to do so share what they wrote. Others simply listen. The insights gained while writing often become ever richer as the sharing takes place. Many journal circles are open by invitation only and are not widely advertised. Ask at your local library, YMCA or hospital patient services department. Or start your own journal circle!
Online Discussion Groups: My own experience with online journaling groups is with a Yahoo group for spiritual journaling. Members share insights they gained through their journals or ask for and share referrals, resources and support. The responses and support shared by group members are sincere and inspiring. For an example of one online discussion group, visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ChristianJournaling/.
Online Writing Classes: Over the past 12 years, I’ve completed 15 online writing classes on topics ranging from writing poetry for fun to writing through critical life transitions. The online environment provides a safe place to share honestly and to learn deeply from other students as well as from knowledgeable and experienced instructors. A simple internet search will help you find online writing classes, including on line journal writing courses. The two providers with which I have had positive experiences are the Therapeutic Writing Institute (www.twinstitute.net) and Ed2Go (www.ed2go.com).
Writing with a group offers many ways to deepen your journal practice. If you haven’t experienced the benefits of writing with others, give it a try soon. It might just take your journal writing to the next level.
Share your experience with group writing in the comments section below if you wish.