Journaling is important. It is a beautiful technique that evokes mindfulness, self-expression and improves your health.
Keeping a journal is no longer old-fashioned, or for the older folk, it is something everyone, of every age, should do – now.
There are many benefits to journaling that exceed recording those precious memories; it can:
So, you have mastered your journaling; it is a part of your daily routine and a healthy habit, but how about sharing your journal writing with others?
“You mean you read what you write out loud to others?”
Suzanne Goodsell encourages group journaling, and one woman incredulously asked her the question above when she described her weekly journaling group.
Group journaling is powerful. It is an experience that many can benefit from when they openly share their journal writing with others in a group.
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Morten Asfeldt has used group journaling to promote reflection and help others achieve an understanding that they may not have gained independently.
The experience helps raise important questions; it explores difficult issues, raises awareness, develops speaking and writing skills, and enhances group development.
“Group journaling transforms an enriching experience of solitude into a powerful experience of community.” – Suzanne C. Goodsell
Whether you are looking for the motivation to start journaling or to simply deepen your writing experience, then definitely consider journaling in a group with others.
So, what are the benefits of group journaling?
Joining a journaling group on certain days, at specified times, for a given duration, means that you will be dedicated to writing. It is easy to set your personal writing aside at home because of chores, work, family commitments, and interferences.
Staying consistent with your journaling group will help develop a new routine for you and your writing. With your journaling occurring regularly, your goals, intentions, and emotional expressions won’t be left behind.
Group journaling provides new opportunities for regular writers to try new prompts. A new flame of creativity will ignite, which may help you venture away from the beaten path and to encourage you to explore new areas of your life.
Many groups encourage journaling members to share what they wrote with everyone. As you reread aloud what you wrote, you may detect a theme, a pattern, or a specific tone of voice that you overlooked while you wrote.
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.” – Anaïs Nin
Rereading provides reflection and a new perspective. It helps you to learn from your experiences to confront the future with new information.
If writing allows you to experience life twice, then you should be able to transition to a deeper level of self-awareness. This is especially the case when sharing your writing with others.
As you share certain pieces of your writing, your words will come alive as you hear them out loud. Sharing gives life to your work and allows you to encapsulate the experience. It will enable you to face some surprising emotions that rise to the surface when spoken aloud.
One journaler who engages in group journal sessions said:
“Until I shared my entry, I didn’t realize I was so angry.”
You may feel apprehensive about sharing your journal, but you will soon find that it is exciting. You are not displaying your talent as a “great writer;” but simply growing as a writer.
It is amazing when you sit and listen to other journalers sharing. You are a part of their “aha” moment and feel impacted by another person’s insight or experiences.
“When we share an insight, it cements the experience in our hearts and minds and makes us feel more alive.” – Suzanne C. Goodsell
You may relate to someone’s story and learn how to overcome shared emotions or challenges. The longer a journaling group meets, the more you will be able to journey together through trauma, illnesses, job changes, and other difficult situations.
But, it is all about the good times too! The group will also walk together through celebrations, the realization of dreams, and share in successes.
“Groups can enrich your journaling experience by adding deeper dimensions to an already positive exercise. The time together is not just about “journaling,” but gaining clarity, growing and making connections.” – Suzanne C. Goodsell
The wonderful thing about group journaling is that reading aloud to the group is not compulsory; it is encouraged. You do not have to share if you are not comfortable; listening is still rewarding in the beginning. You can also select what you want to share.
Some people choose to share prose, art, songs, poetry, short stories, and selected journal entries that express deeper thoughts. A journaling group is not a judgmental one, each person is open and understanding, and the welcome is always warm.
Morten Asfeldt started group journaling on a 28-day Coppermine River expedition and has since made it a part of his routine. He uses the experience on personal, student, and commercial expeditions. He says:
“When I have forgotten to make time for the journal reading the group is quick to remind me: “We aren’t going anywhere until we have the journal reading.”
If you are interested in joining a journaling group or starting one of your own, then contact Emote today. They engage in group journaling and encourage the experience. You can follow them on Facebook, or sign up to become a member of their journaling community.